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WASHERS

Washers is a game also referred to as Holeyboard, Ringers, Texas Horseshoes, or Irish Quoits.  I have no information on the origins of this game at all, but it seems to be popular in Midwestern and Northeastern states in the US.  There are numerous variations of this game; the version pictured at left is popular in Pennsylvania.  The photo shows two different sets of boards, with each pair connected together with a string or small chain to set the proper pitching distance. Only one pair of boards is actually needed to play the game.

Each box is made from 2x4 lumber for the sides and plywood for the top, and is 1 foot wide and 4 feet long.  On the top surface of the box, three 4" diameter holes are cut into the top, 12" center to center.  There is no bottom in the boxes.  A chain is attached between the boxes and is exactly 10 feet long. Each player is given three large, 3-inch diameter washers, with each set of 3  painted a distinguishing color to tell them apart.  Players take turns standing on the top of one of the boxes, at the front edge, and attempts to pitch the washers into one of the 3 holes in the other box.  Each hole scores a different value - 1 point for the nearest hole, 3 points for the center hole, and 5 points for the rear-most hole. 

Below is a copy of Washers Rules from an unknown source in Plano Texas, dated October 2000.  The boxes described in this version of Washers are slightly different in design from the ones pictured above, and are set much closer together.  Players stand behind the rear edge of each box to pitch rather than standing on top.

WASHERS GAME (TEXAS STYLE)

OBJECT... To be the first person or team to reach EXACTLY 21 points.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED... A pair of game boards and six, 3 inch dia. washers...

HOW TO MAKE THE EQUIPMENT The game boards are made up of, two, 1 foot X 4 foot pieces of 1/2 or 3/8 inch plywood; four 12 inch long 2 X 4's; 12, 3/4 inch wood screws,(sheet rock screws are the easiest); enough light weight indoor/outdoor carpeting to cover both boards, contact cement, (spray can is easiest to use). Scribe a line down the center length of each plywood board and place a mark in the exact center of this line. Place another mark on the center line exactly 12 inches in each direction from the center mark. With a 4 inch hole saw or a saber saw, cut out three 4 inch holes around the three marks. Across one end of each board, attach one of the 2 X 4's on its edge using 3 screws. On the opposite end of each board attach the other 2X4, on its side using three screws. When the board is resting on the attached 2x4,s, the top of the board will rest on a slant. Cover the entire board (top sides and each end), with the indoor/outdoor carpeting, secure with contact cement. Trim as necessary for a neat fit. With great care, cut the carpeting in eight pie shaped slits from the center of each hole. DO NOT CUT THE WEDGES OUT. Now fold the wedges back down through the holes and keeping them tight against the hole edge, glue them in place on the underside. A short staple on each wedge point will help them stay in place. Now take the six 3 inch washers and spray paint 3 in one color and 3 in another. DON'T PAINT ONLY 3 because the unpainted washers will not slide the same as the painted ones. Paint both sides of the washers. You might do this before you make the board so the washers have plenty of time to dry. The paint will wear off in time but enough will remain to be easily recognizable for a long time. A screw eye may be attached to the center of the lower edge of each board and a cord or light chain connected or tied to the screw eyes which will allow the boards to be moved four feet away from each other.

HOW TO PLAY THE GAME... Place the boards on any flat surface so the low side of the slant face each other. They must be four feet away from each other, (The length of each board). The game is best played with four people, two in partners, as in Horse Shoes. Players stand behind the high side of each board and any one can play first. The first player pitches all three of his washers, one at a time, trying to score by landing in a hole of the target board. Any washers not going into a hole must be left where they fell. His opponent next to him then pitches his washers attempting to score. Each players feet must not go beyond the back edge of the board near him, but he may reach as far as he wishes to make his pitch. After the last washer is pitched in any round, the points are counted and added or subtracted as necessary from each sides running total. The washers are then picked up and partners using the same color pitch from the other direction. The side who's washer was last to fell into a hole at the end of any round (even if it were pushed in by an opponent), must pitch first on the next round. If no washers were scored in a round, the side who's washer last scored must continue to pitch first. The side which reaches EXACTLY 21 points wins the game.

SCORING... The hole nearest the lower side of the board counts ONE point. The middle hole counts THREE points. The Last hole counts FIVE points. When a player places a washer in a hole where his opponent previously placed one, the second washer cancels the first washer and no one scores. If the first player placed TWO washers in the same hole, and his opponent then places one on top, only one of the first washers score. Only one player may score in any single hole in a round.

Examples...

Player A pitches his first washer in the first hole, misses with the second and pitches his last washer into the last hole. Player B misses with two washers but lands one in the middle hole. The score for that round is...A=6, B=3.

Player A pitches one washer into the last hole (5), another into the middle (3), and the last into the middle. Player B pitches one into the first hole (1) and two washers into the last hole. the score for that round is A=6, B=6. (one of B's last hole washers cancels out A's but his second one counts 5. Both of A's middle washers count and B's 1 also counts.

A side must reach EXACTLY 21 points to win. but if that side passes 21 points in a round, the count continues during that round past 21. REMEMBER, NO POINTS ARE SCORED UNTIL BOTH PLAYERS HAVE THROWN ALL THEIR WASHERS IN A ROUND... After a player passes 21 points, then in the next turn, that side scores backward subtracting points trying to reach 21 that way...If they go below 21, then they must go forward on the next turn. Scoring may go only in one direction (up or down) during any one round. NOW HERE IS WHERE THINGS GET MEAN.... Once a side reaches 21 points regardless of how many washers that side has left to toss, that player must strike some part of the target board with any remaining washers.. The player must do so directly, no bounce or roll please. If the player misses with any subsequent washer, then all of his washers are removed from the playing surface and any he has scored during that turn are not counted in any way and if his opponent has a turn coming in that round he plays as a free throw.

EXAMPLE... Side A has 18 points, Side B 12. Side A plays first, and pitches into the center hole.(3). with 21 points, that player must strike somewhere on the board for that 3 points to count. If the player misses, the score remains at 18 for side A. and player B tosses as though the washer never scored into the "3" hole. Lets say that B scores one in the "5" and one in the "3" . B's score is now 20. On the next round, B side pitches first. B needs 1 point but scores a "3". A side pitches and scores a "1". Remember A need not hit the board until A has reached 21. A misses on the next two pitches. The score is now. B=23, A=19. On the next round B must subtract. B now needs 2 points. A also needs 2. A, sunk the last washer so A pitches first, A pitches his first washer for a "3". his next two washers go into the "1" hole. B, throws his first washer into the 3 hole. and misses with the next two. The washer tossed into the "3" hole cancels A's washer so now only the two A washers in the "1" hole count ... the score A=21, B=23, A WINS.

EXAMPLE... Side A has 18 points B has 18 points. A pitches first. A misses with the first two washers but the third lands on the edge of the "3" hole. B's turn. B pitches the first two washers into the "1" hole but on the third pitch B bumps A's washer into the "3" hole... A, wins. . Should B's last washer also land in the "1" hole after it caused A's to drop into the 3 hole, The game is a draw and this is one of the rare times this can happen.

Enjoy this GREAT GAME!

bshw
Plano, TX USA - Monday, October 09, 2000