For a game that resembled the contents of your grannies knitting set - along with the marbles she lost years ago - Kerplunk hasn't done too badly in the popularity stakes.
I'd be grasping at straws if I in any way attempted to provide a foolproof technique to winning a game of Kerplunk but then, luckily for you, that's exactly what it involves - grasping at straws, or rather plastic pokers. The actual game consists of a large hollow plastic tapered tube that is assembled on on end in the middle of a table. After spending several minutes setting up the game, the tube would be filled with loads of the aforementioned plastic pokers inserted through the holes in either of its sides and out the other side. Together, all 30 pokers created something of a cobweb effect, on top of which a whole load of marbles (32 to be exact) are precariously balanced.
Players take it in turns to remove a poker from one side, all the while letting as few marbles fall through the gap in the web as possible. An unlucky hand would result in an ear-shattering avalanche of marbles being released onto the bottom of the tube, which is how the game got it's name - Kerplunk! The player who manages to collect the fewest marbles by the end of the game is declared the winner.
Since being introduced by the Ideal Toy Company in 1967, Kerplunk has made it into the staple selection of family games found in most British living rooms - along with the likes of Monopoly and Twister. There's even a Kerplunk 2 knocking around, where the game remains the same but is accompanied by flashing lights, coloured marbles and a little slide they fall down in the manner of a pinball machine.
Played by young and old alike, Kerplunk requires the kind of patience and steady handedness that, say, a Jenga match does or even a game of Operation. The lack of any real rules to master is also a sure-fire route to success, and to this day Mattel (in the US) and Milton Bradley (in the UK) now produce the timeless/tireless game - the one where innocently clutching at straws of an afternoon can easily lead to losing your marbles.