Here is a more descriptive version of how to play marble games, and a description of terms and rules for various other marble games.
The playing surface is indoor/outdoor carpet, or on pavement or sand. In the center of the ring thirteen marbles are placed in the shape of a "X". One target marble in the middle with three on each leg spaced three inches apart. Or for a more casual game, 13 marbles and one shooter per player can be used and just randomly dump them in the circle. The traditional name for a game shooter is a “Taw.”
WHO STARTS FIRST?
The lag decides who will start the marble game first. To lag, the players stand at the edge of the court, or knuckling down at the edge of the court, and toss or shoot their taw toward the opposite edge of the court.
The Player whose taw comes closest to the edge of the court, wins the Lag. Players must lag at the same time. If either taw strikes a marble or other obstruction on the court, that player loses the lag. The player who wins the lag shoots first.
Players must use the same taw/shooter in the game that was used in the lag. A player cannot change his taw during the game. He may choose a new taw on each lag, provided he uses that taw in the marble game following the lag.
A Player propels the taw/shooter into the ring, by flicking the thumb or finger, causing the taw to knock target marbles out of the ring. The taw must be held in the hand. Under no circumstance will it rest on the carpet. The taw cannot be pinched. The player’s shooting hand and taw must be outside the ring edge.
One of the knuckles on a finger must be touching the carpet “knuckling down”. There will be no movement of the contact knuckle (forward or backward) before or during the shot, causing a pushing action.
If a player hit a marble , but did not knock it from the ring and at the same time his shooter also stays inside the ring, he cannot pick up the marble or his shooter. He must leave the shooter there until the other person has played. The shooter now can become a target for the next shooter. If the next shooter hits the opponents taw/shooter out of the ring, on the next turn, the person whose taw got shot out of the ring, must shoot from outside the ring.
When a player is not shooting, he may not walk around or make any other distraction while the shooting player is getting ready to shoot. Players are not permitted to walk inside the ring unless their shooter comes to a stop inside the ring. Penalty is a fine of one marble.
The players will take turns knuckling down at any point just outside the Ring Line. If a player is able to knock one or more target marbles out of the ring and keep the taw inside the ring, he continues to shoot. When a player's taw goes outside the ring, or fails to knock a target marble out, the turn is over.
For each target marble knocked out by a player gets the score of ONE. A turn is complete when both players take a shot. The marble game ends when one player knocks seven target marbles from the ring. The player, who has the most target marbles out after seven innings, is the winner of the marble game.
Or if you are playing with 13 marbles each, the games end when all the marbles are out of the ring. The winner is whoever has the most marbles at the end. And remember to decide at the beginning if you are going to play for keeps or for points.
A number of marble games follow. Players should also agree in advance whether they are playing 'for fair' (all marbles returned to owner) or 'cut-throat or keeps' (winner keeps, loser weeps).
TOURNAMENT RULES (SERIOUS SERIOUS!) for RING TAW (aka RINGERS, RINGO)
A one foot ring is drawn inside of a ten foot ring. Each player puts in a number of 1/2" marbles so that there is about a dozen marbles in the smaller ring. Shooting order is determined by 'lagging', shooting to see who can get closest to a designated line. The first player, starting outside the ten foot circle, attempts to thumb his 'taw' (a 3/4" shooting marble) to knock a target marble out of the large ring while keeping the taw inside the ring.
If he succeeds, he shoots again from where the taw stopped. 'Sticking' or shooting seven consecutive marbles out of the ring and winning the game without giving an opponent a turn is usually good for two days of playground bragging rights. If the player fails to knock a target marble out of the ring, or his taw leaves the ring, his turn is over and next player takes his turn.
At a tournament, if your taw is in the ring at the end of your turn, you must remove it. In informal marble games, if your taw is in the ring, it becomes a legitimate target and any player who hits it out collects a forfeit from you. Players should agree in advance whether to use this rule.
Play alternates until one player has knocked a majority of the marbles out of the ring. The process of picking the best possible position for starting is referred to as 'taking rounders'.
BOSS OUT (aka LONG TAWL)
First player shoots one marble. Second player trys to hit the first player's marble. If he hits it, he collects both marbles.
If the two marbles are close enough, he can attempt to 'span' them. He places his thumb on his own marble and his index finger on his opponent's marble.
He then draws his hand up while bringing his fingers together. If the two marbles hit, he collects both marbles. If he misses, the first player may shoot at either marble on the field. If a player collects the last marble on the field, he must shoot a marble for the next player to shoot at.
A one-foot wide hole is dug in the center of the playing field. Players attempt to get a marble as close as possible to the hole without going in. Whose ever marble comes closest without going in wins a marble from each player. Knocking in your opponent's marble is permitted.
CASTLES (aka PYRAMID)
Each player makes a small pyramid of four of his marbles, three as a base with one on top. Players take turns shooting at these pyramids and keep any marbles they knock out of position. Alternately, a single player may build all the pyramids of his own marbles and a charge a fee of a marble for each shot taken at the pyramid. In some versions it may be necessary for a marble to leave a one-foot circle drawn around the pyramid before it can be claimed.
First player shoots a marble away from the line of play. Second player shoots at the first players marble. If he hits it, he keeps both marbles and shoots a new marble to re-start the game. If he misses, his marble remains where it stops. Subsequent players may shoot for any marble out on the playing field. If multiple marbles are hit in a chain reaction, the player may keep all marbles struck.
Each player contributes one or more marbles to start the marble game. The marbles are arranged in a straight line, each marble being exactly twice the width of a marble away from the marbles on either side. Each player then shoots in turn and may keep any marbles he hits. In some variations, a successful hit entitles the shooter to another turn. The players taw remains where it lies at the end of his turn and subsequent turns are played from where the taw lies. A player whose taw is hit by another taw must add one marble to the line to 'buy back' his shooter.
Both players try to shoot their taws into a one-foot hole. If both taws go in, players start over. If one player's marble goes in and the other player's marble doesn't, the player whose marble went in scores ten points. If neither player's marble goes in, the first player now tries to hit the second player's marble. If he hits it, he earns ten points and another chance to shoot his marble into the hole for ten points. If he misses either his opponent's marble or the hole, the second player tries to hit the first player's marble for ten points and another try at shooting his marble into the hole for ten points. Whenever a marble goes into the hole, both players start over from the starting line, otherwise all shots are made from wherever the marble stopped rolling. First player to reach one hundred points wins the marble game.
An 8" circle, called a "pound" is drawn inside a 12" circle called the "bar". Each player contributes a few marbles to the pound.
First player shoots his taw from any point on the bar at the marbles in the pound. Any marble knocked out of the pound become the property of the shooter and play passes to the next person. If the shooter fails to knock any marbles out of the pound, and his taw stays within the bar, he must leave his taw where it stops. In some variations, if the taw stays within the pound, the player may pay a forfeit of one or two marbles to recover his shooter.
Subsequent players have the option of shooting for marbles in the pound or an opponent's taw. If the target taw is struck, the taw's owner must pay a forfeit to the shooter to recover his taw.