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Marbles In France


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I'm not sure I'm picturing this right, but here goes:

Tic et tac was a very simple game, and my kids caught on right away. The game goes like this:

  • Set up at opposite ends of a set space, either bare concrete outside or a rug indoors. Wood floors are not good, unless you use the flattened marbles that are favored by interior decorators for flower arrangements.
  • The first player pushes their marble as far into the space as they wish.
  • The second player attempts to hit the first player’s marble. If they do, they win the other player’s marble. If not, it’s the first player’s turn to try to hit the second player’s marble – or to retreat to safer territory.
  • The game continues until someone makes contact during their turn. This person gets to keep both marbles.

For the second game, it is important to understand that France is home to some very distinctive manhole covers. My classmates and I used the patterns on the manhole covers as a maze of sorts, with the end goal of getting our marble into but not through, it was important to choose a sufficiently large marble the hole that was invariably in the center of the manhole. Sometimes the first person to achieve this goal got to keep both marbles, sometimes they then took turns trying to get the second marble into the center (with the child achieving this goal keeping the second marble), and sometimes it was a straightforward competition with no exchanging of marbles. My kids dont have much opportunity to play this game, since suburban Massachusetts manholes are 1) in the middle of the street and 2) much less interesting, but I think it might be possible with New York City manhole covers.


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