How to Play Fanorona
Fanorona is a game from Madagascar that dates back to 1680. It is a beautiful game played with 44 pieces (22 per player) and has a unique method of capturing. The game has experienced a bit of a revival in modern times due to its inclusion in the Assassin’s Creed video game.
Step 1: Arrange the Pieces
Arrange the pieces on the board according to the following layout:
Step 2: Learn the Rules
- White starts first.
- Pieces move from one point to another along a line.
- Capture by moving a piece directly towards a line of enemies (approach).
- Capture by moving a piece away from a line of enemies (withdrawal).
- Remove captured pieces immediately
- Player may continue to capture pieces via approach or withdrawal as long as the enemies are on separate lines.
- Player must capture pieces if possible.
- Only one capture is allowed on a player’s first move.
Player wins by capturing all the opponents pieces.
Step 3: Switch
After the first game switch sides and play again.
Fanorona is a really interesting game with a rich history. Although a derivative of the Moorish game alquerque, the unique capturing methods makes it stand solidly on its own.