Morabaraba is a mod of Nine Man Morris, a popular game featured in the Evolution of Games course. Morabaraba is a traditional game played in South Africa. Its game board is the same as the one used to play Nine Man Morris, with a tweak! In Morabaraba, each player is allowed three more “men,” or “cows” as the game pieces are called when playing Morabaraba, for a total of twelve cows for each player.
The rules for Morabaraba are very similar to Nine Man Morris. Each player alternatively places a “cow” on an intersection point (node) somewhere on the game board. Once all cows are placed on the game board, each player can slide a cow from one node to another, with each player limited to one move per turn. The idea is to take an opponent’s cow by forming a mill. A mill is three cows in a row along the length of one side of the game board.
In Morabaraba, a cow in an opponent’s mill cannot be taken unless all of an opponent’s cows are in mills. Moreover, a mill that is broken to form a new mill cannot be reformed on the next move. This rule offsets the ability for a player to continually capture an opponent’s cow just by moving one piece back and forth to form a continual series of mills.
The fly rule in Morabaraba kicks in when a player only has three cows left. The fly rule allows a player to fly a cow across the board to any space rather than be limited to sliding a cow from one node to another. A person wins the game when the opponent is left with only two cows.
The Morabaraba game board is easy to make. All you need is a paper and pencil! Game pieces can be as simple as coins or small, colorful rocks used in fish tanks. Play the game with family and friends. Change up the rules or mod the game board for an additional challenge!