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Updated on February 10, 2010
Antique Table Skittles
Antique Table Skittles

Skittles is a form of indoor bowling popular in England. It is played with nine cigar-shaped skittles, or pins, and a thick pancake-shaped wooden "cheese".

The pins are about 1 foot (30 cm) high and weigh 7 to 9 pounds (3-4 kg) each. The cheese weighs 12 to 14 pounds (5.4-6.3 kg). The pins are set up at least 21 feet (6.4 meters) from the players at the end of an alley 3 feet (1 meter) wide. The object is to knock down the pins with a roll of the cheese. In the simplest game, 3 points are scored if all the pins are downed, or floored, with the first roll; 2 points if 2 bowls are required; 1 point if 3 bowls are needed; and no points if all 3 tries are unsuccessful. In another game consisting of 3 sets of throws, a point is scored for each pin downed. The maximum score in this game in a set of throws is 27.

The game is said to have been imported into England in the 14th century from France. It was originally called kails, the French name then as now being quilles. In England the game is also known as closh, cloddy, roly-poly, and Dutch bowls. In France, Germany, and the Netherlands, a ball, rather than a cheese, is used. A ball also is used in the Midlands and western England.

Enfield skittles is a parlor game played on a table with miniature pins and a billiard ball.


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      VivekSri 7 years ago

      Loved that game piece. Good time 'hub'ing your way. Good info here.