“Stones”

“Stones” is a hitchhiking game I invented in Patagonia on a very, very long hitchhiking wait along the Ruta 40 somewhere in between Gobernador Gregores and Bajo Caracoles. It’s sort of like horseshoes, but with pebbles and a different system of keeping points.

It’s a very simple. The object? Throw a pebble into a specific place.

There are a few variations of “Stones,” depending on the type of road and the number of players.

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1. Simple Stones

Simple stones can be played alone or with others, on any type of road.

To play Simple Stones on a highway with asphalt and yellow lines, you simply toss your pebble into the space in between the two yellow lines in the middle of the road, or, on one of the yellow lines. If your pebble lands between or on one of the lines, you get a point. If not, you continue on with the same score.

My friend Jorge (whose job was to sit on the side of the highway all day and count the number of cars that passed) and I playing Simple Stones in southern Argentina. I am losing badly.

Each player will throw 100 pebbles. Every time you throw a pebble, you must count it. Every time you make a pebble into the point zone, you add the number of points you have number to the number of throws.

Ex:

Toss. Miss.

“0 for 1.”

Toss. Score.

“1 for 2.”

And so on, and so forth. If you’re playing with another person, the person with the highest score after 100 throws is the winner. If you’re playing alone, go for a personal best. Mine is currently 23 for 100. Trust me; it’s harder than it sounds.

Good-sized pebbles for Simple Stones.

Warning: Use only VERY SMALL PEBBLES, as large stones on a highway with fast-moving cars can be thrown back at you. It’s not reccomended to play Simple Stones on an interstate highway – better play it on the shoulder, just to be safe.

If you’re on a dirt road with no lines, or you’re on an interstate and want to use the shoulder, Simple

Ring for Simple Stones on a dirt road

Stones can also be played with a ring. Get a bunch of light-coloured rocks and make a ring 10-15 feet away from you. Stones in the ring = points. Stones out of the ring = no points.

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2. Scoring Stones

Scoring Stones follows the same concept, but with different rules. To play Scoring Stones, you need to either designate different parts of the road as “Point Zones,” or simply make point rings out of slightly larger, white rocks. If you do make rings on an asphalt road, do it on the shoulder.

Rings for Scoring Stones. In the larger ring: 5 points for the middle, 1 point for the outer ring. The two smaller rings are worth 20 points each.

Unlike Simple Stones, Scoring Stones does not call for you to count each stone you throw. Scoring Stones is usually better with two or more people. Play to the first to 100, first to 500, etc.

If you’re alone, Scoring Stones can be a welcome break from Simple Stones. See how many throws it takes for you to reach 100, or see how many pebbles you can get into the small hoops.

a) Scattershot Throws

Scattershot throws can only be used if you’re playing with more than one person. If one person is nearing the winning number of points and the other is 50 or more points behind, the player with the low points can opt for a Scattershot Throw.

Scattershot Throws are a last-ditch effort to win. The thrower must take 10 to 15 pebbles (depending on the winning number of points – it can be higher if necessary), and throws them all at the same time towards the hoops. If he manages to score enough points so that he is ahead of the challenger, he wins. If not, he loses. If his resulting points tie with the winner, he also loses. If he scores higher than the preset winning point number, he once again, loses. So it’s a gamble.

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You can, of course, invent you’re own variations of “Stones.” But keep in mind they are not sanctioned by the International Stones Committee, which consists of me and my right glove. And I’m warning you: I can’t be held responsible for the actions of my right glove. It can be quite brutal. I once saw it smash a berry for no apparent reason. Merciless, really, the savage thing…

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Well, that about covers it! It’s really a simple, silly game, but it becomes addictive after awhile. Also, if you’re on an hours-long hitchhiking wait, it’ll make the time go by a little faster.

Happy Stoning! :)

-MN

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