There’s a revolution sweeping the campus, and its name is Turf-N-Towers. Any student who’s had a class with legendary tennis coach and Kinesiology instructor Scott Nesbit will likely recognize the name — and burning spirit of competition it fuels.
Turf-N-Towers, or “TNT” as it’s affectionately known, is a lawn game that combines captivating game theory with the simple joy of throwing small objects at nearby targets (see also, Kubb, Bean Bags, Ladder Golf). Created by St. Olaf alum and Northfield local John Dimick ’15, the game claims to require “skill, creative thinking, strategy, risk-taking, probability analysis, and ‘lady luck'” — and be warned your mental reserves shall be stretched to the limits.
But oh, how it’s worth it.
Victory means everything. A good game of TNT can inspire the same emotions as a religious revelation, a years-delayed homecoming, a medical breakthrough. But more than that, it’s just a good time and a fun way to pass a lazy, sun-glazed afternoon.
You begin with two teams, eight wooden dice each, the dice assorted from zero to five. Your objective is to land the dice within any of the five quadrants of a pentagon spread on the lawn before you. Highest points wins the quadrant, most quadrants wins the round, and the winner receives the points — but only from the points from the quadrants they won. The loser gets nothing. Have two dice in the same quadrant? Stack them to multiply the highest of the two numbers by the total number of your dice in that quadrant. Scared your opponent has too many points? Aim your cube to topple one of their towers and rearrange their resulting dice for the lowest possible score. The combinations are limitless, and the possibility for rearranging the board means every round’s outcome comes down to the last possible throw. What drama, what ferocity. The ultimate aim is to reach 100 points, but this number is easily changeable for however much time you dare commit to this highly addictive endeavor.
As some final practicalities, the pentagon area uses ropes of six feet for the three front-facing points (closest to the throwers) and eight feet for the two back prongs, with all five coming from a center prong. The distance to throw from is ten feet away from the perimeter. If you tie in the number of quadrants, both teams get all the points they’ve earned.
Should you feel bold enough to face down lady luck herself, you’re in luck! Our very own Kinesiology department owns four sets, and Coach Nesbit is always happy to loan them out to any student, whether you’re a bright-eyed beginner or a true student of the game. With sunny weather finally back on campus, there’s never been a better time to postpone that finals studying.
TNT is the crowning jewel of lawn game artistry, the game of kings (sorry, tennis) and of working class heroes alike. I wish you all the glory it can offer, unless of course I find you on the other side of the throwing area.