Mölkky: The Lawn Game From Finland

a couple of lawn chairs sitting on top of a grass covered field

The Finnish game of Mölkky was invented in 1996 ad is reminiscent of the centuries-old game of kyykkä, and its Karelian roots. One major difference between Kyykka and mölkky is that mokky doesn’t require as much strength physically as kyykkä, making it suitable for all ages, condition, and size. There isn’t any special equipment required to play Mölkky and is completely based on chance and skill mixing just right.

How It Is Played

There are wooden pins that are called Mölkky and they are used to knock over other wooden pins that are referred to as skittles. Both sets of wooden pins are of similar dimensions with the Mölkky pins being numbered from 1 to 12.

The numbered pins are set upright in a tight group that is three to four meters away from the place that is determined to be the throwing place. They are placed in the following order and pattern:

  • Row One – pins 1 and 2
  • Row Two – pins 3, 10, 4
  • Row Three – pins 5, 11, 12, 6
  • Row Four – pins 7, 9, 8

For each pin that is knocked over by a player they score the amount of each pin. Leaning pins do no count towards points. To score from a pin, it must be completely down on the ground.  After each throw by a player, the pins are stood back up in the location where it landed.

The first player reach 50 points wins. If a player scores over 50 points, they are penalized and have to start over at 25 points. If all the pins are missed 3 times in a row, the player is eliminated.

Mölkky Is A Competitive Game

Since 1997, Mölkky has been an organized game with Finnish championships held annually. It is technology students that organize this championship. There is a Finnish Mölkky Union which promotes this game and the subculture that formed from with it. In 2010, the Australian Championship was held and in 2014, a U.S. Tour was planned by Mölkky USA and the US Mölkky Association.


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