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A game of Gobstones, "Snake Pit" Rules

"Gobstones is an ancient wizarding game that resembles marbles, the principal difference being that every time a point is conceded, the winning stone squirts a foul-smelling liquid into the loser's face. "
— Description[src]

Gobstones was a magical game mostly popular amongst wizarding children, similar to the Muggle game of marbles. The only difference between the two games was that Gobstones was played using special stones that squirted a putrid liquid at the player when they lost a point. The game and its players did not enjoy a very 'cool' reputation, which was something its devotees tended to resent.[1]

Variations

A black gobstone

Gobstones was an ancient wizarding game that resembled marbles, the principal difference being that every time a point was conceded, the winning stone squirted a foul-smelling liquid into the loser's face. Players started the game with fifteen small, round Gobstones each (Gobstones are sold in sets of thirty) and the winner had to capture all of his opponent’s stones. Though most commonly (as the name implied) made of stone, Gobstones also could be made of precious metals.[1]

Gobstones expel a putrid fluid at the losing player

There were three other popular variants of Gobstones, however: "Classic" Game (where you had to knock seven Gobstones out of the circle before your opponent did), "Jack Stone" Game (where after four snaps your Gobstone had to be the one closest to the Jack Gobstone) and the "Snake Pit" Game (which is similar to "Jack Stone", however instead of a Jack Gobstone there was a hole on the centre of the circle).[2]

Clubs, associations, and leagues

There existed numerous Gobstones clubs and leagues. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had various Gobstones Clubs. Most students own their own set of gobstones. Hogwarts' competitive Gobstones Team even held matches with other wizarding schools.

Eileen Prince, mother of Severus Snape, was Team Captain in her time.[3] There was also an International Gobstones League, officiated from the Official Gobstones Club Offices, on the Department of Magical Games and Sports (level seven of the Ministry of Magic). There was also a National Welsh Gobstones Team, which competed in the Gobstones competition, the Gobstones Tournament. The National Gobstone Association hosted a Gobstones World Championship.[1] The National Gobstone Association had attempted recruitment campaigns such as 'Give Gobstones A Second Glance', although the choice of accompanying picture (current Gobstones World Champion Kevin Hopwood being squirted with an eyeful of gunk) was perhaps ill-chosen.[1]

Reputation

Professional Gobstone players compete in national leagues and international tournaments, but it remains a minority sport within the wizarding world, and does not enjoy a very 'cool' reputation, something its devotees tend to resent. It is also known as "the thinking wizard's Quidditch". Gobstones is most popular among very young wizards and witches, but they generally 'grow out' of the game, becoming more interested in Quidditch as they grow older.[1]

Gobstones enjoyed limited popularity at Hogwarts, ranking low among recreational activities, way behind Quidditch and even Wizarding Chess.[1] Gobstones was most popular among very young witches and wizards, who tended to "grow out" of the game.[1]

National Gobstones Teams

Gobstones Clubs at Hogwarts

History

Flavius Belby was the president of his local Gobstones club, as seen in his story in the Lethifold portion of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It was a happy memory used by Belby to produce his Patronus to repel the Lethifold.[4]

Albus Dumbledore played Gobstones with Remus Lupin while trying to convince Lyall Lupin and Hope Howell, Lupin's parents, to let him attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[5]

Jacob's sibling frequently played Gobstones with their friends in the Clock Tower Courtyard, often chatting with them while doing so. An exception was Murphy McNully who eschewed gobstones in favour of Wizard's Chess.[6]

Harry Potter once contemplated buying a solid gold set of Gobstones at Diagon Alley in August 1993.[7]

In the 31 July 1998 edition of the Daily Prophet one reader wrote a letter complaining about the paper's lack of coverage of Gobstones.[8]

See also

Appearances

Notes and references