photo by Sylvia

The name derives from “chackstones”—stones to be tossed. The knuckle, wrist, or ankle bones (astragals) of goats, sheep, or other animals also have been used in play. Such objects have been found in prehistoric caves in Kiev, Ukraine, and pictures of the game are depicted on jars from ancient Greece.

Excerpt from the entry: Jacks, The Encyclopaedia Britannica


25 thoughts on “Jacks”

  1. The jacks we played with were real bone and were painted. Hand-me-downs from older siblings who were country kids and made them as they has access to animal bits.


  2. I never played Jacks as a kid. It was one of those games then that was more for girls than boys when I was a child, Sylvia. I don’t know if that is still true. I can see its contribution to hand eye coordination. My first thought was divination instead of games when you mentioned bones. Movies like Willow and Star Dust featured it. “Throw the bones!” 🙂 –Curt


    1. Yes, I agree that it seems more of a “girl” thing. It was that way in my day and then again 30 years later when I was raising my kids. I wonder now if that has anything to do with the “divination” aspect of this ancient game (of which I knew nothing about until I did some research). I don’t know. I have found everyone’s comments most interesting and it’s added to my fascination.


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