Home » Traditional Games » Quoits Game Rules and How to Play

Quoits Game Rules and How to Play

Likely one of the oldest known games still around, Quoits is a game we think the vast majority of people have played at least once before. 

However, many people likely don’t know this game by its actual name. A Quoits game can be known by many names today including ring toss or even horseshoes. 

The history of Quoits is somewhat muddled, but it was likely based on the ancient game of Discus. It is very similar in many respects but of course a much easier game to play. Because of its age, there are numerous different versions of Quoits although many are quite similar. 

The name Quoits also isn’t used by everyone. But it generally seems to be the most universally accepted name. Fun and simple Quoits is a game almost anyone can play, although with so many variations nailing down the rules isn’t always easy. Let’s take a more in-depth look at Quoits and see how you can play. 

What is Quoits?

What is Quoits

Because Quoits is quite an old game, its full history isn’t really known; however, we do know a few things. Quoits was documented by name in the late 19th century in a field sports magazine in the UK. 

The magazine listed rules for pub Quoits, advertisements for fairgrounds around this time also listed Quoits alongside other games like ten-pin bowling. But it is believed that Quoits is actually much older than the 19th century. 

But how do you play it? Basically, in a Quoits game, you’ll need to throw a ring over a spike also known as a pin in some circles. While there are numerous variations of the game they generally follow the same basic principles

The game is deceptively simple, but because you are a set distance from the spike you’ll have to judge speed, throwing style, trajectory, and more in order to make a successful shot. The rings can be made from metal, rope, or even rubber and there can be one spike or several. 

Some versions of the game have spikes built into a board you place on the ground. With this style of Quoits hitting certain spikes may net you more points. So, now you know about what Quoits is, let’s examine what you need to play the game. 

How to Play Quoits 

What You’ll Need 

One of the great things about Quoits is that it’s a very easy game to set up and play. Given that you have enough space that is! While Quoits can be played indoors, generally it is played outdoors these days due to health and safety. 

If you want to give Quoits a go then you’ll need a Quoits set. There is a wide range of these available to suit all types of players. Many leading manufacturers make Quoits sets so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a set to play with. 

On Sale Ring Toss Yard Game

Once you have your Quoits set ready you’ll need to know how to play the game. Now while Quoits is quite simple, there are still a few things worth knowing. So, let’s look at how to set up and play Quoits in more detail. 

The Board 

The Quoits board or base as it is sometimes known, is going to vary a lot. Nowadays most boards are aimed at a casual or family audience. These will also generally be more intricate as well. Instead of a single spike for the rings, the boards will have multiple different ones. Check out the two examples below.

Some of these will be designed to be easier to hit while others will be smaller and harder to hit. These boards will also usually have different scores allocated to each spike. If you want a more traditional Quoits game you can find boards that forgo this, but many sets are designed for score-based games these days. 

The Rings 

You can’t play Quoits without rings, can you? Quoits rings can be made from a wide range of different materials. Metal is the traditional choice and while it is still used today the rings in many sets are usually going to be made from rope or rubber. 

When it’s being played by children or teenagers, rope or rubber are often preferred, but adults may find using metal rings better. The material of the rings will have a big impact on your throw so think carefully before choosing a set. 

Quoits Rules and Gameplay 

The Aim of The Game 

So, this is where things can vary quite a lot because there are many different ways and rules to consider when it comes to playing Quoits. Thankfully many of these games have the same aim: you have to throw your rings around the spike or spikes on the board to score. 

Setting Up

Setting up a Quoits game is quite simple. First, you need to decide whether you’re playing indoors or out. While outdoor games are generally more popular these days, you can find smaller quoits sets that are more suitable for indoor play. These style sets are usually used in pub tournaments as well. 

Once the board/ base is set up you’ll need to decide upon a few rules. The first being how much distance each player should take before throwing a ring. In traditional games players usually have to be at least 11 feet away from the board before throwing. 


Generally, each player is given 3 rings and will only score a point if they hit the spike. Some modern boards like we mentioned earlier have specific scores already written on them. 

In some variations of Quoits the player who gets nearest to the spike will score a point. So, it isn’t just a matter of hitting the spike to score. Generally, the game is round-based with each player throwing one ring per round. 

However, in some versions of the game players will throw all their rings, before the second player does the same, this is repeated till all players have thrown. The player with the lowest score is then eliminated and the game continues following the same pattern till there is a winner. 


Quoits is one of those games that seems simple but is actually quite complex. The aim of the game, to score the most points, is easy to understand and throwing rings is something anyone can do. However, there is actually a lot of a strategy involved with Quoits, especially in more competitive-level games. 

In many games, players will simply have to hit near to the spike to score, so actually aiming for a lower score rather than risking overshooting could certainly be a viable option. This will help you get through the first few rounds before aiming for more precise, difficult shots. 

There is also a lot to consider when it comes to throwing technique and this is something each individual player will develop on their own over time. 


Quoits can be played with a varied number of players although generally modern sets recommend 2 – 4 players. However, it can also be played in a doubles format again there is a lot of variation to how you can play in doubles as well. But generally, it is simply a matter of adding each player’s score together. 

Quoits – A Long Enduring Historic Game 

Quoits is an ancient game with a rich history, and while it’s still played at a professional, tournament-level, for many it is a fun recreational game to play with friends or family. Whether it’s outdoors at a family barbeque or down at the pub, Quoits is sure to be a fun game to play. 

About Bar Games 101

Bar Games 101 is a website devoted to helping you learn about the best games to play with your friends. We review the games, research the rules, and uncover helpful tips and strategies.

Get our free guide to the 50 Best Bar Games.