Morabaraba is like tic tac toe on steroids. It is a three in a row game with quick to learn rules, and easy to make equipment. Played extensively in South Africa, it is a game that attracts enough players to have yearly international tournaments.

Players 2
Morabaraba board
12 white checkers and 12 black checkers (sometimes called cows)
How to play:
Starting with white, the players take turns placing one checker at a time on empty intersections of the board

Players are trying to make a mill, which is three checkers in a row. When a player makes a mill, they remove from the board an opponent’s checker. The checker that is removed can not be in a mill, unless all the opponent’s checkers are in mills.

After all checkers have been placed on the board players take turns moving a checker to an adjacent empty intersection.

When a player’s move creates a mill they capture just like when he or she was placing checkers.

When a player has only three checkers remaining a new rule comes into play. The player with only three checkers can move to any empty intersection, not just the adjacent ones.

The game is won when a player makes it so the opponent can not move on his or her turn or captures all but the last two of the opponent’s checkers.

If both players have only three checkers or neither player captures a checkers within ten moves, the game is drawn.

In some tournaments there is a rule that a player may not move a checker out of a mill that was formed on the last turn into a new mill.

In Somalia they play a variation called Shax. Shax is played as above except for the following differences:

Checkers can not move or make a mill diagonally.

When a mill is created during the placement of checkers, the player does not make a capture. When a mill is created during placement the player who made the first mill can capture a checker regardless of it being in a mill. After this capture, his or her opponent captures one checker.

Finally if all the checkers of a player are blocked his or her opponent must make a move that allows for the player to move. If a mill is formed by the unblocking move it does not result in capture.


If you have not learned how to play Oware you are in in for a treat. It is a game with simple rules and complex strategies. Oware is a Mancala style game that is very popular in Ghana and parts of the Caribbean. So whether you play with a friend, online, or in one of the international tournaments, it is time to try Oware.

Players 2


Oware board

48 stones

How to play

•Players place 4 stones in each of the 12 pits of the board.

•To decide who goes first, one player holds a seed in there fist. If the opponent correctly guesses which fist holds the seed, the opponent starts.

•The players take turns taking all the seeds from a pit in the row nearest to him or her, and start to drop one seed at a time into the neighboring pits in a counter clockwise direction all the way around the board until they run out of seeds.

•When a player picks a pit with so many seeds that he or she an complete a full lap around the boar, the original pit is skipped and the stone is played in the next pit. This means that the pit the player took the seeds from remains empty at the end of the turn.

•If the last seed is sown in the opponent’s row ( the row closest to the opponent)and that pit now has 2 or 3 stones, those stones are captured. If the pit that immediately precedes it also contains 2 or 3 stones, these stones are also captured and so on until a pit is reached that does not contain 2 or 3 seeds or the end of the opponent’s row is reached.

•If a player cannot play because all six pits are empty, the game ends and all the seeds on the other side of the board are captured by the other player. However, if the opponent’s pits are all empty at the end of his turn the other player must play so that at least one stone is sown onto the opponent’s side of the board if possible.

•A player may capture all the opponents stones thus leaving the player with no move and therefore also capturing all the remaining stones in the there row.

•The player that captures twenty five stones is the winner.

•The game is drawn if both players accumulate 24 seeds or very occasionally in a stalemate situation when it becomes clear that the last remaining seeds are just being moved around the board with no chance of capturing.

Have Dice Will Travel

This trick helps you keep control of your dice when playing in awkward places like buses and cars. Place your dice in a small clear container with a lid. When it is your turn to roll just shake the whole container. This dice shaker works great for games where you roll all the dice every throw like Backgammon, Shut the Box, and Sho.

You can even make a cover for your dice shaker so you can play Liars Dice. You will need an identical container that can fit over top of the first one. Paint three-quarters of the second container black. When playing slide the painted container over top of the first. Now you can see your dice in the unpainted portion, but your opponent sees only black paint.


Now you can play dice on road trips without worrying about accidentally throwing your dice under the seat in front of you. No need for tables or even dinner trays. I would like to hear from any readers that have more ideas on how to improve the dice shaker.



No cards, no dice, no problem. Spoof is a bluffing game that only requires animal cunning and three coins per player. While Spoof is most often found in English pubs, it is gaining popularity in other countries as well. So next time you can not decide whose turn it is to buy the next round, settle it with a game of Spoof.

Players 2-6

Equipment three coins per player

How to play

• Each player secretly puts 0 to 3 of the coins in their fist. On the signal each player puts their fist onto the table.

• Then each player takes a turn guessing the total number of coins in the all the fists on the table. Each player must guess a different number.

• If someone guesses the exact number of coins, he or she drops out of the game. The remaining players start the next round.

• The last person left in the game loses.

Some people play that you cannot make a false call. This means on your turn you can’t make a guess that you know could not possibly be correct. A false call results in an automatic loss.