Not currently on display at the V&A

stak - a - stik

Table Game
ca.1940 (published)
Place of origin

Design: plastic base and coloured sticks

Object details

Object type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Table Game
  • Table Game
  • stak - a - stik (manufacturer's title)
  • 2/6 or Popular set (manufacturer's title)
Physical description
Design: plastic base and coloured sticks
DimensionsSize: 3½in x 2 1/8in (8.9 x 5.4cm)
Object history
This game is really the reverse of Spillikins as the players are required to build up the matchsticks on the base and then remove them again.

See also Misc. 75-1977 and Misc. 861-1988.
Historical context
No. of Players: any
Equipment required: one plastic base, dark brown
collection of wooden sticks in yellow, red, green and blue, with each colour contained a cardboard tray with correspondingly coloured base and buff card outer case
instructions booklet


Spillikins and Jackstraws are similar games which test the player's skill at removing straws or small sticks from a pile, one at a time. and without disturbing any of its neighbours. Any number may play.

The game originated in China and is played with a set of about 30 ivory, wood, or plastic strips. These thin strips have carved heads representing animals, people, and other shapes. There is also a carved hook for moving the strips.

The order of play is determined by a throw of dice or any other agreed means. The past person in the playing order then takes all the spillikins in one hand and drops them on to the table or floor. He must not interfere with any after they have left his hand.

At his turn, each player takes the carved hook and attemptes to remove a pillikin from the pile without disturbing any of the others. Once a player has started moving a particular one, he is not permitted to transfer his attack to a different one. If he is successful, he keeps the spillikin and tries to remove another one from the pile. A player's turn continues until he disturbs a spillikin other than the one he is attacking. Play continues in this way untill all the spillikins ahve been taken.

Scoring. Each spillikin has a points value and a game is won by the player with the highest score. Spillikins that are generally fairly easy to move have a low value and more elaborate and difficult to move ones hve a correspondingly higher value.

This variant to spillikins is also known as jerkstraws, juggling sticks, pick-up sticks and pick - a - stick
It is played with about 50 wood or plastic sticks or straws. These are usually about 6in long, rounded and with pointed ends, and coloured according to their points value.

The rules of play are the same except players remove the sticks with their fingers or in some versions may use a stick of a specified colour after they have drawn one from the pile.

This is a modern form of jackstraws in which the straws are made of metal and must be removed from the pile by means of a small horseshoe magnet.
waddy productions, astor house, aldwych, london, w c 2; a branch of the amalgamated press ltd
Accession number

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Record createdMarch 5, 2000
Record URL
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