Contents: 1 brown felt game board; 81 wooden octagons (plus one extra piece); 2 camels; 2 zebras; 2 lions; and 1 rules booklet.
The Object of the Game: Summary - It's pretty simple: You win if you can make at least one move after your opponent can no longer make any moves. Both players take turns moving one of their three animals (Camel, Zebra, or Lion). After each move, turn over the octagon that the animal stood on before the move. Since you cannot move on or over octagons that have already been turned over, it is only a matter of time until one player is unable to move any of his animals - and the other player wins. (Let's hope it's you!).The winning player receives one point for every move that he/she is able to make after her/his opponent's animals are stuck.
To start: Put the brown felt on a flat surface and place the 81 octagons (9x9) on the felt, light side facing up. Next, turn over the 3rd and 7th octagon on each of the two diagonals. (See diagram on cover of this booklet.) Finally, each player picks a color and places their animals on the three center octagons nearest to each player, the Lion to the left, the Zebra in the center, and the Camel to the right. (Again, see diagram on cover.) The younger player gets to make the first move.
How the pieces move: The Lion can only move exactly one step, the Zebra exactly two, and the Camel exactly three. You CAN move: - around the corner; - over your own or your opponent's animals. But you CANNOT: - make diagonal steps; - land on or move over a dark octagon; - land on an octagon occupied by any animal; - step on the same octagon twice within a move (i.e., no back-and-forth).
Turning over octagons each time you move an animal: Turn over the octagon on which the animal stood before the move. (Note: only one octagon is turned over each move. Do not turn over any other octagons, such as the ones the animal passed over or landed on.) As the game progresses, fewer and fewer octagons are available to you and eventually your pieces will get locked in. With a few good moves you can lock in your opponent before your opponents locks you in!
Counting points: The game is over when one player cannot make a valid move. The other player then makes as many moves as possible, receiving one point for every move that she/he can make after his/her opponent can no longer make a move. (Note that games cannot end in a draw: the winner always gets at least one point for making the last move in the game.)
Starting over - Here's the kicker: don't move the animals after a game has ended. Turn the octagons back into their original position, but don't move the animals. The next games starts from this end position. The loser gets to make the first move. Play three games and add up the points or play until one player has a certain number of points, for example, 20 or 200. After your last game, write down the exact position of all animals and the current score. Next time you play with the same person, continue from where you left off at the end of the game with that person, i.e., start the game with your animals on the octagons on which your animals were left at the end of the last game played with that person. Between any two people there is only one continuing Obonto game. And with ever-changing start positions, no two games are ever the same.
Rules and game design © 2001 by McGuire Brothers, Inc.