From Community Memory
A board game
Equipment and area
Four rows of four holes are dug in level ground (making a total of 16 holes). A line divides these rows, with two rows of holes on each side of the line (making a total of 8 holes on each side).
The board can also be enlarged to fit six rows of four holes (making 24 holes) or 12 rows of four holes (48 holes) or even more. A line divides the rows with an equal number of rows on each side of the line, mirroring each other.
Two stones or morula pips are placed in each hole, ranging from 32 stones or pips for each player on a board with eight holes, to 384 stones on a board with 192 holes.
These stones or pips are also called ‘cows’ (tinkhomo).
Team composition and roles
The minimum number of players required to play the game is two, and up to six players can make up a side.
Assuming there are two players, i.e. Player A and Player B, the players will toss a coin to decide who will start the game. One player begins the game by removing any two stones from his or her holes and placing them one at a time in an anti-clockwise direction, in the next holes. When the second stone is put into the hole where there are still two stones, all the stones are taken out and placed in the next holes. Player A continues anti-clockwise until a ‘cow’ lands in an empty hole with the ‘cows’ (ofthe opponent) in the opposite holes. He or she then removes the ‘cows’ from the opposite holes (4 ‘cows’ or stones from the two holes).
Player A may now take any two stones from any two rows on his or her side and continue the process until the last ‘cow’ is put into an empty hole. There are now no ‘cows’ left to continue with, and there are no ‘cows’ in the opponent’s rows to remove or ‘hit’. This means that Player A will now have to ‘sleep’ (kulala) and Player B will take his or her turn.
Player B starts by taking any two stones on his or her side and dropping them one-byone into the holes in an anti-clockwise direction. Player B then continues in the same way as A, until there are no more ‘cows’ in the opponent’s rows to remove or ‘hit’.
If, during the game, a player only has one stone in the first row, then he or must shift the stone to an adjacent hole in an anti-clockwise direction and may not remove it.
The game continues until one player has lost all his or her ‘cows’.
Rules and scoring
- A player may not start with a single ‘cow’ if there are two ‘cows’ in another hole.
- A player is not allowed to remove two ‘cows’ if they are the only two left in the hole, however they may be removed by the opponent if his or her ‘cow’ lands directly opposite them.
- The player who takes all his or her opponent’s ‘cows’ is the winner.
- If both players still have singles (one ‘cow’) in some holes, then the winner is the player with the most ‘cows’ left.