The Book of Cultures...games! 

South Africa - Play Morabaraba

Morabaraba (also known as mmela, muravava, and umlabalaba) - is a traditional two-player strategy board game. 

Easy to learn, and games can be played quickly, but the strategic and tactical aspects of the game run deep.

What you need

- Board - either download and print the one below or even scratch the shape shown on a stone or into sand

- Coins, pebbles, bottle caps (or whatever comes to hand) used as the pieces

How to play

There are three main phases to the game:

  1. Placing the cows
  2. Moving the cows
  3. Flying the cows

Phase 1: Placing the cows

The board is empty when the game begins. Each player has 12 pieces, known as "cows"; one player has light cows and the other has dark co

  • The player with the dark cows moves first
  • Each turn consists of placing a cow on an empty intersection on the board
  • The aim is to create a "mill": a row of three cows on any line drawn on the board
  • If a player forms a mill, he or she may remove or "shoot" one of the opponent's cows. The shot cow is removed from the board and not placed again. A cow in a mill may not be shot unless all of the opponent's cows are in mills, in which case any cow may be shot.
  • Even if a move creates more than one mill, only one cow can be shot in a single move

Phase 2: Moving the cows

  • After all the cows have been placed, each turn consists of moving a cow to an empty adjacent intersection
  • As before, completing a mill allows a player to shoot one of the opponent's cows. Again, this must be a cow which is not in a mill, unless all of the opponent's cows are in mills.
  • Players are allowed to "break" their own mills
  • A mill may be broken and remade repeatedly by shuffling cows back and forth. Each time the mill is remade, one of the opponent's cows is shot. Of course, by breaking the mill the player exposes the cows which were in a mill to the risk of being shot by the opponent on his or her next turn.
  • In the "generally accepted rules" published by Mind Sports South Africa, a mill which is broken to form a new mill can not be formed again on the next move

Phase 3: Flying the cows

  • When a player has only three cows remaining, desperate measures are called for. This player's cows are allowed to "fly" to any empty intersection, not just adjacent ones.
  • If one player has three cows and the other player has more than three cows, only the player with three cows is allowed to fly

Finishing the game

  • A win occurs if one opponent has just two cows or if there are no moves.
  • If either player has only three cows and neither player shoots a cow within ten moves, the game is drawn
  • If one person cheats, then the other one wins by default
  • If one player picks up all cows while the play is still on, the player whose cows are on the board wins by default.
  • If a player plays twice before the other player, the player who did not play wins by default.
  • In some instances (in a competitive game) a chess rule "touch is a move" apply for time management. But this rule will be applied depending on the opinion of players.

 

Colombia - Play Parqués

Parqués is a random thinking game, that is, it is guided by the values of the dice but the player must think before making his move before, thus, not being entirely random. The objective of the game is to advance all the pieces to the end. 

What you need

board

2 dice

2-6 players

4 pieces for each player (colors red, blue, yellow and green)

How to play

The jail box is where the pieces are placed at the beginning of the match and it is where they get whenever an opponent captures them. The player must throw the dice three times to try to get a pair in order to free the pieces. A pair is got the player gets the same value on both dice, as 2-2 or 5-5. There are two types of pairs:

  • 1-1 or 6-6; the player can free all his pieces
  • Otherwise: 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5; the player can free 2 pieces only

When the pieces are freed, they are placed in a special box next to the jail. This box is called HOME (SALIDA, in Spanish). See information for special boxes below.

If he makes his tries and no pair is got, he passes his turn to the player on his right. Otherwise, he frees the pieces and wins an extra turn to move them. He throws again and must move the values of the dice with his pieces. For instance:

He gets 5-3

  • He can move 8 squares forward with one piece or
  • He can move 5 squares with one piece and 3 with another

After he makes his move, he must pass his turn to the player on the right.

The pieces cannot advance backwards and they cannot be in any of the four boxes before their HOME box.

Throws and turns

Each player can throw the dice once. There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • If the player has all his pieces in jail, he can throw three times until he frees them with a pair. Otherwise, he passes the turn.
  • If the player throws a pair at any moment, for example a 4-4, he wins an extra turn. If the player throws three pairs in a row, he can place one piece in ARRIVAL it gets out of the game.

Capturing pieces

The player can capture an opponent’s piece by placing his own piece on the same box as the other player’s piece. However, he cannot capture if the other player is on a SAFE or a HOME box. Capturing in Colombia is called “eating” (“comer” in Spanish).

However, the player can capture pieces on his HOME box. When he frees any piece from jail, the pieces placed on his HOME are captured, that is, sent to its jail, losing all their advances.

The player can avoid capturing the piece. On that case, an opponent has to accuse him and the piece that did not capture must go to jail. If nobody notices, nothing happens.

Special boxes

There are three types of special boxes.

  • HOME: where the pieces are placed when freed.
  • SAFE: the pieces cannot be captured on this box (See capture section below)
  • ARRIVAL: These are 9 cases where the owner player gets. They are usually of the same color of the player. The 9th box is the last box in the game for each person. If a piece is moved there, it gets out of the game. When all pieces are out of the game, the player wins.