Instructions for Wooden Mexican Spinning Tops

by Alexis Rohlin

A small six-sided wooden Mexican spinning top is called "la pirinola." The sides are labeled with different words and number combinations. The top is used to play a game, "Toma Todo," traditionally played after the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico. Players sit in a circle or around a table and take turns spinning the top. A "pot" of playing chips is placed in the center, where each player can reach it. When the top lands, the word and number facing up indicates what the player should do with the chips.

Items you will need

  • Wooden Mexican spinning top
  • Game chips or counters (10 per person)
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Step 1

Divide your game chips or counters and give each player 10 chips. Have each player put two chips into the center of the table, which is called the "pot."

Step 2

Decide how many rounds you wish to play before you start spinning the top, and in which order players will take turns spinning the top.

Step 3

Spin the top as you would a normal top, beginning with the first person to take a turn holding onto the stem or handle of the top and spinning it with her fingers. When the top lands, read the words and numbers on the side facing up. The words are written in Spanish. "Toma Uno" means "take one." "Toma Dos" means "take two." "Tomo Todo" means "take all." "Pon Uno" means "put one." "Pon Dos" means "put two." "Todos Ponen" means "all put." The player takes the indicated number of chips from the pot if it lands on a side with "Toma," or "take," written on it. The player places the indicated number of chips into the pot if it lands on a side with "Pon" on it. If the top lands on "Todos Ponen," every player must place two chips into the pot.

Step 4

Continue playing "Toma Todo" with "la pirinola" by having each player spin the top. The game ends after you play the number of rounds you decided upon, or when the first player runs out of chips. Have the players count their chips. The winner is the player with the most chips.