Games: Duck Stacking

Ducks are a common type of waterfowl, and our word for duck comes from the Middle English word doke, which in turn derives from the Old English word dūce.

In Old Norse the word dunna is one word for a wild duck or mallard, whilst brimorri is a type of duck found on calm seas and önd (gen. andar, pl. endr and andir) is the more general term for a duck (andar-egg is a duck's egg, andar-fygli are ducks, andar-steggi or -steggr are drakes). This last term is similar to words meaning spiritual, breathing and airy, and is very appropriate for a game which causes so much bated breath and encourages a practically spiritual meditative state of concentration.

Duck Stacking, if it had been played in Viking times, would have been a very different game to the one we play today. Ducks in Viking times were wild birds, which could move and fly away and had nasty pecky beaks. This means that the game of duck stacking would have been a game of physical strength where the person with the biggest hands to hold all the ducks in place would always win.

Luckily, duck stacking wasn't played in Viking times. That, let's face it, would have been really silly. Duck stacking is a modern game, in which players must try and balance little yellow plastic ducks on top of each other. It's not at all an authentic game, and it's only mentioned on this page because Wychwood got the idea of duck balancing from another re-enactment group, the Dark Age Society.


How to Play

You will need a big pile of plastic ducks and a flat surface.

Competitive Stacking

The ducks must be balanced on top of each other, to try and create as tall a tower as possible. The ducks can be all the same design or a mixture of shapes and sizes.

The ground level base of the stack must only consist of one duck, so broad-based pyramids are cheating. The stack must last long enough to have a photo taken as proof, and no-one can be touching the stack in the photo (although holding your hands near it and attempting to use The Force/witch powers/telekinesis to hold the pile steady is a recommended technique, as demonstrated by Valgar in the top photo).


The current Wychwood record is Valgar's 6 at Hauksby (pictured).

Freestyle Stacking

Alternatively, you can go freestyle and just try to make pretty piles- pyramids, cones, that sort of thing.

How to Gamble

Are you serious? Gambling on duck stacking? You've got a problem.

I guess you could do a bet before you started on who could build the biggest? Or the fastest?

Or everyone chips in a stake to make a pot at the start of the evening, and the stackers who made the biggest piles by the end of the night get to split the pot between them? Hmm, that might work actually…

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