Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Skittles: A Fascinating Pub Game with Historical Roots

If you’re curious about the origins of popular bowling games like ten-pin bowling, duckpin bowling, candlepin bowling (in the United States), and five-pin bowling, look no further than Skittles. Originally a lawn game in Europe, Skittles has evolved into an exciting indoor pub game. With shared ancestry with the outdoor lawn game known as bowls and distant relations to billiard sports, Skittles eventually inspired the ball-pin-alley we know today. While local versions of the game can be found elsewhere, the most commonly heard versions are those mentioned above.

How is Skittles Played?

Skittles is typically played indoors on a bowling alley using one or more heavy balls, usually spherical or oblate in shape. The objective of the game is to hit one or all of the nine skittles (small bowling pins) on the alley, depending on the game rules. It’s important to note that different regions have their own specific rules and even different names for the pins.

Variants of Skittles Game Rules

Skittles offers several rule variants that add excitement and variety to the game. Here are a few examples:

  • Front Pin First: In this variant, pins are only credited if they are knocked over by the first pin.
  • Nomination: Players nominate or choose the pin they are supposed to hit before throwing the ball.
  • Four-Pins: This variant limits the target to only four pins, which must be hit by the first pin first.
  • London Bridge: Similar to nomination, this variant involves setting up only the landlord and two copper pins.
  • Killer or German Skittles: Players in this variant have three lives and lose one when they miss. It can be played by any number of players.
  • Six-Ball Westbury: In this variant, players have six balls and must reset the nine pins if they manage to knock them all down.
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Similar Sports

Skittles is just one of many fascinating bowling games. Here are some others:

  • Tenpin bowling
  • Candlepin bowling
  • Five-pin bowling
  • Duckpin bowling
  • Finnish Skittles: Opposing players take turns knocking down their opponent’s skittles.

Related Pages

If you’re interested in learning more about bowling and other sports, check out these related pages:

  • About the general sports of bowling
  • Complete list of sports
  • The Encyclopedia of Sports


Q: How is Skittles played?
A: Skittles is an indoor pub game played on a bowling alley using one or more heavy balls. The objective is to hit one or all of the nine skittles (small bowling pins) depending on the game rules.

Q: What are some variants of Skittles game rules?
A: Skittles offers various rule variants, including “Front Pin First,” “Nomination,” “Four-pins,” “London Bridge,” “Killer or German Skittles,” and “Six-ball Westbury.”

Q: Are there any similar sports to Skittles?
A: Yes, there are several similar sports, such as tenpin bowling, candlepin bowling, five-pin bowling, duckpin bowling, and Finnish Skittles.


Skittles is a captivating indoor pub game with a rich history and international appeal. Its roots in European lawn games and distant connections to billiard sports make it a unique and exciting choice for enthusiasts. Played with one or more heavy balls, players aim to knock down the nine skittles on a bowling alley based on game rules that vary by region. From rule variants to similar sports like tenpin bowling and candlepin bowling, Skittles offers a world of fun and competition. Dive into the history and dynamics of this fascinating game and experience the joy of Skittles for yourself.

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Ready to try your hand at Skittles? Visit our website to learn more and get started today.

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