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Countries where the game is played.

© George Pollard 🅭🅯🄏🄎

This is a game from Ethiopia and Eritrea which involves throwing six or more two-sided sticks, that each have one side marked. Depending on how many marked sides come up, the player may undergo a truth-or-dare style ‘punishment’.

I have found little information about this game outside of dictionaries, and any more information about this game would be greatly appreciated!

The two sides of the throwing-sticks are called (in Amharic) the ንጉሥ nəguś ‘king’ and ራስ ras ‘head’ (=duke),A[p. 2142] and the sticks are often made from the wood of Calpurnia aurea.B[p. 112]

In Geʽez the game is called (አል)ሕዝል (ʾəl)ḥəzl, ኅዝል ḫəzl.C[p. 253]

In Amharic it is called ጣብ ṭabC[p. 253] (the name of the casting pieces used),A[p. 2142] or አምባ፡ራስ amba-ras ‘fortress-top’.A[p. 1127] Other names are አርጴ arəppeA[p. 1160] or አርቤ arəbe.D[p. 179]

In Silʼte it is እሮብD[p. 179] (irobi??).

In Tigrinya it is called ሸደድ sheded and often played by a couple after their wedding. This version seems to have the most references online, for example:

There is also ‘Sheded’ and this one is an extremely loved one. The game is played with six or more sticks and it is a truth or dare game. All of the people involved in the game take turn to flip the sticks and catch as many as possible. If one is not able to catch as much as the decided number, the best man, wedges the player’s left hand between the sticks and asks for questions or dares. He keeps baffling the poor left hand until the truth is told, or the dare executed.E


  1. (). ⁨Amharic-English Dictionary⁩ volume 2: ‘⁨ኘ–ፐ⁩’. Otto Harrassowitz⁩: Wiesbaden. ISBN: 3-447-02871-8.

  2. , , , , and (). ⁨⁩. Regional Soil Conservation Unit⁩: Nairobi, Kenya. ISBN: 9966-896-24-4.

  3. (). ⁨⁩. Otto Harrassowitz⁩: Wiesbaden. ISBN: 3-447-02592-1.

  4. (). ⁨⁩. SIL Ethiopia⁩: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  5. Anonymous (). ‘⁨⁩’ [archived]. Eritrea Ministry of Information.


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