Dara – An Outdoor African Maths Game

15 July 2012 · 0 comments

in Maths Outdoors

This game from Nigeria requires two players or teams

It is played with stones or sticks in the ground. It’s great for sessions where children finish at different times and need something to do, or as an impromptu family game when on holiday.

Make the game board

Using chalk, make a 5×6 square triangle as a game board. If you are on a beach or other suitable surface this can be drawn on the ground with a stick.

Find some counters

You can play alone against an opponent or as opposing teams. Each side needs 12 counters. In the photos the class used wood cookies and noggins. Stones, shells or other gathered counters can be used. So find and gather your counters from materials lying around outside. Make sure each side has recognizably different counters.

This is an example of an “illegal” game board as there are more than three counters in a row on both sides. It may take a while to get the hang of the game

How to play

1. If you are playing just one other person, take turns to place a counter anywhere on the game board until all counters have been put there. Whilst this is happening neither player can remove each other’s counters. Neither side can have more than three counters in a row at any one time. This is illegal!

2. Take turns to move a counter into an adjacent empty square. The counters cannot be moved diagonally but can be moved up, down or sideways. The aim is to make three counters sit in a row (but not a diagonal one).

3. When a player manages to make three counters in a row, they can remove one of their opponent’s counters. A player can only remove one counter from their opponent in any one go, even if more than one row of three counters is created in a move.

4. The game is over when a player is unable to make three in a row with his or her counters. Their opponent wins when this happens.

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