Liubo

Traditional

Players
2
Age
7+
Time
30+
# China
# Ancient
# Battle
# Race
# Lost
# Capture
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How to set-up

1. Liubo requires a board consisting of 4 corners, 4 “L” and 4 “T” shapes and 4 circles. The central area of the board is the river.

2. Liubo requires 6 casting sticks. 6 dice can be used; odd numbers are 3 points, and even numbers 2 points. After rolling, players separate the dice into 2 groups and add up points, then subtract 5 to obtain the number of moves. Each set must be used on a d

3. Each player selects 6 BEADs the colour of their choice. All BEADs start off the board.

4. Players decide who begins the game by rolling a die.

How to play

1. In turns, players move their BEADs counter-clockwise. BEADs start on the cross arm of an “L”, move to the 2 sides of a corner, land on a circle, the arm of an “L” and then onto the cross arm of an “L”.

2. Once around the board, the BEAD moves onto the cross of the “T”, then the intersection of the “T” and the river, moving around the river.

3. The cross arms of the “L” are points 1,6, 11, and 16. If a player lands on space 6 or 11, the BEAD can move across the board to the opposite point.

4. A BEAD can land in the river and become an Owl. Players can only have 1 Owl.

5. If a player rolls a 1-1 or a 4-4, completes a full loop or creates an Owl, they can roll again.

6. A player can have more than 1 BEAD on the same space.

7. If a player lands on a space occupied by an opponent’s BEAD, the BEAD is removed and can only restart when another BEAD passes the point 1.

8. The Owl can be moved by both sets of dice and move clockwise and counter-clockwise.

9. If an Owl captures another Owl, the BEAD is demoted and must re-enter the game.

10. If an Owl captures another BEAD, it is removed from the game and cannot restart.

How to win

1. To win the game, a player needs to capture all their opponent’s BEADs.

2. A player can win if they have 5 or more BEADs on the board but no Owl and their opponent has made a move with their Owl.

3. A player can also win if they do not have an Owl but capture their opponent’s Owl.

History

1. Liubo was once one of the most popular games in China, played by men and women alike. It is not known how it was actually played because we have yet to find any confirmed sources that detail its exact gameplay.

2. We do know that the game was played as early as the Zhou dynasty (1045 to 256 BCE), as evidenced by archaeological finds.Although Chinese legends claim that Liubo was invented by Wu Cao, a minister to the last king of the Xia dynasty, who lived around 1728 to 1675 BCE

3. Liubo died out by around 420 CE. It was rapidly replaced in China with the game of Go, though some sources hint that Liubo may have continued on elsewhere. For example, in The Old Book of Tang, Tibetans are said to have continued playing the game long after it ceased to be popular in China.