Milkcap Mania! - POGs, Tazos, Slammer Whammers and more
Milkcap Mania is the UK's premier milkcap website, including scans of every milkcap that I own. Use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate the site.
There are many different makes and styles of milkcaps, although I own mostly POGs, Slammer Whammers and Krome Kaps. I also own the full collection of Star Wars Tazos.
On this page, for your pleasure, I have compiled a guide to playing POGs, a guide to slamming techniques, and the story of how POGs were created.
The Story of POGs
It all started in 1927 - the year the Haleakala Dairy in Maui, Hawaii, brought out a new brand of fruit juice. The top of each bottle had a small round cardboard lid or cap.
Times were hard in Hawaii - despite the warm sunshine, fabulous beaches and all the coconuts you could eat The 1930s were the years of the Great Depression. Thousands of people lost their jobs and they had no money to spend on new toys.
Children had to make their own games. And that's when the caps off the juice drinks caught someone's eye. Soon a game sprang up, invented entirely by children. The idea was to flip the bottle caps. These became known as POGs because the ingredients of the drink were Passion fruit, Orange and Guava.
The kids drew designs on the caps and also made slammers. These slammers were usually three caps glued together. They called them kinis - the Hawaiian word for 'king'
The craze lasted a number of years but eventually faded away. It would probably have dissapeared forever if it hadn't been for a school teacher, Blossom Galbiso. She had played POGs with all her friends when she was growing up in the 1930s. In 1991 she decided to teach the game to the pupils in her class.
They loved it and told the others in the school, who told all their friends in other schools. Once again the whole of Hawaii was going mad for POGs. The game was bigger than ever before. In fact, by 1992 it was reckoned that the average child in Hawaii had a collection of 1,700 POGs.
In 1993 POGs flipped over to mainland America. First California, then one by one all the other states caught on to the craze. National tournaments were organised and other makes of caps were invented to cope with the demand.
POGs were launched in the UK at the beginning of 1995, and over 30 million caps have been sold here since. After about 1996 the cap craze started to die, which is a shame as it is such a great game. Maybe in another 70 years the game will be revived and start a massive craze again. Who knows?
How to play POGs
All you need is a packet of caps, a slammer and a friend. You can pick up the whole works for less than a pound - always assuming you don't have to buy the friend. So, how's it done? Let's go through the game step by step.
1. Decide how many people are going to play.
There's nothing to stop you from lining up your whole street and letting everyone have a go. The only problem with really big games is that the last palyer is at a big disadvantage. By the time they get their go, there may only be a couple of caps left - and the last ones are the hardest to flip.
2. Find a good surface to play on.
Anywhere smooth and flat is a good place for a game. If you're playing on a really hard surface (like a concrete playground), it's a good idea to put the stack on top of something else. That way, if you miss, you won't chip your slammer. You can buy special mats for this - but a school book works fine!
3. Decide if you're playing for keeps.
Before you start playing, all the players must agree whether, at the end of the game, everyone gets to keep the caps they've won or just gets their old caps back
4. Decide who goes first.
There are different ways to do this. You can toss a slammer like flipping a coin. Or you can see who has the most of one kind of cap, for example you may want to choose who starts by counting up Skulls or Poisons. Or you can get everyone to pick a cap with their eyes closed and see who chooses the one with the highest number or points value. If none of these methods takes your fancy, why not see who can bounce the highest on Brendon's flab?
5. Stack the caps.
Make a stck of caps to play with by putting the caps on top of each other. Each player must donate the same number of caps to the stack to make it fair. It is traditional to stack the caps face up, but I would recommend to stack them face down. This means that when the kini hits the stack, it will not damage the picture on the face of the cap.
Roughly tweleve caps altogether makes a good stack. Not enough caps and the game will be over too quickly. Too many caps make it hard to get the all important 'thwack'when you slam, and instead of flipping, the stack just collapses. Experiment with different stack sizes until you find the size that is right for you.
6. Whack the stack.
The first player throws the slammer at the stck and - thwack!- sends caps flying everywhere. Well, at least that's the idea. If a player does miss the stack, it counts as a go anyway.
There are many different methods of throwing the slammer, to check them out
7. Score and restack.
All the caps that land face up go to the player. The rest are restacked face down as before and the next player has a go with the slammer. This cycle continues until all the caps have been flipped over and won.
