Pentovola | Greece

Name in Original Language

Πεντόβολα

Area Where Played

Greece

History

Detailed Description

Pentovola is a traditional Greek game, attested since antiquity, played, as revealed by its name, with five pebbles or little stones or marbles. It is a prowess game, requiring speed, focus and dexterity. It can be played indoors or outdoors provided there is a solid, flat and smooth floor or pavement.

Rules

Each player chooses five small pebbles, as smooth and round as possible (alternatively they take five marbles, usually made of clay, so that they don't roll too far away). Each player throws four of the pebbles on the ground and keeps one in hand; then the player throws the latter pebble up in the air and picks one pebble from the ground very fast, just in time to catch the one falling from the air as well. The player continues until he/she collects all pebbles from the ground. If, on the way, he/she loses (i.e. if he/she does not catch the falling pebble or if he/she does not manage to collect the pebble from the ground) the next player starts over. Then, the player who finishes this task has to move on to the second level: he/she throws one pebble in the air and has to collect the others in pairs. The thirds level includes picking three pebbles at a time and then the one left over, whereas the final and more difficult stage requires picking all four pebbles from the ground.
The next stage requires that the player forms a "bridge" between his thumb and index. When he/she throws the usual pebble in the air, he/she tries to push one of the pebbles under the bridge. The player has to shove all four pebbles under the bridge one by one.
The final stage involves throwing all pebbles in the air and trying to catch them with the upper part of the hands joint together in order to form a small cavity.