How to Play Molkky (Rules and Basic Gameplay Instructions)

Molkky is one of the most loved outdoor lawn games in the US. The annual US National Molkky Championship declaration is enough proof that it is both loved and respected as a game of skill and competence. It is also a member of the International Molkky Organization since 2019.

Molkky rules are one of the most uniform ones across the world, with hardly any variations found locally. This is commendable considering the game’s international fanbase and the numerous world championships that have contributed to taking Molkky to a larger global audience. 

Perhaps one of the factors that make this game so popular is its uniqueness. It is nothing like your regular ball and net outdoor games like Spikeball or Crossnet.

Through this piece, let’s introduce you to all the rules and the complete gameplay. By the end of the guide, you’ll be as good as a pro!

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12/05/2023 04:22 pm GMT

What Is Molkky?

Molkky Game Info image

Molkky is a throwing game where you have to aim and throw with technique to hit one or more desired targets. While Molkky is often confused with Finska, the key difference lies in the arrangement of skittles. The game has a peculiar scoring pattern that makes winning more challenging.

Number Of Players: 2 and more.

Ages: 6 and above.

Difficulty: Medium.

Length Of Play: 15-20 mins.

Main Objective: Knocking off skittles with the throwing skittle to score points.

Why We Love It: The game doesn’t require any complicated rules, which makes it easier for kids and amateurs. However, in order to win, skill often comes more handy than simply luck. This makes it equally fun for adults. Since this decade old game is straightforward to learn, it makes it one of the best lawn games to play on a bright Sunday with your kids or friends.

Brief History Of Molkky

Molkky is a fairly recent game that was discovered in 1996 by Lahden Paikka, a company that found inspiration in the centuries-old game kyykka, which was also a throwing game.

Although with similar Karelian roots, the difference between Molkky and its ancestor is in the basic requirements of strength and experience. Molkky, as opposed to kyykka neither requires much experience nor is restricted to be a game suitable for specific age groups.

Soon after its discovery and commercialization, in 1997 the first lamp was lit for the Finnish Molkky Championship in Lahti. The World Championship followed a few years later in 2001.

Molkky Equipment and Game Set-Up

Molkky hardly requires any game equipment. You simply need a set of 13 skittles and you’re good to go. It’s pretty easy to learn and once you master it, you can win the game with the right skill and chance.

A typical set consists of:

12 skittles numbered 1 to 12 of exactly the same dimensions.

– 1 skittle of slightly larger dimensions called the throwing skittle or throwing pin.

– Each skittle is generally made of wood

This set called ‘skittle scatter by GoSports‘ will provide an erasable scoreboard and a carrying case for convenience and professional game feel. The plus here is that it offers one of the most premium quality skittles made of knot-free hardwood.

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When setting up the game, follow the following instructions:

– Arrange the numbered skittles four rows. From bottom to top the rows will have 2, 3,4,3 skittles respectively.

– Start by placing 1 and 2 in the bottommost row, 3-10-4 in the second row, 5-11-12-6 in the third row, and 7-9-8 in the topmost row.

– The resulting pattern will thus have smaller numbers on the border guarding the greater numbers in the middle for reasons good enough which you will understand later.

– Make sure the skittles are tightly bound, like a rack in a game of pool.

– About 3-4 meters from the bottom row, mark a throwing line.

Molkky Rules and Gameplay

Molkky gameplay image

Molkky rules are as simple as the game’s apparatus. Let’s take you through them in the form of complete gameplay and introduce you to the twists and turns (if any), at each step. Here is what you need to keep in mind before playing Molkky with your family or friends the next time.

A Player’s Turn

In a typical round, players alternate after 3 turns each. If you’re playing in teams, every player gets 3 turns and then the throwing skittle is passed on to the opponent team’s player. Following that player’s turn, the next player on your team will take the turn.

In this way, if suppose every team has 3 players, your team will play a total of 9 turns in a round and so will your opponent’s team.

