Plum Stone Game
This game belongs to the second and non-ceremonial class of
the games of hazard and is generally played by women. The Omaha
type is here given, but it is similar to the game as played by
Properties.—Five plum stones; a basket or wooden
bowl; one hundred counters. The Omaha used stalks of the blue
joint grass as counters, but small twigs or sticks will serve.
The plum stones should be carefully cleaned and dried. Two of
the stones are burned black on both sides with a hot iron; on
one side of each of these stones a crescent is marked, and between
the lines of the figure the black is carefully scraped so as
to leave a clear design of a new moon on a background of black.
On the other side of these two stones a star, four or five pointed,
is drawn and all the black within the lines is scraped off, leaving
a brown star on a background of black. The other three stones
are each burned black all over on one side; the other side is
left the natural color of the stones. These stones can be prepared
in camp, but the basket or wooden bowl will probably have to
be furnished from outside.
Directions.—Two players to one basket or bowl.
The game is generally one hundred points.
The two players sit opposite and have the basket or bowl between
them, with the five plum stones lying in the bottom. The one
hundred counters are within reach at one side. As points are
made, the winner takes a corresponding number of counters from
the general pile and lays them beside her on the side opposite
to the general pile; when this is exhausted, then the winner
takes her counters from the winnings of her opponent. Whoever
wins all of the one hundred points has the game.
Lots should be drawn to decide who shall have the first play.
The one who wins the first play takes the bowl or basket by the
rim with both hands and gives it a toss sufficient to throw up
all the stones, but not violent enough to make them fall outside
the bowl or basket; such a throw would not count. If the throw
is not such as to move all the stones, make them turn and all
move about within the bowl, that throw will not count.
The following are the combinations that count, that is, make
Two moons and three whites (natural color) = 10 points.
Two stars and three blacks = 10 points.
One moon, one star and three whites (natural color) = 1 point.
One moon, one star and three blacks = 1 point.
No other combinations count anything in the game. As will be
seen, there are a number which cannot be counted. If one tosses
the bowl and the stones fall in such manner as to make a combination
that does not count, there is no forfeit; the player merely fails
to score any points. The player who wins a point, or points,
keeps on tossing the bowl until she fails to make a point. She
must then let her opponent toss the bowl, who will keep tossing
the bowl as long as she can win a point. There are players among
the Indian women who are very skilful and are able to make the
stones fall frequently in the combinations that win ten points.