How to Play Vyshibaly

So you’re learning about Russia and want a kid friendly game, right? Durak is too advanced maybe; lapta is just too confusing without someone who knows the rules; and you’re concerned that gorodki might teach your small child it’s okay to throw sticks. (And by you, I mean me. I’m the one with a child who throws sticks.) So what do you play? Vyshibali! This game is so fun and easy. Something like Dodgeball meets Red Rover, and all the rules got reversed.

These Russian kids give a great visual of how to play the game, but if you don’t speak Russian and still feel a little confused after watching this, then read on and I’ll explain these simple instructions.

What You Need to Play

  • at least 3 people
    • 2 throwers, and 1+ dodgers/catchers in the middle
  • a ball

Game Rules

  1. The first step is to decide what everyones rolls will be in the game. You’ll see that the children in the video do this (0:16) by circling around one person and essentially doing “eenie meenie miny moe” to sort two people out of the group.
  2. The two throwers should spread apart facing each other with room for everyone else to stand in a line between them. (0:23-0:29)
  3. The throwers take turns calling out instructions and trying to get the people in the middle “out” by various means.

How to Get “Out”

  1. In a dodgeball-like version, the throwers may simply try to throw the ball at those in the middle, who should try to stay in a line without getting hit. If a player is hit by the ball, then they are out. The player may yell “DODGE” before throwing the ball, so that players know what to do. (0:30-0:40)
  2. In another version, the thrower might yell something like, “CATCH!” before lobbing the ball high into the air. If the player who tries to catch the ball drops it, then they are out. (0:45-0:51)
  3. In yet another example, the thrower in the video yells “BOMB”, again lobbing the ball into the air towards the dodgers. The dodgers all “take cover” by squatting in place and freezing. If the ball lands on them, then they are out. (1:04-1:14)
  4. A fourth option shown – the thrower gives an instruction prompting everyone to line up. The ball is then rolled on the ground to the opposite thrower. All of the dodgers should line up behind one another, allowing the ball to roll between their legs. If anyone does not manage to line up in time for the ball to go between their legs, then they are out. (1:15-1:25)
  5. I could be 100% wrong on this one, but to me it sounds like the thrower is yelling “MACARONI” as his instruction. Whatever he says, the dodgers all plant their feet in place and have to avoid the ball without moving their feet. (1:26-1:33)

I really think this game is perfect for such a wide age range and as soon as I get a big enough group of kids over 2 years old together to play, I’ll share a video of how it goes! If you beat me to it though, please share your experience and send in a video here, on Facebook, or tag me on Instagram! Enjoy!

And if you want to learn more about Russia through fun games and interactive ideas, check out my Russian activities pack!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s