In the three turns that a player gets in each round, he/she will target one high-numbered skittle or several skittles all together. The objective is to knock that/ that many skittles off as that will decide the scoring.

Before we get to scoring, find out below what are the rules for legally knocking off a pin/ skittle. It can be one of the most addictive outdoor games once you learn how it works.

Knocking Over Skittle.

For a skittle hit by the throwing pin to score points, it is necessary to have completely fallen on the ground. Leaning over other skittles is not counted as a knocked off skittle.

As easy as it sounds, this becomes particularly difficult because all the skittles are tightly bound. Without the right amount of force and the right direction, it is highly likely that the skittles simply end up leaning on one another.

After one turn or throw, the leaning and fallen skittles are stood up in the exact spot that they have ended up in. This way, a player can use the first turn in spreading out the skittles in the desired pattern that can give that player an edge in the forthcoming turns.

Once a players’ 3 turns are completed, the skittles are arranged back into the tightly bound pattern for the opponent to start afresh. In some variations, one team completes all the turns before the opponent can go for theirs. In such variation, the skittles are stood up in the fallen spot until all players have finished and are only rearranged for the opponent team later.

Scoring and Winning

Molkky rules of scoring are pretty straightforward. A player can score points once one or more skittles are knocked off. According to the number of skittles knocked off, the score can be determined in two ways:

1 skittle: The number on the skittle adds equivalent points to the score of the player in that turn.

More than 1 skittle: The number of skittles knocked off is added to the score as points. Here, the numbers on the fallen skittles don’t hold value.

As hinted earlier, the greater numbers are placed in the middle, guarded tightly by the smaller numbers. This means scoring them by knocking them off individually is extremely complicated and tricky. Therefore, to score 12 points in a turn, you will either have to get the skittle number 12 in the middle to fall while all others are standing or will have to knock off all the 12 skittles together!

The scores keep adding until one of the players of teams reaches the final score of 50. You should remember that scoring consistently with skill is not the only thing that matters for winning. Once you or your team inch close to the 50-mark, you will have to only be more calculative but also know how to target the required number of skittles with a tactic.

For a player or team that goes over 50, a penalty is reserved. A team that can finish exactly at 50 wins the game. What makes the game more exciting is that you need to score exactly 50 points to succeed, which is why you need the skill and a stroke of luck to beat your opponent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Penalty For Going Over The Score Of 50 Points in Molkky?

The most common penalty for going over is that several points reduce the score of that team. In Molkky, the official rules state that the score is exactly halved; that is reduced to 25 points and the team continues playing from there.

Is There A Rule Of Elimination In Molkky?

Yes. The rule of elimination is Molkky states that any player who fails to score any points in a round or fails to knock off at least one skittle in three consecutive turns gets eliminated from the game. In the case of a two-player game, this means a straight victory for the opponent.

Is Molkky An Internationally Prominent Game?

Besides the US National Championship and the Finnish Championships, Molkky is extremely popular across the globe. Under the umbrella of the International Mölkky Organization, around 250 associations have been formed by international players. In fact, 10 countries are official, registered members of the organization.

Similar Games You Might Like

If you have liked Molkky, we are sure you will love games like Fricket, Kubb and Stoolball. These are both family games that you can enjoy outdoors. That being said, if at all the heat gets to you and you want to get indoors and have some more fun, we have indoor game ideas (see our indoor group games for kids too) for you as well!

Apart from this, you can have a fun time learning how to play Cornhole, which is a beanbag toss game, and Cherokee marbles similar to golf or croquet. Otherwise mastering Bocce Ball rules could be another great alternative. These are just some of the best outdoor games similar to Molkky.

With a seasoning of challenge, Crokinole is a family game you will absolutely love playing if you are able to get over the addictive nature of Bunco or Yahtzee that is.

With Group Games 101 by your side, you can be sure to never run out of fun game ideas.

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