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Gwzegé’wen [Bowl and Dice]


Played throughout the year is a popular game reserved primarily for women called gwzegé’wen [bowl and dice]. Considered a great honor, only certain women are allowed to host games and possess equipment, a right conferred through a dream. Traditionally, women were responsible for hosting annual dodem [clan] feasts in honor of their bowl and dice set.

Gaming equipment includes: (1) wooden bowl and (8) die carved from bone, six being discs and the other two effigies symbolizing the carrier’s dodem animal. Each die is colored black on the obverse and white on the reverse. Based on their moiety, shkesh [first-born] and kishko [second-born], players are divided amongst two even teams. To play, the dice are either tossed with the bowl or by striking it on the ground. Casts are rewarded with points based on their assortment, each woman keeping score with beans. Players continue until each miss twice, the first to score 12 wins.

Awarded casts:

2 white | 6 black or opposite colors: 1 *
1 white | 7 black or opposite colors: 5 *
8 white or black: 8 *
1 white effigy | the rest black or opposite colors: 11 *
2 white effigies | the rest black or opposite colors: 12 *
1 effigy standing upright: 12 *
* : points

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