How To Play Pick Up Sticks Game: Rules & Variations

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Pick Up Sticks is a game that sounds simple, but challenges a player’s ability to keep their hands steady and their minds focused. Some people also know this game as Jackstraws, Spillikin, or Mikado, although the sticks have a slightly different point system and design. The sticks can be made out of almost any material such as bamboo, straw, reed, or most commonly, plastic. Here, it is a popular local game and pick up sticks can be bought at affordable prices. Here’s how to play Pick Up Sticks.


What you need to play Pick Up Sticks

What you need to play Pick Up Sticks
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  • A pack of pick up sticks
  • A solid surface such as a table or a floor


How to play Pick Up Sticks

The aim of Pick Up Sticks is to collect as many sticks as possible without moving the rest of the sticks. It has similar gameplay to the popular game of Jenga. This game can be played alone, but it is more fun with at least one other player.

All of the pick up sticks are dropped as a loose bunch onto a tabletop or floor and left as a jumbled pile of sticks. The player will try to remove a stick from the pile without moving any of the others. Depending on the player, there are certain rules that can be included in the game.


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Depending on the pick up stick, each colour or design is assigned a certain number of points. The winner is the player with the most number of points. Sometimes dice can be rolled to decide if players should draw a certain colour.

There is a method of getting certain sticks that are harder to reach by using another stick to flick the stick up. The rules can be adjusted according to the desired difficulty and players can choose to use any stick they wish or limit it to certain colours and conditions such as “only using the black stick as a helping stick” or “only being able to use the same colour sticks as helping sticks”.


Variation of Pick Up Sticks

Pick Up Gratitude

This is a great variation of the game to have fun and practice gratitude at the same time. Assign a category to the colour of the stick. Some examples include:

Red: A person you are thankful for

Yellow: A thing you are thankful for

Green: A memory you are thankful for

Blue: A place you are thankful for

White: An event you are thankful for

Upon drawing the colour of the stick, players will then have to think of and share the thing that they are thankful for.


READ: Enjoy a Buddy Discount When Signing Up With A Friend at This Art School