Most tops are made from hardwood such as kuran, leban, leucaena, lemon, casuarina, kempas and the tualang. There also exists tops made from ivory. There are several superbly created tops like the pumpkin-shaped tops, peg-shaped tops, the bottle-shaped tops with the form of a pumpkin base used for spinning the top. To spin the top, a string is used. The string is made from barks of trees, and the threads are spun from the barks. Sometimes, the string is made from spinning pineapple leaves. Nowadays the strings for a top are made from ball threads. The top string is thicker in the front and finer at the end. The base is as big as the last finger, while the end is as delicately thin like the stem of a coconut leaf, the ‘lidi’. The string made from the pineapple leaves are sometime attached to the end of the string, so that the sound ‘alit’ is heard when the top spins. The length of string is about six feet to 1.8 metres and usually smoothened by ‘sarang kelulut’ (nest of a bee-like insect).
How to Play
Spinning the top is done in three ways :-
1. Double (spin and cross).
2. Doubles (two teams) two, three or four in a team.
3. Triple (King-Minister-Pawn). This is particularly close to the game of chess because of the association with the terms King-Minister-Pawn.
Rules and Regulations
1.1 A team consists of 5 players that consists of:
1.1.1 Main player.
1.1.2 Centre player.
1.1.3 Third player.
1.1.4 The top quartermaster.
1.2 A team also contains two reserve players.
2. To start the game:
A vote to start the game should be through the 'BERTALAR URI'. The top that spins the longest will be considered the winner. The ‘bertalar uri’ can be done either on the ground or on top of the top stand. It all depends on the players. Two players from each team are permitted to take part in the start of the competition.
3. How Play the Game:
3.1 The top is spun, one by one. One player will spin the top and the other will try to cross it.
3.2 The Game will be given marks with a game duration of two hours.
3.3 There will be a 15 minute recess after a one-hour play.
3.4 The tops used for the ‘Uri Pemangkah’ and the spins must be placed in the cokok (a wooden stand for the tops to be kept safe) and guarded by one of the five players.
3.5 The Cokok or the stand could be brought along by the team or could be prepared before the competition.
3.6 The top that did not get crossed during the competition may be kept for the ‘bertalar uri’, if needed.
3.7 The spinner must spin his top in five seconds once the opposing team makes his move.
4. Mistakes made during the games:
4.1 The spinning time was uncounted.
4.2 When the helmsman made a mistake with whistling.
4.3 When the winding of the string takes more than five seconds.
5. Reasons when the spinner can cross the top:
5.1 When he loses in the initial spin.
5.2 When the helmsman makes a mistake.
6. Point for Tally:
6.1 Two points are awarded to the challenging team if they have managed to cross out all the five tops.
6.2 If a draw occurs, no marks will be given to either team.
6.3 Allocation of marks:
6.3.1 Win - two points.
6.3.2 Draw - one point.
6.3.3 Lose – no points.
7.1 The court must be built from clay or sandy soil that is suited for spinning tops.
7.2 Salt must be mixed with the soil, so that the earth will not crack.
7.3 Two or three days must be spent on court preparation before the game begins.
7.4 There can be more than one court.
7.5 The court area should be approsimately 60’ X 60’.
8. Cokok (Top holder)
Each game or team can use bamboo splits or wood to hold the tops in the top container during the competition. Oil also can be used to smooth the cokok.
9. Tops for Competition:
9.1 The top must be made to precise measurement.
9.2 The top must be made from wood that measures as follows:
9.2.1 The diameter of the top must be - 16 inches.
9.2.2 The width across must be - 14 inches.
9.2.3 The height of the top must not exceed 4 inches.
9.2.4 The height of the spin must not exceed 3½ inches.
9.3 The nail used as the axis must measure:
9.3.1 Length - must not exceed 0.5cm.
9.3.2 Site for the diameter - must not exceed 0.3cm.