Turning a Double Sided Wood Spinning Top Arena Game

This week, I’m turning a double sided spinning top arena from a piece of beech and various offcuts of other wood species. This is a great project to turn. It’s easy and fun to turn as well as being great fun game for the family to play when it’s all finished

One side of the project is easy to play on, whilst the other side is more difficult – challenging players to spin their tops on a small platform on top of a column! The step by step instructions and rules for this project can be found in the March 2020 issue of The Woodworker magazine. You can get back issues and subscriptions from www.getwoodworking.com in hard copy or digital versions of the magazine.

I used Robert Sorby gouges for this project and it was finished with Hampshire Sheen Sanding Sealer, High Gloss Wax and a Carnacrystalline Stick. The colours I used were Plum, Flame, Ruby and Honey from the Intrinsic Colour Collection.

How To Play

This game is fun for all the family as they try to spin each of the tops for as long as possible in the arena. Whoever spins the tops for longest, wins!

Your game features a two-sided solid wooden arena and a handful of wooden spinning tops. Each top is different and needs a slightly different technique to get it to spin for a long time. You will need the arena, two or more players, the wooden spinning tops, a timer, some note paper and a pencil.
Playing the game
• Decide which side you will play on. The shallow side is easier to use than the coloured side, so best start there. If you are playing the difficult side, insert the column into the hole in the difficult side of the arena.
• Take a vote on who goes first.
• The winner of the vote is player 1. They select a top from the bag, then the person on their left (player 2) selects and so on until each player has selected a top.
• One player is the designated timekeeper. The timing is started once the spinning top is freely set in motion in the arena. Timing stops when it has completely come to a rest.
• Play begins when player 1 spins their top in the arena by using their thumb and one finger only. The length of time the top spins scores points as below:
• 1-19 seconds – 1 point
• 20-39 seconds – 3 points
• 40-49 seconds – 5 points
• 50-59 seconds – 7 points
• 60-69 seconds – 10 points
• 70-79 seconds – 15 points
• 80-85 seconds – 20 points
• 86-89 seconds – 25 points
• 90-95 seconds – 30 points
• 96-100 seconds – 35 points
• 101-105 seconds – 40 points
• 106 – 110 seconds – 45 points
• 111 seconds – and over – 50 points
• If the top exits the arena or falls off the column (if playing the difficult version), the turn ends, and no points are scored.
• Once player 1’s spin has ended, make a note of the points and player 2 has a go with their top.
• Once all players have had a turn, the tops are moved one place to the left, so player 2 receives player 1’s top, etc.
• Round two starts with player 1 and their new top, then player 2, etc.
• The game ends when each player has played with every top from all the other players.
• The winner is decided by the player with the highest score!
• In the event of a draw, the players on the same score spin a random choice of top once more. The highest score wins. Or, if there is a further draw, spins continue until one remains who will then be declared the winner.
• Alternate each round between the plain and coloured sides of the arena.
• For a quicker game, each player chooses one top and the group plays only three rounds.
• Play only three (or more) rounds with each player choosing the first top they touch when they ‘shuffle’ the bag.
• Score 10 bonus points for the top ‘dancing’ or moving around the arena before stopping. Discuss or vote on whether the bonus should be awarded

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