How do I Play Quoits?

Mary McMahon

There are a number of variations on the rules of quoits, and people play quoits in slightly different ways, depending on the regions where they live. For people attending matches with people they have not played with before, it may be advisable to ask about the specific rules observed by the host to avoid making mistakes or causing confusion. The game is played outdoors, and it involves throwing heavy rings over a pin known as a hob. It bears a number of similarities to horseshoes, and fans of these rival games occasionally have arguments about which sport came first.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Quoits is an ancient game. Evidence of early versions of the game dates to Greek and Roman times, but the game was really refined in England, where it became quite popular in the 1300s. To play quoits, you need a pitch, a cleared space for throwing, and at least one board; the board is used to hold the hob in place. Traditionally, boards are made from clay, but materials like slate and sand may be used as well. The rings may be made from metal, rubber, or stiffened rope, and each player requires two to play quoits.

Opponents can play one on one, in partners, or in other configurations. Players toss their rings so that they fall as close to the hob as possible, with the highest scoring throw being the one which lands on the hob. Known as a "ringer," this scores between two and three points, depending on regional variations. If someone's second quoit also rings the hob, his or her points are doubled.

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A leaner which leans against the hob without ringing it is the next highest score. After that, scores are determined by which rings landed closest to the hob. The player with the closest ring wins one point, and if both of the player's rings are closest, he or she receives two points. Rings which fall off the board do not count.

Many people play quoits to 21 points, although people can use any number of points as a cutoff for the match, as long as they agree beforehand. Boards are often marked with concentric rings to make it easier to determine which ring landed closest to the hob in the event of disputes, and people classically use rings with distinctive markings so that everyone knows who threw which ring. Like many lawn games, quoits can be quite fun and relaxed, making it ideal for a garden party, although people can also play quoits on a competitive level.

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Discussion Comments


Sounds like this is a sharp parallel to horseshoes to me. Isn't it?

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