Updated 15 November 2007
The object of the game is to throw a bat (bit) to dislodge blocks (gorodki) from a city (gorod) in as few throws as possible. It supposedly can be played on any surface, but I have discovered that thick American-style lawns really make it difficult. Packed dirt/gravel and asphalt are much better.
In front of the city (gorod) is the suburb (prigorod). There is a penalty line (shtrafnaya liniya) at the front of the suburb that the bat should not hit on its way to the gorodki. (I think the prigorod and penalty line could be optional for "rustic" simplified versions of the game.)
The main throwing line (kon) is 42.6 feet (13m) from the city. Another throwing line (polukon) is 21.3 feet (6.5m) from the city, halfway between the city and the kon.
Modern gorodki is set up with the opposing cities side by side, as in the figure to the right. The illustration at the top of this page shows them across from each other, more like Kubb and related games. The line halfway between the two teams would be the polukon.
With the face-to-face set-up, one should obviously stand a safe distance to the side when the other team is throwing.
If a gorodok rolls out of the city, then rolls back in, it is still considered "out". If a gorodok falls from its figure accidentally - breeze from a near miss, earthquake, etc. - then it is simply put back into place. If a gorodok ends up in the penalty area in front of the prigorod, it is picked up and placed in middle of the prigorod.
Once all the gorodki from a figure are expelled, then the next figure in the sequence is set up on the front edge of the city. (And throwing resumes from the kon until the next gorodok is expelled.)
Teams/players take turns throwing their bats at the city. In the modern game, each player seems to get 2 throws for their turn since most commercial gorodki sets come with 2 bats.
The side that gets through all the whole sequence of figures first, wins.
Children's versions of the game omit some of the figures (for example, doing 10 instead of 15 figures) and shorten the field, for example, starting throws from the polukon instead of the kon.
The 15 modern gorodki figures (use 5 gorodki each so only need 10 total gorodki to play):
These are the 14 figures I found for ryukhi. They are made with 4-6 gorodki each (so need 12 gorodki to play this version):
And this a the set of 15 figures (modified from the above) that I decided would be fun for our Shire:
International Federation of Gorodki
Game Gorodki at Russian Croquet Club
Children's Gorodko Sport Federation
Ancient Rus Games - 2001 Russian Olympic Committee
A PhysEd page
Let me know if you have any questions, corrections or suggestions. firstname.lastname@example.org
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