How to Play Conkers
Conkers is a traditional British game. It's usually played by kids while horse chestnuts (conkers) are in season. Horse chestnuts are also native to North America, so you can play this game in the United States, as well.
Playing the Game as the Holder
Know the game rules.Essentially, each person has a string with a conker on the end. One person holds one still, dangling in the air, while another swings her conker around to hit it. The goal is to try to break the other person's conker.
Stand a good distance away from a partner.You don't want to be hit in the face by a conker.
Wrap your hand around the string.Let it hang down under you hand.
Hold the string still.If you intentionally move the string, the other player gets another turn.
Let the swinger take his or her turn.The person will swing his or her conker around to hit yours.
See if the conker breaks.If the conker doesn't break, you get a chance to be the swinger instead.
Playing the Game as the Swinger
Wrap your hand around your string, as well.However, instead of letting your string hang down, pull it back, almost like a slingshot.
Swing the conker around.The conker should go around and down, hitting the other person's stationary conker.
Be careful not to hit the person.Conkers can hurt if they hit arms or knuckles.
Score the conkers.Conkers isn't necessarily scored per game. Instead, the conker itself receives a score. That is, if you break a conker that has never been played before, the conker your using becomes a two-er. If you break one that has broken another one once before (you break a two-er), yours becomes a three-er. Essentially, you add up all the previous wins, and add them to the current conker.
Find a horse chestnut tree.Horse chestnuts are different from the kind roasted at Christmas.
- In the United States, these type of chestnuts can be referred to as "buckeyes," but they're not the same as the Ohio buckeye trees.In the United Kingdom, they're called "conkers."
Look for green prickly pods.The chestnuts are encased in pods until they ripen. They split open on their own when they're ripe.
Pull the chestnuts out of their casings.You only want the nut to make the conker.
Pick the best chestnuts.Chose ones that are even on both sides and that aren't splitting. You'll only need one per person, but it helps to have extras, as the goal of conkers is to break another person's conker.
- To help you choose the best one, try floating them in water. If it sinks, it's dense and solid. If it floats, it's damaged, and it will break too easily.
Creating the Game Pieces
Find yarn or string.You need string to create the game piece. Choose something that is fairly sturdy.
Make a hole in the chestnut.A small drill bit would work well. Hold the chestnut with pliers to drill it. Go slowly so that you don't crack the nut.
- If you're a kid trying to make a hole, ask for your parents' help, so you don't hurt yourself.
Tie a knot on a piece of string.You don't want the nut to slide off the string. The string should be at least a foot and a half long.
Thread the string through the nut.You can use a needle if you are having trouble pulling the thread through the hole.
Tie a knot above the nut, as well.Leave the string on. The string should be long enough to wrap around your hand and hang down.
Video: How to Play Conkers (Horse Chestnuts)
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