Conker Rules

The game of conkers is a national treasure, so much so that the World Conker Championship is held in Northamptonshire every year. If there is a world championship, we think it must be a sport - so here are the rules to follow when you challenge your friends to a conker match.

Why not follow our tips on making your conker stonger to improve your chance of winning!

How to Play Conkers

The game of conkers is very simple. Each player threads their conker on to a string or lace. This is normally done in advance and their are plenty of methods to toughen your conker up before a match.

1) Decide who will take the first shot by tossing a coin.
2) One player holds their conker at arms length, making sure to leave at least 20cm of string between his/her knuckle and the hanging conker.
3) The other player draws their conker back and swings it at the opponents hanging conker. Deliberate missing is not allowed.
4) The two players take it in turns to strike the opponent's conker until one conker is smashed.
5) The winner is the player who's conker remains in one piece.

It really is as simple as you remember!
Scoring Points with Conkers

Keeping track of the score in a conker match is more challenging than playing the game itself. It relies on all players knowing how many matches their own conker has won in the past.

1) In a conker match, the winning conker is the one still in one piece at the end of the game.
2) If both conkers were playing their first game then the winning conker becomes a "one-er".
3) When the same conker goes on to win another game against a 'new' conker, it becomes a "two-er".
4) If this champion conker is beaten by a new conker, then it's previous score is added to the new winning conker. The new winner becomes a "three-er" (a "one-er" for winning a match, plus the "two-er" status of the conker it has beaten).
5) When a "two-er" beats a "three-er", it becomes a "five-er", and so on.

We told you that keeping score was a challenge! Luckily, few conkers stand the test of time and that helps to keep the maths a little easier.
Strengthen Your Conkers
Everyone has their own tried and tested methods for making conkers stronger. Our simple method needs some accurate timing, but will leave you with a conker that is stronger than nature ever intended.

1) Find a conker that is strong in the first place, round and symmetrical.
2) Soak your conker in vinegar for exactly two minutes.
3) Put the conker in the oven for 90 seconds at 250C.
4) Once the conker is cool, use a skewer or screwdriver to pierce a hole through the centre and thread the string through. (This should be done by an adult)

Now challenge your friends and family to a conker match, keeping this method a secret from your opponent.