8. Who's the winner?
The player with the most caps at the end of the game is the winner. Remember if you're not playing for keeps to give the other player their caps back.
When It comes to slammer style and perfect Kini control, you need to read this next section to get it perfect. Prepare to flip out as you get to grips with different slamming methods. Each one is rated according to accuracy, dificulty and (most important of all) the flip factor. This measures the flipping ability of each shot once you've mastered it.
There are two sorts of slam shot - long range and short range. You'll need to master both styles, for each one has it's own advantages.
Long range shots are taken standing up. This gives them maximum power. The downside is that what you gain in strength, you lose in accuracy. Long range shots are most effective at the end of the game for picking off the final caps. You'll often find a direct hit with a short range shot just doesn't have the power to flip the last cap.
Short range shots are taken kneeling or crouching. Although not as powerful as long range slamming, they allow you to be more accurate with your aim. With practice you can be sure of hitting the stack. These shots are particularly useful at the beginning of the game when the stack is full and a hit will almost guarantee you a few flips.
Remember! You must always let go of the kini in time. If you are touching the kini when it hits the POGs, or if you touch the stack with your hand, your go doesn't count.
This is the basic standard all-purpose shot. It can be used either as a long range or a short range slam. Learning it is a must. The grip is simple - just hold the kini between your thumb and forefinger as though it were a dart. No prizes for guessing how this shot got its name! Although fairly accurate and powerful, the dart does have a drawback. It doesn't give the slammer much spin, and therefore not much good at flipping the last few caps in a stack.
Acurracy: 6/10 Flip Factor: 5/10 Difficulty: Easy
This is a very useful slam, particularly at short range. Lay the Kini flat on your fingers and hold it in place with your thumb. Now go as if you were slapping the stack with your hand and at the last moment release the kini. As a long range shot it is accurate but lacks the power of other styles. At close range, however, this is extremely accurate. It is particularly useful against a full stack.
Acurracy: 9/10 Flip Factor: 7/10 Difficulty: Medium
To the untrained eye this shot looks like a dart - but there's an important difference. The slammer is held between the thumb and third finger while the second finger lies on top. As the kini is released, the second finger is flicked down to spin the kini. This slam may take time to master but it's well worth the effort. It is most effective as a long range shot, when the combination of power and spin is devastating.
Acurracy: 4/10 Flip Factor: 8/10 Difficulty: hard
This is the only grip allowed in official POG competitions in America. It is similar to the flat slam but the slammer rests on only two fingers and you are not allowed to use your thumb to support it. It's well worth trying. For everyday games, though, stick to the slap shot grip, which is more pwerful, more accurate and easier to perform.
Acurracy: 5/10 Flip Factor: 6/10 Difficulty: Medium hard
This is an easy and suprisingly accurate shot, but not poular. And with good reason! The kini is held face up between the thumb and forefinger and skimmed rather than slammed. The idea is to hit the ground just in front of the stack, making the kini bounce into the caps. Although it is fairly easy to hit the stack in this way, the number of flips is very low. This slam style is best avoided.
Acurracy: 6/10 Flip Factor: 1/10 Difficulty: easy
Kini kung fu
This shot looks very impressive if you can do it well - but you look like Brendon if you miss. It uses either the dart or the googlie grip. Jump in the air, using your non-throwing hand to help you line up your aim. Go for the slam as your feet touch the ground. This is tremendously powerful powerful and a direct hit guarantees a flip, but it takes hours of practice.
Acurracy: 4/10 Flip Factor: 10/10 Difficulty: Very hard
Definitely one of the most useful techniques, this is a long range shot that becomes a short range shot. You can use all the popular grips, but the slap shot style is particularly effective. Start standing up as though for a long range shot, but as you bring the slammer down, bend your knees and drop to a crouch. With practice, this will allow you to combine both power and accuracy.
Acurracy: 8/10 Flip Factor: 8/10 Difficulty: medium
This is not actually a shot at all - just a flash technique. You'll find, especially with powerful long range shots, that the slammer bounces quite high. Be prepared to try and catch it. If you can, you've got yourself a boomerang!
Information and pictures on this page were obtained from 'The Unofficial POG and Cap Players Handbook' by Jason Page
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