How To Play Pick Up Sticks: Pick Up Sticks Rules


Pick Up Sticks is a very old game enjoyed by people of all ages. The game is fun and also easy to play with very simple rules. You will find out more about this very simple game as you read on.


Pick up sticks and be the player with the most points at the end of the game.

Pick Up Sticks Game Rules

Players are allowed to pick one stick up at a time without moving any other stick. If you can do this, you get to go again but if you move another stick while picking up a stick, your turn ends.

Number of Players Needed

Minimum of 2 players can play.


A set of pick up sticks

If you intend to play several rounds of the game, a sheet of paper and a pen will be required for keeping track of scores. Get those if needed.

Setting Up

The players have to first decide how the game would end. A game of pick up stick could end in one of two ways. One, a player achieves a target point score. In this case, all the players will agree to a point score needed to win the game. The standard point target range is between 500 to 1000 points but players can agree to play for lower point targets such as 200 points and 300 points. The higher the point goal, the longer the game lasts.

Two, the game continues until all the sticks are picked. In this case, a winner can only emerge after all the sticks have been picked.

Once this is decided, the players must then agree on who goes first if there are only two players or the order in which players take their turns if more than two players are involved. After this, one of the players then holds up the set of pick-up sticks and drops it on the floor, scattering the sticks. With the sticks scattered, the game can begin.

How to Play Pick Up Sticks Game

The players take turns to try to pick up the scattered sticks from the floor one stick at a time. This looks quite easy but there is a catch. A player picking up a stick is allowed to only touch that stick and must also not move any other stick apart from the one they are picking up. If a player does this successfully, they get to try to pick up another stick, and another if they are successful again. A player’s turn ends once they touch or pick up another stick other than the one they are trying to pick up. To make the game last longer, players may put a limit on the number of sticks any player can pick up per turn. This will prevent a player from picking up all the sticks on their first turn, ending the game quickly.

Points are awarded to players based on the color of the stick they pick up successfully.

Black stick = 25 points

Red stick = 10 points

Blue stick = 5 points

Green stick = 2 points

Yellow stick = 1 point.

So the black stick will fetch a player the most points while yellow sticks award the least points. The implication of this is that a player may pick up the most number of sticks and still not win the game if their picked sticks don’t fetch them big points.

If a player succeeds in picking up the black stick, they can use the black stick to move other sticks away from the stick they want to pick-up. The black stick is also known as a master stick and is the only stick that can be used to move other sticks.

Winning the Game

The player with the most points is declared the winner. This could be as a result of being the first to reach an agreed point target or being the player with the most points after all the sticks have been picked.

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