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Thothit (ꦛꦺꦴꦛꦶꦠ꧀) is a fishing game from Java for three players, played with Ceki cards. The goal is to collect matching pairs of cards, especially red-stamped ones.

First, I describe the game as played in Surakarta in the early 20th century, based upon the description in Javaanse Kaartspelen: bijdrage tot de beschrijving van land en volk⁩ [Javanese Card Games] (p. 71–2). In Yogyakarta this game is known as Ceweng ‘to pull something towards oneself’, and Thothit refers to a different, simpler, game (Thothit Yogyakarta).


Use a single kepala of ceki cards, which contains 60 cards and two identical copies of each card.

Seats can be selected by choosing three pairs of cards and then dealing one of each pair to the players and the other of each pair to the seats; the players then sit in the matching seats. Alternatively, they can be allocated according to social rank. In Javanese play, the highest-ranking player should sit facing the front door of the house.

Once seats are chosen, the first player must be selected. This can be done by dealing each player two cards; however has the highest total value — discarding tens — is the starting player. For example if one player has the cards 7–8, for a total of 15, would have a value of 5; a player holding 1–5, for a total of 6, would beat them.

The first player is called the ꦫꦗ raja ‘king’, the second (seated to their right) is called ꦥꦠꦶꦃ patih ‘king’s advisor’, and the last player (on the raja’s left) is called ꦲꦸꦚꦶꦏ꧀ unyik ‘last’.

The cards are shuffled and dealt out by the unyik. To each player they deal seven cards face-down and six cards face-up. The face-down cards are the players’ hands, and the face-up cards form a pool of eighteen cards in the middle. The remaining 21 cards are placed in a pile face-down to form the stock.

The patih takes all the face-up cards and arranges them according to their rank.


The raja begins the game, and play continues counter-clockwise.

On each player’s turn, they first play a card from their hand to the pool. If this matches any of the cards in the pool by rank, they capture both cards. The pair of cards is called a gebagan ‘group’. Captured cards are placed face-down. If the played card matches no other cards in the pool, it remains there.

All honour and 1 cards are considered to be of the same rank.

After playing the card from their hand, the player then turns over a card from the stock (the ‘opened’ card, bukakan), which matches and captures in the same way. Thus, a player could capture up to four cards on their turn.

On a player’s first turn, they may only capture an identical card (matching suit and rank), not any others of the same rank.

Once all the cards have been played, the round is scored. For each identical pair of cards they have captured, a player scores 10 points. For each identical pair of red-stamped cards, they score 20. A red-stamped card without an identical partner is still worth 10 points. The player with the most points is the winner.

To determine the raja for the next game, the unyik draws a card at random, and counts around the circle to their right a number of times equal to the rank of the card. Since there are more 1-valued cards than any other, this means the raja is more likely to stay the same round-to-round than to rotate.


The Chinese game

According to Javaanse Kaartspelen: bijdrage tot de beschrijving van land en volk⁩ [Javanese Card Games] (p. 72), among Chinese people in Surakarta the game was played with the following rules differences:

  • Captured cards are left face-up so that other players can see them.

  • If there is an identical pair on the table, as well as another card of the same rank, the identical pair cannot be broken up before the other card is taken. If this is done, the player who does it cannot win the round.

Sid Sackson’s description

Sid Sackson describes the game in Card Games Around the World (p. 11–2). However, he misses the second part of the player’s turn (turning a card from the stock).

The rules are given in terms of standard playing cards: from two decks, take the A–9 and ♣JQK, giving 60 cards. The AJQK cards are all considered to be 1 and thus match.

He gives the following rules for playing with different numbers of players: for 2 players, deal 11 cards each; for 3 to 6 players, deal 7 cards each. Always deal 18 cards to the centre.

He also offers simplified scoring: score one point per identical pair. As an advanced rule, score 3 points for identical pairs of 9 and 2 points for identical pairs of 1.


EnthitOld orthography: Enṭit. is a very similar game from Yogyakarta where the goal is to form identical quadruplets instead of pairs.A[p. 74] For this, two kepala are used, giving 120 cards.

Deal 14 cards each and 12 to the table. Play as in the description above. Captured cards are placed face-up.

For scoring, each identical quadruplet (ꦲꦺꦤ꧀ꦛꦶꦠ꧀(?) enthit) of black cards is worth 50 points. An identical pair of black cards is worth 10 points. An identical red quadruplet (ꦲꦺꦤ꧀ꦛꦶꦠ꧀ ꦲꦧꦁ enthit abang) is worth 100 points, and a pair of identical red-stamped cards 20 points. A single red-stamped card by itself scores 10 points.

Thothit Kuna

Thothit KunaOld orthography: Ṭoṭit Koena., or ‘ancient’ Thothit is a form of the game previously played at the Surakarta court.A[p. 74–5] It is mostly the same as the game described above but uses more cards and so takes longer to play.

The game is for four or six players. One kepala of cards is needed for each player, so 240 cards for four players or 360 cards for six.

Deal ten cards face-down to each player, and ten cards face-up in front of them, then do this again so that each player has twenty cards and there are 80 or 120 cards face-up in the centre. The remaining cards are turned down to form the stock.

The game is played in the same way as the game above, playing a card from the hand and then one from the stock. There appear to be no restrictions on a player’s first turn.

Once all cards are played out, each player scores. For four identical black cards they score 10 points, for three identical 5 points. Four identical red cards score 20 points, three 10, and an identical red pair 1 point.


  1. (). ⁨Javaanse Kaartspelen: bijdrage tot de beschrijving van land en volk⁩ [Javanese Card Games]; Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen⁩ volume 75. A. C. Nix & Co.⁩: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

  2. (, originally published 1981). ⁨Card Games Around the World⁩. Dover Publications⁩: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA. ISBN: 0-486-28100-0.