The African board game of Morabaraba is an ancient and traditional two player board game that is thousands of years old and played by millions of Africans. It is believed that it was originally used to teach herd boys using lines in the ground and stones of different colours an appreciation for tactical and strategic thinking when dealing with cattle and, even today, the playing pieces are still known as 'cows'. It was also used as a way to assess the strategic skills of a African chief's advisers. 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. Morabaraba has also 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 ~ This means when you get three in a row, click on one of your computer opponent's pieces to remove it. 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 cow.
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. The video below explains the rules of and how to play the traditional Africa game of Morabaraba.
Play free traditional Africa games online including Mancala and Yote and see how creative Africa kids are.
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