Stick Games




To see the legend of a native who was too dedicated to playing the game of Atlih, click Here:

Odd or Even

In "Games of the North American Indian", Cullin writes the following (Reference, Cree, Wyoming):


Stick Game, Cree, Wyoming
Museum of Science and Art
University of Pennsylvania.

"Played by two persons. One takes the bundle and rolls the sticks in his hands and divides them into two parts, throwing one bundle to the other player, who guesses which contains the even number of sticks. If the bundle designated is odd, the guesser loses. Sometimes the sticks are divided into two bundles and held crosswise, the other then guessing. They do not sing at this game."
In "The History and Present State of Virginia", page 53, London, 1705; page 175 Richmond, Va, 1855, Roger Beverley writes the following (Reference, Powhatan, Virginia):
"They also have great diversion, to the practising of which are requisite whole handfuls of little sticks or hard straws, which they know how to count as fast as they can cast their eyes upon them, and can handle with a surprising dexterity." We at Faire Tyme have often assumed it would be difficult for many people to count in those times. This proves otherwise!

In Book of American Indian Games this was mentioned as being played with 11 sticks. this is probably once again a tribal or time period difference. It also mentions the game as "Plains".

In "Games of the North American Indians" Cullin quotes a J W Hudson as describing the following game (Reference, Pao, Carson Valley, Nevada.):
"The basket is inverted and held with the left hand touching the ground, while nine small sticks are held in the right hand. The player slips a certain number of these nine sticks under the plaque while juggling and singing. The opponent guesses at the number (even or odd) of sticks under the basket.



Stick Game, Ataakut, Hupa,
Note one black stick
United States National Museum

Marked Stick - Atlih

See "Prof Otis T Mason, the Ray Collection from Hupa Reservation". Report of the Smithsonian Institution, from 1886, part 1, page 234, 1889. (Reference, Ataakut, Hupa Valley, California):
"This game is played by any number that wish to engage in betting. Two dealers sit opposite each other on a blanket, each backed by two or more singers and a drummer, and the game commences by one of the dealers taking the sticks in both hands, about equally divided, and holding them behind his back, shuffling them from hand to hand, after which he brings them in front of his body with both hands extended and the sticks grasped so the players can not see the centers. The opposite dealer clasps his hands together two or three times and points towards the hand which he thinks holds the stick with the black center. Should he guess correctly, he takes the deal and holds it until his opponent wins it back in like manner. For each failure a forfeit is paid, and one is also demanded when the dealer loses the deal. Friends of each party make outside bets on the dealers, and each dealer's band plays and sings as long as he holds the deal."
In Cullin's book, he mentions that a Mr T Jay Bufort writes that the game ends in the opposite way (Reference, Klamath, Oregon.):
"In this game, the player loses if he guesses the white stick."


Gaming Discs, Makah
Indians, Washington
Free Museum of
Science and Art
University of Pennsylvania

In "The Northwest Coast" page 157, New York, 1857, James G Swan describes the following game of La-hul (Reference, Chinook, Washington.):
"A mat is first place on the floor, with the center raised up so as to form a small ridge, which is kept in it's place by four wooden pins stuck through the mat into the ground. Two persons play at this game, who are seated at each end of the mat. Each player has ten disks of wood, 2 inches in diameter, and a little oven an eighth of an inch thick, resembling the men used in playing backgammon, but much larger. The only distinguishing feature about these men, or wheels, is the different manner the edges are coloured. There are but two pieces of value; one has the edge blackened entirely around and the other is perfectly plain, while the others have different quantities of color on them, varying from black to white. These disks are then enclosed in a quantity of the inner bark of the cedar, pounded very fine, and called tupsoe. The player, after twisting and shuffling them up in all sorts of forms, separates them into two equal parts, both being enveloped in the tupsoe. these are then rapidly moved about on the mat from side to side, the other player keeping his eyes most intently fixed upon them at all time. He has bet either on the black or white one, and now, to win, has to point out which of the two parcels contains it. As soon as he makes his selection, which is done by a gesture of his hand, the parcel is opened, and each piece is rolled down the mat to the ridge in the center. He can thus see the edges of all, and knows whether he has lost or won.

A kit of many Stick Games including Counting Sticks, Marked Stick, Odds and Evens, etc. can be ordered from Faire Tyme Toys. Please see "Our Catalogue".


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