how to play jacks

What game is more nostalgic than Jacks? A variation on the ancient game Knucklebones, jacks is still played widely all over the world. If it has been awhile since you have tried your hand at this classic game, here is a refresher of the rules. Jacks can be played on your own, or with a group of players.

A set of jacks contains one bouncy ball and 10 jacks.

1. To set the game up, scoop all the jacks up in your hand and drop them onto the playing surface, letting them scatter.

2. During the first round, the first player throws the ball in the air, and then must pick up one jack while only letting the ball bounce once. You can only use one hand to pick up the jacks, and must hold the jacks that you have already picked up in your other hand. This is called onesies.

3. Keep repeating Step 2 until all 10 jacks have been picked up or you fail to pick up a jack.


4. Next, you move on to the second round, called twosies. In this round, still using one hand you have to pick up two jacks at a time while letting the ball bounce once.

5. Once you’ve mastered twosies, you move on to threesies, foursies, and so on, each round increasing the number of jacks picked up.

6. If you are playing by yourself, the game ends whenever you fail to pick up the right number of jacks, when you let the ball bounce more then it is supposed to, if you fail to catch the ball, or if you move jacks other then the ones you are picking up during each play.

7. If you are playing with a group, the most common way is as follows. Each player gets a turn during each round. In other words, each player plays onesies until they have either picked up all ten jacks or made a mistake. Then, players take turns with twosies, and so on. You’ll want to keep score of how high each player gets up to in each round with the jacks, and add up the scores at the end of the game to determine the winner. One jack is worth one point.

8. You can also vary how hard the game is by either allowing the ball to bounce twice during play or not allowing it to bounce at all. Once you have mastered these rules, look out for other variations. Let us know what your favorite way to play with jacks is!

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