The Rules of Rings
Rings is not particularly well-known but has been popular as a children’s game, particularly in Ireland. When in any doubt, “house” rules should always apply.
Players throw from behind the “Oche”, typically around 8 feet from the board. The height from the floor to the No 13 hook should be 5′ 1 O” (178cm). Feel free to reduce the board height and the distance to the “Oche” to suit the people playing.
Here is a guide for younger players.
- Up to and including 9 years – “Oche” 5′ 6″ (168cm)
- Up to and including 11 years -“Oche” 6′ 6″ (198cm)
- Up to and including 15 years -“Oche” 7′ 6″ (229cm)
All games involve players taking turns to throw the set of rings and most games can be played by any number of players. Most expert players throw the rings overhand so that they land flat on the board (hopefully over a hook) and then slip down. Rings can also be thrown underhanded as well. There is no rule as to how they are thrown as long as the players toes do not extend over the “Oche.”
How to Play
Rings is played to a pre-agreed total + 4 No. 1 s. For a friendly game, the pre-agreed total is
usually 150 or 200 for singles and 200 or 250 for doubles. Rings is sometimes played competitively to 300 or 400. Players take turns to throw six rings at the board; their total score is being recorded each time.
The Nomination Number
As soon as a player needs 13 or less to reach the pre-agreed total, the amount required becomes that player’s “Nomination Number”. The player’s next scoring ring must land on their nomination number and if a ring lands on any other number, the player’s turn finishes immediately (this is called ‘hanging up’). The player may continue to throw their rings if they do not hook any number.
The Four No.1 s
Once the player has reached the pre-agreed total by landing on their “Nomination Number”, their final task is to score 4 rings on the No. 1 hook. As with the “Nomination Number”, while trying for the No.1s, if a ring lands on any other number, that ring does not score and the players turn comes to an end immediately (the player “hangs up”) 1-: lf they hook a No. 1 and then hook another number, then their turn ends and they have 3 No. 1 ‘s to get on their next turn. The first player to reach the pre-agreed total with their Nomination Number and then land 4 rings on the No.1 hook wins.
Like Darts, the first player to the target score wins. The target score has to be achieved exactly although not necessarily with the final ring of the turn. The player may not go over the target score. If they do, the players turn ends whether they have thrown all 6 rings or not. The most common game seems to be 121 up – because it is easy to score on a cribbage board. If a player has 3 consecutive rings around the same number in a turn they win the game outright.
Around the World
Rings are hooked in sequence starting with No. 1 and ending with No. 13. During a players turn, if a ring is not hooked in sequence the players turn ends. If at any time a player hooks the same number during their turn they may skip to the next number in the sequence. For example; A player hooks the No. 2. The next number they need to hook is No. 3. They throw a ring and it lands on No. 2 again. They then skip No. 3 and No. 4 is the next number in their sequence. If at any time a player hooks three rings on the same number, they then start completely over at No. 1. The first player to go “around the world” wins.
The object of the game is to score 31 (exactly) using 5 rings. Players take turns to achieve this. The first one to do so wins.
Rings rules can be changed to suit any age. Since there are lots of numbers and math, it can be used as a great teaching tool. Feel free to adjust any rule or distance on this sheet. Make up your own games and name them. Send us the new game we can share it with everybody else.