Quoits in Great Britain:

The Northern Game


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The Masters Games website at www.mastersgames.com publishes the following information about different versions of Quoits which are still played today in England, Scotland, and Wales.  James Masters has provided the information below to The Quoit Pits website so it may be used to compare British versions of Quoits to those versions played here in the US.

English Quoits - The Northern Game

While the Long game is played in Wales and Scotland, the most popular Quoits game in England is a quite different prospect.  Not only is the pitch significantly shorter and the quoits smaller and lighter but the difference in scoring results in a more tactical game.


The pitch consists of two soft clay squares 3 feet square delineated by a wooden box, each of which has a hob (iron post) standing centrally 2 - 3 inches above the surface, the distance between the hobs being exactly 11 yards apart.

A quoit is usually made of iron or steel and the blacksmith hammers it into a shape not dissimilar to the the bottom of a wine glass with a hole in the middle of it.  The size and weight of quoits varies according to personal preference but they tend to be about five and a half inches across and about the same number of pounds in weight.  The Northern rules stipulate that a quoit must be no more than 8 1/2" in diameter, no more than 1 1/4" in height, no more than 5lb 4oz in weight and the hole must be no more than 5 1/2" in diameter.  A typical quoit weighs around 5 lbs and measures about 5 1/2" across.  The top surface of the quoit is referred to as "the hill" while the concave underside surface is called the "the hole".

The Play

Due to the way the scoring works, the maximum score for each end is 2 points.  The winner is the player who reaches the score of 21 first.   In a pub match, two teams of 8 play and each member of a team is paired with an opponent.  The total scores of both teams are added to decide victorious team.

A toss of a quoit decides who throws first.  Instead of heads or tails, one player chooses hill side up, the other hole side up.  After that, the privilege of the first throw alternates with the end.  Two points are scored for a "ringer", a quoit which lands over the hob.  If more than one quoit is a ringer, only the top one scores - this is a key point for skilful players as it means that tactically, it is not always good play to aim for a ringer.  Instead, it may be better for the player who throws first to try to "cover" the top of the hob with a quoit stuck in the clay at an angle.  If all four quoits miss the hob, a single point goes to the owner of the nearest quoit.  A quoit which lands so that part of it is covering the top of the hob (a "cover") counts before a quoit which is touching the hob (a "side-toucher").  Callipers decide disputes.


Masters Games is an Internet shop selling Pub Games and other unusual and traditional games.  Masters Games also publishes free game rules in order to promote the playing of games around the world.   To find out more, visit  www.mastersgames.com or their non-commercial sister website www.tradgames.org.uk, or email custserv@mastersgames.com.  


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