Summer is the time of year to get outside to enjoy time with family and friends. The days are long and the nights are warm, plus there are hardly any new shows on the tube to veg-out in front of in the evenings. Backyard entertaining often involves some good games along with the grill and drinks, and quick trip to your local sporting goods will reveal many different gaming options for both small and large spaces. From tetherball to volleyball, there are plenty of choices to keep your guests on their feet, active, and entertained. As a bonus, many of these options can also be enjoyed by both young and old guests at the same time.
Unfortunately, a quick read of the labels will show that most of these games are made in China (yes, I checked just this past weekend while picking up some games for a BBQ). But this is not the case with everyone of them on the market, and there are a handful of games that are still made in America, including horseshoes and Whiffleball to name two. Another option that is nearly 25 years old, and one which you may not be familiar with is a game that is loosely based on marbles and Bocce. Murbles, short for Murray’s marbles, is the brainchild of Murray Kramer who created the game back in 1979 after he was unsuccessful at defeating his neighbor in horseshoes during his college years in Michigan.
Murbles is a game that doesn’t require a court, net, or markers. The game consists of seven balls – three colored balls for each player or team and one point ball. Game play is simple. The ‘point ball’ is tossed, each player throws their colored balls, and the winner is determined by the number of their balls closest to the point ball that do not have an opponents ball in between. Only one player can score each round and a match is won once one player reaches 10 points. The game can be played just about anywhere – at the beach, around trees, an open field, or even inside if the balls are thrown gently enough.
Unlike Bocce, all of the 3-inch Murbles (including the point ball) are the same size and weight. The entire set weighs approximately 4-pounds – much lighter than a near 20-pound Bocce set . If you get too close to a body of water, Murbles will actually float allowing for the continuation of a game even around a course with a ‘water trap’.
Based and made in Pensacola, Florida, Murbles ships each game to order. Starting at $39.95, the game balls are available in 20 different colors that can be mixed and matched right on their website during the ordering process. All Murbles are 100-percent American made and the high-density balls are actually manufactured from recycled materials. If the rules are forgotten during game play, fear not, basic instructions are printed on the side of each bag, which are also available in 10 different colors. If all of those choices are not enough, custom colors and printing options are available for an additional cost.
Summer is a great time of year to enjoy good food, drink, and cheer with family and friends. Adding some game play can also add some memorable fun while keeping your guests active. Murbles is just one of many options available to entertain your guests for hours, but just one of a few that are still made in America.