To play the game, professionally carved and painted sticks, usually made of bone (sometimes glass), are used. Each of the sticks has a varying number of rings carved or painted around one end.
The sticks are arranged into a pile and two or more players sit around them. The game itself "involved a lot of hand-eye coordination, reflex, steady precision and ruthless swiping", and can get fairly hectic as sticks are removed and replaced.
As you'd expect, this results in a lot of physical contact, though when players are skilled they will only seldom touch hands by accident during a game. (Instarrians don't have any modesty rules against this kind of thing - public touching is only disapproved of if it's lewd touching, and that would have to involve body parts other than hands.)
You can play cotengody sticks just as well by gathering twigs and carving the rings into them with a knife.