What is the String Game for
||String games deal with figures, which are knotted on
the fingers of a player.
This can be a fine art.
A simple and well known string game is a partnership game,
where figures are given from one person to the other so that a new figure
arises each time.
The English name is Cat's Cradle, the German name
auf der Leiter (Piggy on the ladder). Both names come from figures
in the series.
The topic of this page is
Classical game top
The following photos show the eight figures of the classical
game, how it already was described in book (1) from 1906.
The first player (my daughter) knots figure 1, the second
player (my granddaughter) finishes their game with figure 6.
I added the following and final
2 Soldier's Bed
2 Soldier's Bed
5 The Cat's Eye
6 Fish in a Dish
I added a number and a name
to the photos.
1 Cradle, 2 Soldier's Bed, 3 Candles,
4 Manger, 2 Soldier's Bed, 5 The Cat's Eye, 6 Fish in a Dish, 7 Clock.
The German names are
1 Anfangsfigur, 2 Matratze, 3 Straße,
4 Wiege, 2 Matratze, 5 Katzenauge, 6 Schweinchen auf der Leiter, 7 Standuhr
The names, which I have chosen
here, are most commonly used.
>You notice that figure 1 with the name Cradle
is figure 4 (Manger) upside down.
>You notice further that figure 2 (Soldier's bed)
comes twice in the series of figures. Being exact they are not the same.
At first you grip bottom-up, later on from top to bottom. But the figures
themselves are the same.
By the way there is a technique, where the fingers show
upwards also at the second time.
The classical game has the
description 12342567 in my numbering.
Videos und my
I wish give on the figures to the other player, so that
a new figure appears each time.
You can best find out by the following video clips, which
come from all over the world.
Videos with the classical
The following videos demonstrate
clearly that Cat's Cradle is played in numerous variations all over
You get plenty of informations, when you
watch the videos.
You receive the second figure Soldier's
Bed twice. You can skip it, if you grip figure 1 from above and remove
the hands from each other. Thus you have the numbering 1342567 with
seven different figures.
By the way figure 3 can come after figure 4 with the
Number 8 appears in the third column
in the table above. It means the figure Star, which can also become
a bridge between the series of figures with a special technique.
Figure 8: Star
The game Cat's Cradle is
not known as a game with an end in the world as in the classical version,
but as an endless game, unless there is a mistake. The reason is that some
figures repeat themselves. For example - as I mentioned above - the second
Soldier's Bed appears twice in the classical game 12342567.
That means that you can also follow the loop 234234234...
Figure 4 (Manger) can come after figure 6 (Fish
in a Dish): 12342564. This allows the loop
As you can see in the videos endless
games like 342565834256583425658...
or 565656... or
There are more sequences as you
can see in the following diagram.
It is also possible that one player can knot series of
figures without help.
I also offer videos to look at. Figures, which I can
recognize, are in the third column.
Notation (SFN) top
I want this as something special.
||People invented a notation to describe the technique
of making figures.
The first figure Cradle is written this way:
FMRL pu SN mt-gr nHS pu-tw ar H; M pu PS
I guess it is not easy to understand this code.
I found this on the web page http://www.alysion.org/figures/notation.htm
Anyway, today we have video clips.
Game for Two on the Internet top
You can see into the world of string players by the following
ABOINUDI - Die Fadenspieler
/ Cat's Cradle (Video bei Youtube )
Der dritte Trick war uns bekannt.
Georg Walschik über Abnehmspiele und Fadenfiguren
GAMES (.pdf File)
Caroline Furness Jayne
and How to Make Them
International String Figure
to Do Cat's Cradle
of Favorite String Figures
San Juan School District
(1) Caroline Furness Jayne: String Figures and How to
Make Them, New York 1906 (available on the internet, see above)
(2) Daniel Picon: Fadenspiele, Köln 2004 [ISBN 3-89717-252-6]
My Comments top
When we played Cat's Cradle, we never finished in
figure 7 (Clock) except we were not careful. When we came to figure
8 (Star), there was the end. We didn't know that you can go further
to figure 3 or 2. This was a nice discovery.
||All friends, which I addressed, knew the game Cat's
Cradle, but not (like we) the German name Schweinchen auf der Leiter
(piggy on the ladder). I can well understand the name, because I remember
the time of slaughtering a pig at home. The slaughtered pig was fastened
to a ladder all legs streched out and opened in the centre.
This string game Cat's
Cradle matches my collection of old family games.
Feedback: Email address on my main page
page is also available in German.
2014 Jürgen Köller