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|Morabaraba is based on the traditional game Nine Men's Morris. There are two material differences: the board has four additional diagonals and each player has twelve men (or 'cows', but we'll leave flying cows to the movie Twister) instead of nine.|
Morabaraba is played on a special board with 24 cells connected with lines indicating valid movements as in the diagram.
There are two players: White and Red. White moves first after which player's alternately move.
The board is initially empty and each player has 12 men of his color 'in hand'. Sometimes only eleven men are used, to prevent draws caused by a full board in gridlock. We use twelve because the chances of such a gridlock are remote.
The object of Morabaraba is to capture at least 10 opponent's men or to block all opponent's men completely.
There are three stages in the game:
- Placing the men.
- Moving the men.
- Flying the men.
Placing the men:
- Each turn consist of placing a man on a vacant cell.
- The aim is to create a 'mill': a row three men on any line drawn on the board. If a player forms a mill, he may remove (capture) one of the opponent's men from the board. However, a man in a mill may not be removed unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
- A single placement may create more than one mill, but only one man may be removed.
Moving the men:
- After all the men have been placed, each turn consists of moving a cow to a vacant adjacent cell, provided there is one. If no captures were made in the placement stage, the board is full and the game ends in a draw.
- As before, completing a mill allows a player to remove one of the opponent's men. Again, this must be a man which is not in a mill, unless all of the opponent's men are in mills, in which case any man may be removed.
- A mill may be broken and reformed repeatedly by moving a man back and forth. Each time the mill is reformed, one of the opponent's men may be captured. However, if the same move breaks and forms a mill, the man may not be moved back on the player's next turn.
Of course, by breaking the mill the player exposes the men which were in a mill to the risk of being captured by the opponent on his or her next turn.
Flying the men:
- If a player has only three men remaining, desperate measures are called for. This player's men are allowed to 'fly' to any vacant cell, not just adjacent ones.
- Of course, if one player is down to three men and the other player still has more than three, only the player with three men is allowed to fly.
End of the game:
- A player wins if his opponent cannot move, or is down to two men.
- If both players are down to three men and neither player captures within ten moves, the game is a draw.
|Here's an example of a 'double mill' where white could capture every time the white man moves. This is allowed in Nine Men's Morris (though diagonals don't count there) but not in Morabaraba. Each time it moves, White should insert a different move before moving it back again. Of course this need not to prevent him from capturing all the same: after GD1 he may proceed with G41, closing the same mill with a different man.|