Javanese Dakon Game – Fish Design


Dakon Game – Fish Design – Dimensions: H: 11 cm, L: 40 cm, W: 5 cm (closed) and H: 2.5 cm, L: 40 cm, W: 21.5 cm (open). Contains game board, bag of shells to play and instructions. Made in Java.


Dakon Game – Fish Design -Dimensions: H: 11 cm, L: 40 cm, W: 5 cm (closed) and H: 2.5 cm, L: 40 cm, W: 21.5 cm (open). Contains game board, bag of shells to play and instructions. Made in Java.Outside the city of Yogjakarta in the steamy rainforests on the banks of a volcano you can find a small slightly sleepy village, the home of the Dakon game, where the inhabitants are skilled artisans producing beautiful batik decorated Dakon game boards. The history of the game dates back to fourth century Egypt and it is thought that the game was brought there by traders, adapted by Malacca merchants and developed into this very popular Javanese game. On the mountainside where the wood and skills come together a mini industry has developed producing beautiful intricately decorated sets.Rules of Play: There are many variations but this I believe must be as close as you can get to an indigenous Javanese version. Two people play and to decide who starts it is traditional to play “paper stone scissors” but I guess it is OK to toss a coin. Anyway you set up the board by putting five shells into each of the boards central holes – but not the two “bank” holes at each end. Your bank is the left hand hole. By the way it is traditional to use cowry shells, but stones or glass pebbles or any small counter can be used. It seems to me that cowry shells been an ancient currency most fitting for this game.Play consists of picking up all the shells on one hole and counting clockwise round the board dropping one shell in to each hole as you go, including your bank hole but not your opponents bank hole. The hole you finish on, is the starting point again, your turn continues by picking all this holes shells and continuing counting round. The counting round is called “Seeding” and indeed some sets use seeds or nuts as pieces.Your turn finishes in three of two ways. Firstly if you land with the last stone in your bank. Secondly if you finish and the last shell is in an empty hole (on your side of the board), this is called “shooting the hole” and you can capture all the shells in the opposite hole and transfer them to your bank. Finally you can do a “double shoot” to do this you must land in an empty hole on your opponents side with pieces in the holes either side. Now you can capture two pots of shells back to your bank.Of course if you come to the end in an empty hole, and there is nothing to “shoot” in the opposite hole, your move ends and play as above passes to your opponent. The game ends when there are no shells left on one side of the board. The winner being, the one with the most shells in the bank.A simple and addictive game, to win you need to think further ahead than your opponent, be quick at calculations and a good judge of numbers of shells in a hole.