Monday, September 27, 2010

Buying a Sapo Game in the US from

I'm excited to say that I just placed an order for a Sapo game from!

I've written about Sapo many times on Streets of Lima, but for those of you who are new to this web page, or who just missed my Sapo articles, let me give you a little bit of background.

Sapo is a yard game that is best enjoyed in the company of friends and with an abundance of alcohol (although the alcohol isn't necessary really).  It's just one of those simple, non-strenuous games that allows you to toss things and then berate your friends who aren't quite as skilled as you are.  It's sort of similar to horseshoes, but I think the closest American equivalent is the game of washers.  However, for my money, Sapo has both these alternatives beat hands down.

The two Sapo games in the above image are the ones offered by  I ordered the one on the right because it's the more traditional look, and it just happens to have pretty much the same colors as the Green Bay Packers.  The game is 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet and consists of a flat top with a bunch of holes and a little bronze frog (Sapo is Spanish for "frog") sitting in the center.  Each one of these holes has a corresponding point total.  To play, you stand 5 meters away (or father or closer depending on what you feel's YOUR game after all) and throw little weighted gold coins at the game.  The object is to get one of these coins to go into the Sapo's mouth.

Now, it sounds easy, but when you get your game you'll notice that the Sapo's mouth isn't open enough for the coin to enter vertically.  Because of that, you have to develop a kind of "discus" technique of throwing the coin.  I do it by kind of letting the coin spin off my finger like a Frisbee.  My wife, however, lets the coin slide off her hand without any spin.  You'll have to do whatever works for you.  Actually, the best tactic for getting a "Sapo" (having the coin enter the frog's mouth) is to learn how to throw the coin so it flies through the air horizontally with a slight downwards angle.  If you should be lucky enough to throw a "Sapo," you'll be delighted to hear a kind of "gulp" sound as the coin rattles down the back of the Sapo's throat.

This is a traditional Peruvian game and it comes from a folk tale about how Sapo's (frogs) had magical powers and if you could get one of them to eat a gold coin the thrower would be awarded a wish and the frog would turn to solid gold.

Today, you find Sapo games all over provincial Peru.  Basically anywhere there is a patch of grass and a stand selling cool beer, you'll see a few people huddling around playing Sapo.  I find the game really relaxing.

There are several variations in terms of game play which all revolve around acquiring the best point total, but generally when I play it's all about getting Sapos!  My wife and I usually just take turns awarding a point for whoever gets the highest score per round and then continuing until somebody has 10 victories.  I'm probably a little rusty right now, but I'm looking forward to playing a bit of Sapo.  On two separate occasions I've gotten CONSECUTIVE Sapos...which brings down the house, especially if you're playing with Peruvians.  If you're playing with Americans or whatever they don't comprehend the difficulty of your accomplishment and thus don't provide you with the proper worship (I'm trying to change that with articles like this).

I, and especially my Peruvian wife (who misses her home obviously), am really excited about bringing this little corner of Peru to my American doorstep.  Who knows?  Maybe they'll have a Sapo world championship here in the Chippewa Valley in the next year or so (even if it's just ME putting it on...why not?).

If I've convinced you and you want to check it out, head on over to!


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