The game originated in Finland and is making its way around Australia popping up at backyard barbecues, park picnics, and beach sessions. The game can be played by people of all ages and is a great family game to get everyone involved, from the little ones, to grandma and grandpa.
The game is made up of wooden Finska pins numbered from 1 to 12, and there is one wooden throwing log for tossing at the wooden pins. Players stand about 3-4 metres away from the wooden pins when tossing the throwing log. Players need to toss the throwing log under arm at the pins and knock over pins depending on how many points they would like to receive.
The placement of the pins starts in a cluster as close as they can be, together, and each time the log is thrown the wooden pins will scatter further and further away from each other. The pins are then re-set in the position they have landed for the next players turn. This makes it harder for players to hit pins as they are not close together.
The aim of the game is to reach exactly 50 points. This can take a long, or short time depending on players strategies. Hitting higher numbers will help you reach the score quicker but be careful because your score will drop back to 25 if you go over the winning number of 50.
If players hit only one pin, they will receive the number on that pin (1-12), however, if they hit more than one pin the number of pins hit is counted and that number is the player's score (see illustration below).
If a player misses a pin and scores a zero three times in a row that player is out of the game. Missing a pin completely happens more often than you think as throwing the log is not as easy as it looks. The log can jump over pins completely, be thrown too far, or stop too short in the grass. Figuring out the weight of the throwing log is half the fun of it, and the game can go for quite a while.
There are a few different strategies of winning including targeting opponents pins making it harder for them to reach their goal of 50 points. The further away the pin, the harder it is to hit. Others only aim for high numbers, 10, 11,12 so as to reach 50 quicker.
Keeping track of each other's scores can be done in different ways. I have played with friends and written the scores down on paper after each turn to keep track, or alternatively, each player yells out his or her score before each turn. This method usually works best as players only need to remember their own score.
Finska is a great game to pack when going on holiday whether it be camping, or heading down to the beach shack. It's also a wonderful Christmas gift that can be used for years to come.
Finska comes in a few different styles, the original hardwood, Finska premium which has a clear varnish to protect the wood, and coloured Finska that comes in retro red, or retro blue. All versions come with a handy carry crate that has rope handles and fits all the pieces neatly. Finska can be purchased at game stores, or online at www.finska.com.au. The game ranges from $69.00 to $89.90.
Get family and friends involved in a game of Finska this weekend, you will LOVE it!