Updated: Jan 27
Although the game of conkers has been around for over 150 years, there is not a definitive set of rules. Like the game's name... Clinchers, Conkers and Cheesers (to mention a few), the rules vary from region to region.
Conker Cup have evolved their rules over the years, with the biggest change coming in 2020 where the decision was taken to move away from single strikes, to the more popular triple strike. This change aligns Conker Cup closer to the World Conker Championships rule book, which will make fielding teams to the world event an easier process.
Conker preparation remains the biggest area of controversy. The 'Campaign for real conkers' take a hardline, stating that there should be no regulation over the provision or harding of conkers.
Whilst Conker Cup agree with campaign organiser Keith's stance on these issues, (and actually recommend these rules for private play), for our public competition we are looking to highlight conker skill, and therefore seek to level the playing field by not allowing nut tampering. That said, we do allow contenders to select their own conker from the large nut haul that the event has gathered.
The latest Conker Cup rules are as follows:
In a recent ruling the Conker Federation mandated that conkers can no longer be prepared in advance of any competition:
· All conkers and laces will be provided Conker Cup on the day. Competitors will select 3 conkers from the Conker Cup master batch.
· Drilling and threading happening in full view of the competition. Laces must not be tampered with in any way.
Rules of play
Two competitors, each with a conker threaded on a piece of string or a shoelace, take it in turns to hit each other's conker, until there is one conker left.
1. The competitor with the highest scoring conker strikes first, they are referred to as the striker. If the conkers hold the same scores, or if both are none’rs, then a coin is tossed to determine who strikes first.
2. The other competitor holds out their conker at arm's length, hanging down, ready to be hit, they are referred to as ‘the holder’. The string should be wrapped around their hand to stop it being dropped during a strike.
3. The holder must keep their conker still as the striker hits it. If it accidentally swings, the second competitor can steady it before they take a strike. If the conker is deliberately moved the striker gets an additional strike.
4. The striker wraps the string of their conker around her hand, draws it back and takes an aim before striking. The sanctioned length of the string measured from hand to conker is 20cm
5. In turn, each player takes 3 strikes at the opponent's conker
6. Each strike must be clearly aimed at the conker, any deliberate misses (often done to avoid an Auto Nut Split of the strikers nut) will result in the holder getting an additional strike.
7. The bout is over when one of the conkers is ‘de-stringed’, If both nuts are de-stringed at the same time, the bout shall be replayed.
8. If a game lasts for more than 3 minutes then the ‘bonkers minute’ will be applied. Each competitor will take it in turns to strike each other’s conker. If neither conker has been smashed at the end of the bonkers minute, then the player who strikes the nut the most times during this period will be judged the winner.
9. Conkers may be changed between bouts, but not during. Once all three conkers are de-stringed then you exit the competition.
10. The Conker Federation has banned ‘stampsies’ and ‘stringsies’.
- Stampsies - If a competitors conker is dropped that competitor will be allowed to retrieve the conker without interference.
- Stringsies - If competitors conker strings become entangled play is stopped to untangle. Once The conkers are free of each other battle resumes.
· If a conker has never been used before and succeeds in breaking another unused conker, it scores one and becomes a 'one-er'.
· If, in the next game it breaks another new conker, it becomes a 'two-er' and so on.
· But, if this two-er loses a game and is broken, its score is added to the other person's conker. So if they used a new conker on a two-er, it becomes a three-er and so on.
· If the conker that broke it had already broken others, then the scores of BOTH conkers are added together and added to the winner. So if you used a three-er on a two-er, then the score awarded to the winning conker will be five.
Chief Justice of the Nut
Act as judge in any dispute and to make the final decisions.
Maintain the smooth running of each game.
Ensure that the rules are followed.
Record the result of each game.
Time each game
Refer any dispute to the Chief Justice of the Nut
In the interest of transparency, below are the three most referenced sets of conker rules on the internet.
1. All conkers and laces are supplied by Ashton Conker Club with a new conker for each round. Laces must not be tampered with in any way.
2. The game will commence with a toss of a coin. The winner of the toss may elect to strike or receive.
3. A distance of no less than 8 inches or 20cm of lace must be between knuckle and nut.
4. In turn, each player takes 3 strikes at the opponent's conker.
5. Each attempted strike must be clearly aimed at the nut, with no deliberate misses.
6. The game will be decided once one of the conkers is smashed. If any conker remains on the lace, it will be judged play-worthy or not, by the stewards.
7. If both nuts smash at the same time then the match shall be replayed.
8. Any nut being knocked from the lace but not smashing may be re-threaded and the game continued.
9. A player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted. 3 snags will lead to disqualification.
10. If a game lasts for more than 5 minutes then the "5 minute rule" will be applied. Each player will take up to 9 further strikes at their opponent's nut, alternating with 3 strikes each. If neither conker has been smashed at the end of the 9 strikes, then the player who strikes the nut the most times during this period will be judged the winner.
1. Each player has a conker hanging on its string. Players take turns at hitting their opponent's conker. text taken from and copyright of projcetbritain.com
2. If you are the one whose conker is to be hit first, let it hang down from the string which is wrapped round your hand. The conker is held at the height your opponent chooses and is held perfectly still.
3. Your opponent, the striker, wraps his conker string round his hand just like yours. He then takes his conker in the other hand and draws it back for the strike.
4. Releasing the conker he swings it down by the string held in the other hand and tries to hit his opponents conker (yours) with it.
5. If a player misses hitting his/her opponents conker they are allowed up to two further goes.
6. If the strings tangle, the first player to call "strings" gets an extra shot.
7. If a player hits his/her opponents conker in such a way that it completes a whole circle after being hit - known as ‘round the world’ – the player gets another go.
8. If a player drops his conker, or it is knocked out of his hand the other player can shout 'stamps' and jump on it; but should its owner first cry 'no stamps' then the conker, hopefully, remains intact.
9. The game goes on in turns until one or other of the two conkers is completely destroyed.
1. Two players, each with a conker threaded on a piece of string or a shoelace, take it in turns to hit each other's conker, until there is one conker left.
2. The first player holds out their conker at arm's length, hanging down, ready to be hit. The string should be wrapped around his or her hand to stop it being dropped.
3. They must hold the conker still as the other player hits it. If it accidentally swings, the second player can steady it before they take a strike.
4. The second player then wraps the string of his or her conker around her hand, draws it back and takes an aim.
5. He or she lets go of the conker as they swing their arm in an arc and tries to hit the other person's conker.
6. The first player then has a go at hitting the other player's conker and they take it in turns.
NOTE: If the player deliberately moves his or her conker while waiting for it be hit, the other player is allowed another go!