A Little Game for Hot or Wet Weather

While Covid restrictions are easing in lots of places, many people are still staying inside because of the weather — either too hot or too wet to spend time outdoors. It seems appropriate to post a little two-player game this week.

Tsoro Yematatu is a tic-tac-toe/noughts and crosses variant from Zimbabwe. Here are the rules given in the Wikipedia entry:

Game Play and Rules

1. The board is empty in the beginning. Players decide what color pieces to play, and who starts first.

2. Each player drops one piece per turn on any vacant point on the board. Players alternate their turns. Pieces cannot be moved until all six pieces have been dropped. Observe that after all pieces have been dropped, there is only one vacant point on the board.

3. A piece can be moved one of two ways: a) A piece can move one space per turn onto a vacant point following the pattern on the board, or b) a piece can jump over another piece (friend or foe) adjacent to it, and land on a vacant point on the other side; the jump must be in a straight line and follow the pattern on the board. There are no captures in this game.

4. The game can last a very long time, and if no one is still able to create the 3 in-a-row, the players can agree to a draw.

I looked at multiple sites that give the rules for the game but was unable to find an answer to my question “Must a player move on every turn, or can they pass?” The possibility of ending up in a permanent loop would seem to indicate that players must move, so I would go with that as a rule.

If you want to use my board and playing pieces —I made them in four colours so you can choose your two favourites— download and print out Tsoro Yematatu game board and pieces.  (You can find detailed instructions on making card stock playing pieces at the bottom of this post.) If you don’t wish to print the game or don’t have access to a printer, you can draw the board on a piece of paper and play with buttons or coins. If you are lucky enough to have escaped to the beach, you can scratch a board in the sand and play with stones or shells, which is likely how it was played originally.

There is a post showing various moves both in photographs and in a video here.


Another week, and seven more squares. I can only display three weeks at a time in my map case, so I am moving the bottom row at the end of each week and adding it to a stack on the right. I will have three stacks of thirty-three squares when I am done.

Here are the squares for the past seven days of my #99DayProject.

In other book arts news:

Kathryn Walton’s article What did medieval children read? takes a short look at the books available to some children in the Middle Ages.


The John Neal Books list of online calligraphy classes has been updated again.

And now for something completely different:

I have mentioned the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies previously. For those who don’t already know about them, here’s a bit from their website.

We are a purveyor of quality goods for monsters of every kind, but due to a very inconvenient curse, all the profits from the sale of monster supplies support free creative writing and mentoring programmes for young people at the Ministry of Stories. The young humans who attend our writing programmes go through the shop’s secret door and enter into the workshops of the Ministry of Stories. For these young humans, the shop acts as a bridge between the real world and the world of their imagination where anything can happen.

The big news this week is that if you live outside the UK you can now order from the shop online. You will find the TROUVA portal and all the lovely goodies like tins of Escalating Panic or bottles of Salt Made From Tears of Boredom here.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in art, book arts, DIY, free printable, paper toy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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