Goli or kancha is a popular outdoor game played with a set of coloured glass marbles. The objective of the game is to use one’s own marble and ‘capture’ as many other pieces as possible. The player with the most number of marbles by the end of the game is the winner. In some cases, the other players have to surrender their own marbles to the winner.
What makes this game complicated is the manner in which the marble is to be held and released for the hit. The marble has to be held tightly to the forefinger of the (usually) left hand. Then the finger is stretched back (with the marble) by the pressure of the forefinger of the other hand. Once the player has his aim in place, the marble is released.
The simplest version of the game involves drawing a circle and placing the set of marbles inside it. The players take turns standing some distance and striking the marbles inside the circle. A marble that is hit becomes the player’s property and he/she gets another turn. A miss means that the next person gets to play. In a more complex version, a small hole is dug and marbles are placed around the edges of the holes. The players stand around two yards away from the hole, and take turns to kneel down and try to hit the marbles into the hole. The person who gets most number of marbles into the hole is the winner.
Despite the seemingly simple tools and rules, the game is not so easy. It requires agility, steady balance and sharp focus, as well as excellent hand-eye coordination. It is good training in terms of observation, mental strategy and physical flexibility, too. Given that it is played outdoors, it means a good dose of sunlight and open air as well.