How to Play the Five Stones Traditional Game

By Johnny Kampis

Updated September 22, 2017

Five Stones is a game similar to jacks that dates back to ancient times. Players must throw one stone in the air while trying to grab other stones off of the ground. Other objects of similar size can be used to play the game. Sheep knucklebones were the preferred game equipment in the early days of Five Stones. This game has been called many other names--including Otadama, Tally, Chuckstones, Dibs and Knucklebones--depending on the area it was played and the objects used,,

Hold one stone in your hand and place four stones on the ground nearby.

Throw the stone from your hand into the air and try to grab one of the stones on the ground with that hand while also catching the tossed rock.

Place the caught stone to the side (in an advanced version of the game you must keep all caught stones in your hand) and repeat Step 2. Try to grab one stone at a time until you have picked up the four stones that were originally placed on the ground.

Increase the difficulty by trying to grab two stones at a time after successfully completing one round of picking up one stone during a throw. This can be increased to three and four stones after each round. A player's turn ends when she is unable to grab a stone or stones while catching the tossed rock.