The Tibetan game of Sho does not look like your traditional board game. Each player is trying to be the first to move all nine of their tokens clock wise thru the arc of cowry shells. Players must decide if they want to out run their opponents, make stronger groups or hit their opponents to send them back to the begining. This makes for game that will test your luck and your mind.
64 cowry shells
Dice pad and dice cup
Nine matching coins or tokens for each player
How to play
The dice pad is placed in the middle of the players with the 64 shells placed in an arc around the pad.
If played before noon the youngest player starts the first game. If the first game is played after noon the oldest player starts the game. Each game after that is started by the winner of the last game.
The direction of play goes to the left.
On the players turn they roll the dice around in the dice cup and then slap up sided down on the dice pad. The next player lifts the cup revealing the dice. If a player other than the next one in line lifts the cup the roll must be done over again. If the dice fall of the the pad the roll must also be done again. A move is made up the combined numbers of the two dice.
On the players first roll he or she places a stack of 3 coins on the space past the number of cowry shells rolled on the dice.
On the players following rolls of the dice he or she can move a coin or coin stack already on the board or enter 1 coin that has not been placed on the board.
If a player moves a coin to a space that already has some of his or her coins on it, the coins are stacked together to make one group. Stacks there after move as a single piece. The player may then roll again.
If a player can move a coin or stack of coins to a space where there is a opponent’s coin or stack of coins, the player may be able to make a kill. The player can kill if the number of the opponent’s stack is equal to or lower than the stack he or she is placing there. If the opponent’s stack is killed it is removed from the board and returned to the opponent to start from the beginning. The player making the kill rolls again.
A player can not move his or her coins on to a space if there is an opponent’s stack of coins that is larger than the one the player is moving. If this is the only move available to the player their turn is forfeited.
If a player rolls 2 ones this is called a Para. After moving or entering a coin the player rolls again. If a player rolls a Para three times in a row, it is a automatic win.
The first player to move all 9 of his or her coins past the last cowry in the arc wins the game. An instant win occurs if a player rolls a Para three times in a row or if the the dice are stacked one on top of the other when the cup is removed.
Be sure to this look at this youtube clip of a game of Sho in action