Monday, July 6, 2009

The Games We Play

The cannon (pushka) is one of fifteen figures that players must knock out of the "gorod" or city in the Russian game Gorodki.

A few days ago my husband surprised us with a Gorodki set he'd handcrafted in his workshop. Gorodki, which translates as "little cities," is a traditional Russian folk game that has been enjoyed by the likes of Lev Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, Peter I, Vladimir Lenin and Vladimir Putin. Having previously learned the game from his father, today Max taught me how to play.

The object is to throw a bat or bita to dislodge cylindrical blocks, the gorodki from a city or gorod in as few throws as possible. The game is both simple and fun but what I like best is that it can be enjoyed by all ages. Children play with a shorter bat, throwing from the polukon or halfway line and have only ten figures to move through.

Max setting up the sentries or "chasovye" for our next round.

Learning a new game is one of the suggested holiday amusements in Charlotte Mason's Parents' Review. We would love it if you shared a favorite or traditional game with us or tried Gorodki out for yourself.


Jeanne said...

How blessed you are to have a bilingual/multicultural household. I'm glad you do the Russian things.

Do the boys speak Russian?

Jemimah and her daddy are trying to teach me the Bhutanese game of Parala. If I ever learn, I'll try to share that!!

Off to google Gorodki now.

Richele said...

Oh, we'll look forward to Parala!

The boys do speak Russian. Our 9-12 school lessons are in English (except for Russian penmanship & lit). Other than school -- and when we are out in public or with others -- we try keep the home Russian-speaking.

The boys now teach me words in Russian (such as the names of insects or sailing terminology) and Max will correct my pronunciation in a very loving way :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

This is an awesome looking game. We are going to do some research and see if my boys can work on making a set as part of their handicrafts this year. (I have one son that loves all things Russian.)

Anyway, great idea.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Kim said...

I just wanted to say that I always enjoy reading your blog. I also enjoyed the comments that you left last week for me. It is always such a joy to share and glean these wonderful ideas. By the way, we ended up going with the Math-U-See program. We watched the demonstration dvd and it was so highly recommended by so many we thought we would give it a try. Thanks, Kim

Jeanne said...

Hooley Dooley Richele!

Ruby said...

Hi Richele,
I've just read a rave for you on Jeanne's blog.
Congratulations! I'll read here regularly for sure.

Homeschoolmum4Christ said...

Hi Richele,
CONGRATULATIONS! I also read about you on Jeanne's blog - I'll be back.

Annie Kate said...

What a unique-looking game! I checked out your link and it looks very complicated. Is it complicated, or does it just look that way? About how long does each game last?

Trying to look before I leap. :)

Thanks for your comments on my blog. It sounds like you're having a lovely summer. The idea of a 'summer of kindness' is so cool!

Annie Kate

Richele said...

It is simple. The rules differ from village to village so, if we have a week free from rain, I'll try to get some pictures posted with our family's rules.

I played the other night against my husband. Russia 1, America 0

Trinity Mommy said...

This game looks like so much fun! My kiddos would love it!