Wishbone is a game played in many countries around the world. It is traditionally played between two teams of opposing players, often children, who sit cross-legged on the ground facing one another and put their hands out at shoulder height to create two parallel rows with their fingers pointing to the ground.

One player then throws down a small object like a coin or round pea onto the common area between them where it may land in either participant’s hand.

The person who catches the object has the right to make a wish; if they do not make a wish before throwing (or passing) it back to their partner, they are obliged to call “Wishbone”. If one team does not catch the pea successfully, their opponents get to make a wish. Once a wish is made it must be carried out: if the wisher ends up breaking a rule, they become the “wish-breaker”, and benefit from any remaining wishes unfulfilled by the previous wish-breakers.

Who invented it

It was invented in the 1800s in the US and it has been played throughout certain Asian countries such as Japan for hundreds of years.

Different versions of Wishbone around the world

There are different versions of Wishbone around the world. In some versions, like in Japan, if you make a wish and it doesn’t come true, you have to buy your opponents a drink. In other versions, like in the United States, players can bet an item of clothing on who will win the game.

Games like Wishbone

The games similar to Wishbone are as follows:

  • War – a game played between teams. Each team has a “base” and players take it in turns to throw a small object at the other team’s base in an attempt to hit them and score points.
  • Dice – a game usually played by two people, where players each have six dice. They take it in turns to roll all their dice and try to get the highest total they can. The player with the highest total at the end of the game is the winner.
  • Hopscotch – a playground game where players hop on one leg from one section to the next, leaving out spaces between two sections. Once all the spaces have been skipped, the player must finish by jumping into a final “safe” zone.
  • Clapping game – a game that involves clapping rhythms in different orders based on what cards are drawn from a deck. The aim is to get everyone doing the same rhythm.
  • Dodgeball – a game played between two teams, where players throw balls at members of the opposing team to knock them out of the game.
  • Rock, paper, scissors – a game that has three different actions and one of them will beat the other two and win.
  • Jacks – a game played by children and adults alike where they try to pick up small items with their fingers or throw them into the air and pick them back up before they fall to the ground.
  • Marbles – a game where players try to knock out marbles from an arrangement on a surface such as dirt or concrete so they can take over their opponents’ territory.
  • Irish hurling – a game played with a stick called the “hurley” from Ireland.
  • Capture The Flag – a game where two opposing teams each take hold of an object and try to get it into the other team’s base.


There are many games around the world that are similar to Wishbone, such as War, Dodgeball, and Capture The Flag. So if you’re looking for a new game to play with friends, why not give one of these a go? You never know, you may just enjoy it!

After all, it’s not what you are playing, it’s who you’re playing it with. Life is always better in company.