Monday 26 December 2016

Morabaraba rules!

The only accredited board for competition play

The following rules are to be used in all championships:


  1. The rules for the version, as depicted in the above image, are known as the Generally Accepted Rules (GAR).
  2. For competition play, the board may be made of any material as long as the board has the approved notation which is owned by the International Wargames Federation.
  3. Board sizes are:
  • For Provincial, National, and International Championships – 490mm x 490mm (Cows being 45mm in diameter and 5mm in depth), and
  • All other competitions – 300mm x 300mm (Cows being 30mm in diameter and 10mm in depth).
  1. All cows shall have MSSA's logo on the cow.
  2. There are 24 junctions on the board.
  3. Each player is issued with a set of 12 cows. One set being of a dark colour, and one set being of a light colour.
  4. The colour white may not be used for cows as the colour may confuse players as to whether a cow has been placed.
  5. Only players who have won MSSA's national championships, or who have received Protea Colours for the game of Morabaraba, may use cows which are green in colour. Such cows are awarded by MSSA in numbered sets. Such players have the right to use such cows instead of any such cows as supplied by any Tournament organiser in any event falling under the jurisdiction of MSSA.
  6. The outside ring is known as the “Exterior Ring” and the junctions are numbered clockwise from from the top left hand corner E1 to E8.
  7. The middle ring is known as the “Principle Ring” and the junctions are numbered clockwise from from the top left hand corner A1 to A8.
  8. The inner ring is known as the “Restricted Ring” and the junctions are numbered clockwise from from the top left hand corner R1 to R8.
  9. The notation was developed by Dr. Evgenii Rabiner.
  10. Notation shall be scored as follows:
  • When placing cows – just write the junction's address, that is “A1”, or “E5”, etc.
  • When moving cows – write down the initial junction's address with a hyphen and then the final function's address, for example: “A1 – A8”
  • When moving a cow to form a line and 'shooting' one of your opponent's cows, write down the initial junction's address with a hyphen an then the final function's address a multiplication sign and the address of the cow that has just been 'shot', for example: “A1 – A8 x E1”
  • Notation of a typical game may appear as follows:

  1. The notation for the board is owned by the International Wargames Federation, and boards are readily available from Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA).

How to play:

Play consists of three stages:
Stage 1:
  • Each player starts with 12 tokens called "cows".
  • The player who has been allocated the dark colour begins.
  • Starting with a clear board, each player alternatively places one cow at a time on a junction (circle). The aim is to create rows of three, either vertically, diagonally, or horizontally. Cows may only be placed on unoccupied junctions.
  • When three-in-a-row is achieved, the player may remove (shoot) one of the opponent's cows. A player can not shoot an opponent's "three-in-a-row" cows if there are other cows on the board left to shoot.
  • Only one of the opponent's cows may be shot at a time, even if two (or more) lines of three-in-a-row are achieved with one move.
  • Once a cow is shot, it shall not be used in play again. 
Stage 2
  • When all twelve cows of each player have been placed on the board as per Stage 1, cows may be moved from one junction to another. A move consists of moving a cow from one junction to an unoccupied junction immediately linked and adjacent to that junction.
  • Players may break their own lines of three-in-a-row in order to make new lines, or simply reposition their cows.
  • Cows may be moved back and forth to the same two junctions repeatedly. A three-in-a-row may be made, broken and remade repeatedly.
  • Notwithstanding the rule that lines may be broken and remade repeatedly, if a player breaks a line to immediately create a new line of three ‘cows’, such player may not move such cow back to the original junction in his/her next move, if it creates a new line.
For example:

Should a player have a ‘cow’ on the junction marked E6, such player may move it to the junction marked as A6 to immediately create a new line. However, in such player’s next move, he/she may not move the cow back to A6, instead, such player must do a different move before moving the cow back to E6 to immediately create a new line.
  • Each time a three-in-a-row is remade, an opponent's cow shall be shot.
 Stage 3
  • When a player has lost all but three cows, then a player may move a cow to any vacant junction on the board with each move.
Winning the game
  • The game is won when the opponent cannot move any cows: or when the opponent has lost all but two cows.
  • When a player is down to three cows, and neither player is able to shoot an opponent's cow within ten moves, the game is a draw.
  • For National Championships and National Team Trials, failure to hand in a correct Notation Sheet is an automatic loss.
Competition rules
  • Boards and counters shall be provided for the competitors.
  • A modified Swiss Chess system will operate throughout the competition. Players shall not play against any relatives in the first degree of consanguinity. Thus a player would not be allowed to play against his/her spouse, parent, brother, sister, and/or child. Additionally where possible a player will not be drawn against any fellow club or team member in the first two rounds of the competition.
  • The current IWF scoring system shall be used, that is 1 point for a victory, ½ a point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss per game.

  • Each player shall play six games against each opponent. Each player shall start three of such games.

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