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Most of mapuche games served
as training for the children and preparation for
the adults for the war. The horse races, ball
games, the "chueca", "pilma",
"linao", the sling and the lance, among
others, were part of a physical training. The
motive skills were exercised to imitate the movement
of people, animals and birds, giving vigor to
There was also place for intellectual
games, such as "comicán" (similar
to chess). Agility and fortune took chances on
the "taba" and the "tafan",
through which more than once the mapuche social
positions and the fate of war prisoners were bet.
Cheers would go along with the game, expressing
its magical and superstitious aspects.
Games from the Conquest time
The importance of horses during
the Conquest time, when their value would be higher
of that of a soldier, was followed by the "rodeo",
a practice originated on the need of making a
counting of the animals. The horse races with
bets were the Spaniards' main hobby. The
peasant would include the horse in most of his
celebrations and games, such as the "rodeo",
the "topeaduras", the taming, the threshing
by mares and the "hair races" (no mount).
Games from the Colonial time
During the Colonial time, a Chilean game tradition was consolidated. Different horse games where then practiced. They would gather crowds; the same as with the cockfights, made on especially set places, called "reñideros". The Hispanic-indigenous and Hispanic-Chilean syncretism was visible on the practice of mapuche games such as the "chueca", the "taba" and others of such an ancient European tradition like "chapas", bowling and other bet games. The "rayuela", originally from Spain, also had great acceptance.
The stone wars between contestants from each side of the Mapocho River were famous, and observed by a crowd that would gather at Santiago's main promenade, the Tajamar. Games such as hide-and-seek, blind man's buff, "golden thread" and others (some typical names were "pimpín serafín", "otra esquina por ahí", "cordero sal de mi huerta") would fill the patios of the upper classes. The official game was the ball, Viscaino-style, brought by the Spaniards and practiced in especially built amphitheater, and then on ball fields set at the Institutes. Kites were also played on fields, the same as the rope.
The social hobbies were the strolls on carts, the forfeit games, the chess, checkers, Lottery, all played on halls and cafés, where one could also find a room for playing cards. Pool was introduced to Chile in 1812. Marbles, swings, diabolo, spinning top, "emboque" and "the greased stick" were other traditional games. The races of human wheelbarrows, jumping in sacks, football and other contests would appear during the celebration of Independence Day.