Marbles is played with small, translucent, colored balls, most often of glass but sometimes of plastic or agate. The standard marble is 1/2 inch in diameter. However, most players have in their collection one prized ball, designated the shooter, which is slightly larger and often exceptional in color.
The most popular game of marbles among American youngsters is called Ringer. To play it, arrange 13 object marbles in a 9- x 9-inch cross and mark off a 10-foot-diameter ring with the cross at the center. The goal of the players is to knock object marbles out of the ring with their shooters. The first player to knock out seven marbles wins.
The initial shot for each player of Ringer must be from outside the ring; subsequent shots are taken from wherever the shooter lands. A player continues shooting until he fails to hit a marble; after that the next player takes a turn. All shots must be taken knuckle down-a knuckle of at least one finger must touch the ground.
The game can be played for fair, meaning each player returns all captured marbles to the original owner after the game; or for keeps, in which case the winner takes home his booty.
Another well-loved marble game is Shooting the Ring. A target marble is placed in the center of a ring and more marbles are placed in a wide circle surrounding it. The players must hit the target marble, then call and hit a selected marble in the circle.