Guseulchigi

Guseulchigi

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using marbles made of glass or ceramics with the goal of getting other players’ marbles by hitting them with marbles, throwing them into holes, hitting targets with them, guessing whether the number of marbles the other player grabbed is odd or even, or guessing the exact number of marbles grabbed.

Guseulchigi was a game loved in every region of Korea, typically played by boys during the winter.

In order to play Guseulchigi, children used to make marbles with clay and dry them in the shade, or pick small and round stones by creeks. Acorns, and other fruits, were also used in some regions. The game began to be played nationwide after the introduction of ceramic marbles created through the same method of pottery-making, and glass marbles made with the leftover glass following the increased use of glass during the Japanese Occupation. There were few cases, however, of playing Marbles with iron balls from the bearings of broken cars or tanks during the Korean War.

Ways of playing Guseulchigi vary according to region, with the five primary ways listed below:

① Bomdeulgi involving the throwing of marbles into holes in the ground in a predetermined order. The children say, “Deureotda! (It’s in!)” when the marble they throw goes into a hole. The turn then continues until as players try to keep throwing another marble into the next hole. Players that miss wait for the next turn and try again, aiming for the same hole, rather than completely starting over from the first hole. If a marble hits other players’ marbles on the ground, it is also considered a successful turn. This is called matchugi.

② Alkkagi is throwing a marble to hit the opponents’ marbles. This is the simplest and easiest way of playing, involving the first set of marbles thrown at a certain distance in order. Players hitting other players’ marbles on the ground get to keep the marble they hit.

③ The most popular of playing is drawing a triangle on the ground, placing a certain number of marbles in it, and throwing marbles to hit and push the placed marbles out of the triangle. If a thrown marble remains in the triangle, or touches the lines of the triangle, the player is out after placing every marble obtained so far back within the triangle. This is called Tohagi. A round is completed when there is no marble left within the triangle, or only one player remains after every other player is out. When a round is completed, players place another set of marbles and start over.

④ Byeokchigi uses a wall, and there are two ways of playing. The first involves placing marbles on a wall and rolling them down in turn. Players who hit the other players’ marble stopped on the ground get to keep the marble they hit. Another way of playing it involves the player rolling a marble farthest on the ground gets to every other marble. The second way is called Obusipbu (a dialect word for Obosipbo), using a similar rule as Jachigi. First, every player rolls marbles over a wall, and then they take turns from the one who rolled a marble farthest to hit the other players’ marbles on the ground. Players get marbles based on the length they rolled other players’ marbles by hitting them with theirs.

⑤ Holjjang is played mostly by two people. One person grabs marbles, and the other person guesses whether the number of marbles is odd or even. They bet the number of marbles before playing, and give or take the marbles according to the results of the guessing. In addition, there is another way using a similar method involving three numbers of cases instead of two, which is called Ssamchigi.

Guseulchigi was the most played game by boys in winter until the 1970s, however, it is rarely seen today as children do not value marbles anymore. Guseulchigi used to be an object of value for children in the past, yet today’s children do not see marbles the same way and lack any reason to gather or collect them. Also, there are not enough places to play marbles within the urban environment of modern times.

Guseulchigi

Guseulchigi
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game using marbles made of glass or ceramics with the goal of getting other players’ marbles by hitting them with marbles, throwing them into holes, hitting targets with them, guessing whether the number of marbles the other player grabbed is odd or even, or guessing the exact number of marbles grabbed.

Guseulchigi was a game loved in every region of Korea, typically played by boys during the winter.

In order to play Guseulchigi, children used to make marbles with clay and dry them in the shade, or pick small and round stones by creeks. Acorns, and other fruits, were also used in some regions. The game began to be played nationwide after the introduction of ceramic marbles created through the same method of pottery-making, and glass marbles made with the leftover glass following the increased use of glass during the Japanese Occupation. There were few cases, however, of playing Marbles with iron balls from the bearings of broken cars or tanks during the Korean War.

Ways of playing Guseulchigi vary according to region, with the five primary ways listed below:

① Bomdeulgi involving the throwing of marbles into holes in the ground in a predetermined order. The children say, “Deureotda! (It’s in!)” when the marble they throw goes into a hole. The turn then continues until as players try to keep throwing another marble into the next hole. Players that miss wait for the next turn and try again, aiming for the same hole, rather than completely starting over from the first hole. If a marble hits other players’ marbles on the ground, it is also considered a successful turn. This is called matchugi.

② Alkkagi is throwing a marble to hit the opponents’ marbles. This is the simplest and easiest way of playing, involving the first set of marbles thrown at a certain distance in order. Players hitting other players’ marbles on the ground get to keep the marble they hit.

③ The most popular of playing is drawing a triangle on the ground, placing a certain number of marbles in it, and throwing marbles to hit and push the placed marbles out of the triangle. If a thrown marble remains in the triangle, or touches the lines of the triangle, the player is out after placing every marble obtained so far back within the triangle. This is called Tohagi. A round is completed when there is no marble left within the triangle, or only one player remains after every other player is out. When a round is completed, players place another set of marbles and start over.

④ Byeokchigi uses a wall, and there are two ways of playing. The first involves placing marbles on a wall and rolling them down in turn. Players who hit the other players’ marble stopped on the ground get to keep the marble they hit. Another way of playing it involves the player rolling a marble farthest on the ground gets to every other marble. The second way is called Obusipbu (a dialect word for Obosipbo), using a similar rule as Jachigi. First, every player rolls marbles over a wall, and then they take turns from the one who rolled a marble farthest to hit the other players’ marbles on the ground. Players get marbles based on the length they rolled other players’ marbles by hitting them with theirs.

⑤ Holjjang is played mostly by two people. One person grabs marbles, and the other person guesses whether the number of marbles is odd or even. They bet the number of marbles before playing, and give or take the marbles according to the results of the guessing. In addition, there is another way using a similar method involving three numbers of cases instead of two, which is called Ssamchigi.

Guseulchigi was the most played game by boys in winter until the 1970s, however, it is rarely seen today as children do not value marbles anymore. Guseulchigi used to be an object of value for children in the past, yet today’s children do not see marbles the same way and lack any reason to gather or collect them. Also, there are not enough places to play marbles within the urban environment of modern times.