Rules of Morabaraba
This video explains the rules of and how to play the traditional Africa game of Morabaraba. One of the reasons for its popularity is that its very easy to learn so its accessible to adults and kids alike and well as having a depth that can make it a challenging
experience for adults.
It is believed that
the game of Morabaraba evolved in Africa thousands of years ago when it was
taught to young herd boys using lines in the ground and stones of different
The idea was to teach them strategic skills when dealing with cattle
and, even today, the playing pieces are still known as 'cows'. Morabaraba has
migrated to the west where it is better known as the board game of Twelve or
Eleven Men's Morris.
The rules of Morabarbara at first seem a bit complicated, but bear in mind the game is played
by young children and herd boys, so you'll pick them up fairly quickly!
There are two players with each having twelve 'cows' of differing colours. The
first stage of the game involves placing these cows on the Morabarbara board.
Each player in turn
places a cow on one of the empty intersections of the board, with the aim being
to get three cows of the same colour lined up to create a 'mill'. These mills
can go in a any direction and when achieved, the player who has successfully
created a mill can 'shoot' one of his or her opponent's cows which is then out
of the game and removed from the Morabarbara board.
The only exception
to this rule is that a cow cannot be shot if its in a mill itself, unless all
the player's cows are in mills in which case they're all targets. When a cow has
been shot its the end of the turn and the opponent's turn to move a cow to a
free location in an attempt to create a mill and thereby shoot an opponent's
There are two ways
to win the game. Firstly, if the opponent can't make a move, and secondly if the
opponent has only two cows left. The rules also state that if each player only
has three cows left and neither can shoot one of their opponent's cows in ten
turns, then its a draw.