Up Jenkins

  • Who’s got the money? You may not always tell. There is an engaging game based on this vagueness though. Played for hundreds of years all over the world...
  • Despite many different variations along different parts and cultures, the core of the game is like this: two teams, one concealing a coin (or a button, a ring, etc.) and the other trying to identify where it is.
  • Let’s start with a quick snapshot of local variations. Wales is one of the countries where the traditional game called Tippit is around for centuries. Similar games, according to Wikipedia, are played at least in the US, Europe and Middle East. Variations span a wide range of objects, ways of concealing, and number of players. In the Iraqi version Mheibes, for example, the number of players in each team may go up to 250! Elsewhere in Asia Minor, the coin or the ring may be concealed, among others, in a nutshell (literally!), in an envelope, under a napkin or a coffe cup. What we will describe here is a rather domestic version that reqires no more than a bunch of players: Up Jenkins (a.k.a. Up Chickens). For an alleged origin of game’s name, check here.
  • The game typically consists of two-to-four-player teams. The teams sit on each side of a table. One team takes the coin and passes it under the table back and forth from one player to another. The object of the game is to do it so carefully that the opposing team cannot guess which player has the coin. Once the coin ends up in the palm of a player, the concealing team says to the opposing team that they are ready.
  • At this point, the opposing team's captain yells "Up Jenkins" and all players on the team with the coin place their elbows on the table with their clenched fists extended straight toward the ceiling. The opposing team's captain then yells "Down Jenkins" or "Bang Ems", at which point the "coin" team slams their palms face-down on the table. The goal of this stage of the game is to conceal the "clink" of the coin on the table to confuse the other team as to where the coin is.
  • In the guessing phase of the game, the non-coin team selects palms, one by one, in an attempt to isolate the coin as the "last palm standing." If they succeed in eliminating all empty hands, they win the round and now they are to conceal the coin. Otherwise, roles of the teams are not changed. The coin team hides the coin again.
  • Up Jenkins is often played with alcohol beverages where one of the teams must drink as a forfeit. The quantity and manner of drinking is a matter of rules that  should be agreed upon in advance. Every successful isolation by the guessing team results in the coin team drinking. Failure to do so results in the non-coin team drinking.
  • With or without drinking, an ample amount of play makes the players a little dizzy. And the ludic spirit; in the end one can always tell who has it.