Mölkky – an outdoor variant of bowling straight from Finland

Bowling/Social games
Chandler Lee
Mölkky – an outdoor variant of bowling straight from Finland
It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Mölkky, a game like… Mölkky. It’s a bit like dart, a bit like bowling, a bit like boules. But what does that actually say about the game? Nothing. Mölkky have their own unique character and they’re eco-friendly. Mölkky has much more to it than being just like..


Mölkky is a very simple game that is all about throwing, aiming and hitting. Mölkky consists of 12 wooden stakes, which are numbered from 1 to 12, and one wooden stick – a knocker, to throw it and just knock down the stakes. the 12 stakes, or pins, are placed about 3-4 meters (about 8 average steps) away from the player. Then, the player tries to knock down enough pins to accumulate a total of 50 points. Contrary to appearances, it is not easy, because the less complicated the rules, the more complicated the game.

The pins are numbered from 1 to 12, which is the number of points you can get by knocking them down. However, the points placed on the stakes are only awarded if you knock down one stake in a throw, which is exceptional considering their positioning. Mostly, however, you get more pins at the same time – the rule is that you get as many points as many pins you hit

It should be remembered, that points are given only for the pins, which fell down cleanly, i.e. are not lying on other pins or the cobbled pins. After the pins are knocked down, they do not return to their original place, but are placed where they fell down, thus slowly increasing the distance between the pins.

It is relatively easy to win, because it is enough to score fifty points. For an exceptionally lucky bowler, it would only take 5 rounds to make the opponent cry, and it is for this reason that this eventuality is not possible. Exceeding fifty points by even one sets that player’s score back to 25. Therefore, the last throw must be perfect – all or nothing. This game would probably last for hours, but you can be out of Mölkky if you don’t get any points in the next 3 rounds.

What else? The tumbler is always thrown from the bottom, and the points are recorded in the notebook provided. The order of players can be determined freely, although it is usually suggested to start with the one who had the least points and end with the one who accumulated the most points in the previous round. The game can be very flexible, so we don’t pay so much attention to some details.

Finnish fame

Mölkky is an outdoor game that was inspired by a Finnish game: Kyykkä. Kyykkä is a bit like Kubb. It is also about throwing sticks at wooden cubes, which are on the opponent’s side. In Kyykkä, however, the goal is not just to knock over your opponent’s blocks, but to knock them out of his field. The winner is the one who manages to do this in as few throws as possible.

Read also: The rules of the game of thousand.

Sports like sports

What does every good sport need? Competition. And Mölkky, as it is a decent sport, has its world championships, in which Poland has also participated since 2017. Twice we were in 8th place and once in 5th place. The competitions in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled due to a pandemic.

Main photo: Sigmund/unsplash.com

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