Gorodki (Russian Skittles)

Gorodki is a folk sport that originated in Russia and later also found popularity in other neighboring countries. Though the sport existed and was played for centuries, it was not officially codified until 1923.

The objective of the sport is to strike down a group of cylindrical wooden objects called gorodki by throwing a bat. The gorodki will be arranged in one of the 15 different formations, which are, cannon, fork, star, arrow, well, crankshaft, artillery, raquet, machine gun, lobster, watchmen, sickle, shooting gallery, airplane, and letter.

The game play involves players taking turns to strike one or more of the formations using a wooden bat, and force all the gorodkis out of the playing area. Players use a wooden bat with a handle, similar to that of a baseball bat. The bats have to be thrown from a fixed distance from the formations. Each player gets to throw 2 to 4 bats per turn. Players use different techniques to throw the bat for different formations.

In popular culture, the sport was used as a road block challenge for contestants in the reality TV show Amazing Race. Gorodki is also available as a game on the Wii platform since 2009.

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