Bahci ball in the mountains

Dan Savickas
Dan SavickasWillie House, Chris Bennet and Trevor Kekke battle it out in a game of bachi ball this week in Truckee.

Bachi ball is one of the oldest games involving a ball known to human kind.

The first games were reportedly played in Egypt around 5,000 B.C.

The term bachi comes from the Latin word bottia, which means ball.

The actual game of bachi ball is simple. It consists of throwing nine balls.

The first ball that is thrown is the jack, cue or pallino depending on where you are playing. The jack is nearly the same size as a golf ball.

Once the jack is thrown, players take turn throwing, rolling or bouncing their heavies towards the jack.

The heavies are approximately the size of a softball.

Two to eight people can play bachi at once. Up to four individual players can compete against each other, or two teams of four.

Once the jack is in position and the heavies are thrown, it is time to calculate points.

The player with the closest heavy to the jack receives one point. If that player has the two closest balls they receive two points. Only one player can score per round.

Once the score is tallied, the person that scored gets to throw the jack anywhere that they want.

Each frame is played until one-player scores 21 points.

There are no rules against knocking your opponent’s balls or the jack with your own heavies. In fact this is part of the game. If you opponent’s heavies are in close range of the jack, try and knock the jack across the yard.

Bachi courses vary greatly around the world. Some people play on a course that resembles a grass-bowling lane, but any surface will work.

In the Tahoe area the elevated yards with rustic landscapes create an extremely fun and unique Bachi course. Try playing from the front yard around to the back yard, or play backyard in the woods.

Bachi ball was so popular in England that in 1388 Richard II outlawed all commoners from playing the sport. According to the king, people were too concerned with playing Bachi and not concerned enough with making arrows and shoeing horses.

The game was outlawed in England again by King Henry IV and Edward IV. The rich were still allowed to play the game, but again it proved to be to great a distraction for the commoners.

In 1588 Sir Francis Drake insisted on finishing a game of Bachi even though he just received word that the Spanish Armada was arriving.

Bachi ball is a great way to get the family outside in the early evening. A complete set comes with one jack and eight heavies and it usually runs around $30.

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