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The game of Satu (amongst the Muli Ekerepa),A[p. 207] or Sandu (amongst the Maring),B[p. 47] is a simple gambling game that was played with dice in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s. As of 2010, the game has apparently fallen out of fashion.C[in afterword]


Three dice are needed to play. The player rolls all three dice: if the majority of dice show one of 123, then the result is ‘one’ (Kewa pameda); if most show 456 then the result is ‘four’ (Kewa maala).Oddly this seems to use numbers originating from two different counting systems, see Franklin (1962).

Bets are either on ‘one’ or ‘four’. A player chooses their target at the start of the session and does not change. They only choose which dice rolls to bet on, and who to bet against: bets are placed and settled between individuals, although most players will form an implicit ‘team’ that they are coöperating with.A[p. 208]

Players do not usually bet against members of their own clan, but instead competitions are held between villages. If one player wins big they are expected to stay until the end of the game to give other players the chance to even the score.E[p. 11-12]


  1. (). ⁨⁩. PhD thesis, Temple University⁩: Philadelphia, PA, USA.

  2. (). ‘⁨⁩’. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Anthropology (16), : pages 44–59.

  3. (, originally published 1987). ⁨The Bamboo Fire: Field Work with the New Guinea Wape⁩ (2nd edition). Routledge⁩: New York, NY, USA. ISBN: 978-1-4128-4255-6.

  4. and (). ‘⁨⁩’. The Journal of the Polynesian Society vol. 71 (2), : pages 188–191.

  5. (). ‘⁨⁩’. Anthropological Quarterly vol. 51 (1), : pages 4–15.


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