I recently spent some time with my family at my grandfather's house for the weekend. In our time there we came across a game that we played many times throughout our younger years, and from which we found much enjoyment. This game is the wooden skittles game.

I was never quite sure where our wooden skittles game came from, as I had only seen it at my grandfather's house. Skittles is quite a unique board game. We had two versions: one smaller, brand name version, and the other, a custom-built board that my grandpa (a handy woodworker) had built for us at some point in our lives.

The brand name version of the wooden skittles game remains at my grandpa's house, and we have had the bigger, custom-built wooden skittles game at my family's house for many years. Until I came across the version that was resting in a dusty corner at my grandpa's house a few weeks ago, I had nearly forgotten what a wonderful board game skittles truly is.

The game is somewhat like bowling, though instead of throwing a heavy ball down a lane, you wind up a top and use it to knock down pins that have designated point values. The board is a long, rectangular shaped box, and houses a varied amount of pins (the number will differ depending on the version you own). The board is also sectioned into multiple walled rooms, with pins in the farthest, smallest rooms being worth higher point values due to the difficulty of knocking them over.

The wooden skittles game is truly a game of luck, making it fun for individuals of all ages, and those who have played for years are no better off than children playing for the first time. The unique characteristics of this game are what make it such a joy to play.

Preparation for play occurs when those competing wind a fine string around their wooden tops. Each player has one top. The board is built so that one end has a "docking station" that holds the top in place. Turns are taken, and one player is allowed to use their top during each round.

With all of the pins in place, and the top securely positioned in the docking station, one player holds the board (this is wise as snags in the drawstring can otherwise cause the board to fly across the room with the momentum of the pull) while the active player pulls forcefully on the drawstring, giving the top a great deal of momentum.

The top zooms around the playing space knocking down everything in its path. Sometimes, depending on the top and its velocity, a top will event shoot out of the board! A very simplistic game, yet the simple things in life seem to bring us the most joy.

To keep score for the wooden skittles game, a tally sheet is kept. Pins are either tallied (one point for each knocked down) or points are recorded (for those boards that have set points for each pin). The game can last one round or several, depending on what the players choose. Sometimes play will continue for hours, simply due to the fact that the game is so much fun.

At a time when children and adults alike are fascinated by video games, computers, smart phones, and television, taking an afternoon to "un-plug" and play the wooden skittles game can be very rewarding. Not only are you able to eliminate the use of electronics for a few hours, you are also able to hold a family-friendly, interactive competition.

The wooden skittles game is truly unique, and a "must try" for individuals who enjoy board games which are easy to learn and even more fun to play. Consider getting your own board to play the wooden skittles game in the future!