Games GAMES

Kerplunk

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.


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Message boards

Kerplunk Last post by remember
23 June 2009

Do You Remember Kerplunk?

Do You Remember Kerplunk?

  • Anonymous user
    on
    had this, good game
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Whenever I played Ker-Plunk what usually happened is most of the marbles came down in a loud crash and the loser stormed off. It all looked so exciting in the TV ad...
  • Anonymous user
    on
    The new version is pants. Bring back the older one with the spikes - they were ace for prodding and poking your kid sister!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Yeah, I remember 'Ker Plunk', and I also remember the hands-on-head stance that we would adopt whenever a lot of marbles fell through...
  • Anonymous user
    on
    They do have a new version of Kerplunk. My little cousin got it for Christmas last year, but instead of him playing with it all of us adults took turns with it. It's a lot more cheap now, the plastic is thinner and there are far less sticks and marbles. Even still, it is loads of fun.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    It wouldnt be allowed these days, it was a plastic tower with holes all around it, you then inserted these spikey red and yellow sticks, finally you poured a load of marbles in the top. Taking a turn each you pulled a stick out of the tower and if the marbles fell you collected them, the one with the least marbles won!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    This game was an evolution of Straws/Pick-up-sticks. It was for two to four players and was made by Ideal. There was a tall tube made of clear plastic. At the top was a large hole to pour marbles into, at the bottom was a smaller hole to let marbles out the side. Halfway down the tube was a wide band round the tube with lots of small holes.Through these holes you would push a large number of red and yellow plastic sticks (which were very pointy at each end and good for prodding each other with) so that the sticks poked right through the tube and out through a hole on the other side.This random arrangement of sticks through the centre of the tube fashioned a not-particularly-stable platform upon which you poured the bag of marbles supplied with the game. Now it was set up, the play went like this:One player would pull one of the sticks out of the tube and then turn the tube round so the hole at the bottom faced the next player. The next player would pull a stick out and turn the tube to face the next player. At some point during the game, enough sticks would have been removed to let the marbles fall. Invariably one player would let two or three marbles drop. Nothing would happen for the next couple of goes. Another player would pull a stick out and get about 6 or seven marbles - enough to be scary but by no means the majority of the marbles. From then on the game would get more tactical with people checking all angles before picking their stick to pull out. The game would nearly always end with one player removing a stick which would let all the remaining marbles drop with a fantastic clattering noise.Brilliant, simple, addictive, tense and lots of fun. The one I had as a kid is long gone but I picked a complete set of this up at a car boot sale for ?1 a couple of years back and it's still lots of fun, especially after a night at the pub.