Ohlone Games



BUTTON
Two teams face each other. One team keeps up constant, rapid arm motion passing a piece of shell from one hand to another, accompanied by a song to which they keep time with the motion of their arms. The opposite team guesses which hand it is in.

KIOLKIS (Hupa)
Each player uses one Kiolkis implement. The object is to throw up and catch the bone on the point. Catching one bone counts 1; two bones, 2; and so on. If a player misses, the other plays. Four points is the game.

RING GAME (Tsikonai ikoshnikia)
The object is to throw the dart through one of the rings. The large ring counts 4. The red ring counts 1; the green, 3; the black [purple] 2.

POS'KA (Nishinam ball game)
Using a buckeye, three people stand at three bases or corners, tossing it from one to the other. If two of them start to exchange corners, and the third "crosses out" or hits either of them, he scores one, and they count up to a certain number (5), which completes the game.

PO KOWA(Washoe stick game)
Twelve (6) small sticks, 4 inches long by 3/8 inches wide, of split willow, bent, and painted red on the flat side, are cast up and caught in a winnowing basket. The counts are as follows: All red up count 6; 2 red up,1; one red up, 2; all plain up, 6.

MIWOK BONE GAME
Two teams (or two people); one person holds bones in hand, mixing them while chanting. No one guesses until the person holding the bone points to one, saying "HOH". The object is to guess in which hand the marked gone is hidden. Tally is counted only when the guess is wrong.
A chant: "Tin marin de lo pin hue Tutara, macara, tutara fue"

STICK GAME
Three sticks cut from tree limb approximately 12 inches long - cut lengthwise so you hava one rounded side and one flat side. Six sticks are held in one hand above a flat rock and suddenly cast down on the rock as if to harpoon it. After the sticks have fallen the score is computed thusly;

1 point - 3sticks up, 3 down
2 points - all flat sides down
3 points - all round sides down

Ten counting sticks are used. Game is won when one player ends up with all ten. No score loees turn. Score until no score.

RIVERS, ROCKS AND BEARS
Forty rocks placed. in a circle-divided by four rivers. Bear starts at a river (home) and progresses according to number determined by sticks. If one bear should land on another players bear that bear must start over. Winner circumnavigates the rock circle first.

WILLOW HOOP TOSS
Make hoop from willow wand. Cut three sticks that will fit inside the hoop. Place hoop on ground and stand with your back to the hoop and toss sticks over your shoulder trying for the hoop. Winner gets most sticks in hoop.

WALNUT GAME
Six walnuts one half of each walnut painted, dyed or etched. Shake walnuts up in a basket. Count your score;

all sides up same color ••••• 5 points
4 sides up of same color •••• l point

BASKET DICE
Five plum pits charred. Scrape one side of plum pit clean on three pits. The remaining pits have etched on them a star on one side and a moon on the other. They are shaken in a basket and left in the basket for scoring.

2 moons and 3 natural sides ••••• 1O points
2 stars and 3 black 81de~ ••••••• 10 points
1 moon, 1 star, 3 black sid~8 •••• 1 point
1 moon, 1 star, 3 natural sides •• 1 point

SAKLAN
"Two sit on the ground opposite each other, holding in their hands a number of thin sticks, and these being thrown up at the same time with great rapidity they immediately guess whether the number is odd or even; at the side of each of the players a person sits, who scores the gain and loss. As they always play for something and yet possess nothing but their clothing, which they are not allowed to stake [mission period] they employ nuch pains and sktll on little white shells, which serve instead of money."

OLOLPA
"They are most inveterate gamblers, and frequently play away every article of value they possess, but beads are their staple gambling currency. They have two or three games, one of which is with small sticks, held in the hand, which being suddenly opened some roll on the fingers, when the opposite players guesses at a glance their number. If he guesses right he wins; if wrong, pays the forfeit."

A. Delano, Life on the Plains, p. 307, Auburn, 1854

UCHU'US (Yokuts dice game)
"The Yokuts have a sort of gambling . . . it is a kind of dice throwing, and is called Uchu'us. For dice they take half of a large acorn or walnut shell, fill it level with pitch and pounded charcoal, and inlay it with bright colored abalone shells. For a dice table they weave a very large fine basket tray, almost flat, and ornamented with devices woven in black or brown, mostly rude imitations of trees and geometrical figures. Four poeple [traditional; more can play] sit arount it to play, and a fifth keeps tally with 15 sticks. There are eight dice, and they scoop them up in their hands and dash them into the basket, counting 1 when two or five flat surfaces turn up. The rapidity with which the game goes forward is wonderful, and the players seem totally oblivious to all things in the world besides. Each player, after throwing, exclaims 'yetni' or 'wiatak' or 'komaieh', which are simply a kind of sing-song or chanting."

Stephen Powers, Tribes of California, Contributions to North American Ethnology, v. 3, p. 377, Washington, 1877

(The game can be played with fewer than 8 dice, such as 4 or 6; in that case, all dice facing up or down counts 2; half the dice facing up counts 1, Score is kept with tally sticks.

UMTA (Miwok basketball)
Two players, standing some distance apart, throw and catch the ball with their basket. The ball may not be touched with the hands. The casting baskets are called shaknumsia. This game was played for high stakes. It is counted with sticks, and a player forfeits one when failing to catch or throw the ball so that it goes beyond the others reach. Each player gets 8· sticks; tally is counted only on a miss.

TAKERSIA (ICostanoanl hoop game)
"They have two games to which they dedicate their whole leisure. The first, to which they give the name of takersia, consists in throwing and rolling a small hoop, of 3 inches in diameter, in a space of 10 square toises, cleared of grass and surrounded with fascines. Each of the two players holds a stick, of the size of a common cane, and 5 feet long; they endeavor to pass this stick into the hoop whilst it is in motion; if they succeed in this they gain 2 points; and if the hoop, when it stops, simply rests upon their stick, they gain 1 by it; the game is 3 points. This game is a violent exercise, because the hoop
or stick is always in motion."

J.F.G. de la Perouse, A voyage Around the World in the Years 1785, 1786, 1787, and 1788, v. 2, p. 2 3, London, 1798
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TI I KEL (Nishinam foot game)
"The ti ' kel is laid in the center of a wide, level space of ground, in a furrow hollowed out a few inches in depth. Two parallel lines are drawn equidistant from it, a few paces apart, and along these lines the opposing parties equal in strength, range themselves. Each player is equipped with a slight, strong staff, from 4 to 6 feet long. The two champions of the parties take their stations on opposite sides of the piece, which is then thrown into the air, caught on the staff of one or the other, and hurled by him in the direction of his antagonists goal. With this send-off there ensues a wild chase and a hustle, pellmell, higgledy-piggledy, each party striving to bowl the piece over the others goal. These goals are several hundred yards apart, affording room for a good deal of lively work; and the players often race up and down the champaign, with varying fortunes, until they are dead blown and perspiring like top-sawyers."

Stephen Powers, Tribes of California, Contributions to American Ethnology, v. 3, p. 333, Washington, 1877