Three in a row games are great fun. Who doesn’t love a quick game of tic-tac-toe when you’re bored? But sometimes you need to switch it up and that’s where Tsoro Yematatu, a 3-in-a-row game from Zimbabwe comes in.
Watch the how to play Tsoro Yematatu video, or continue reading for written instructions!
Add Tsoro Yematatu to our growing collection of traditional 3-in-a-row abstract strategy games from around the world. Like Tapatan from Philippines, Picaria from the American Indians, and Nine Holes from England, Tsoro Yematatu is easy to learn but not always easy to win.
Players (i.e. your children) are required to put away their video games and since these games rely on thinking more than luck, they must fire up their brain power in order to play. What could be better?
How to Play Tsoro Yematatu
Be the first player to maneuver your tokens into a 3-in-a-row formation
What you need:
- Game board. Make your own or use our printable (use the form below)
- Three tokens per player. Grab them from games you already own, make some, or use different objects, such as pennies and dimes.
- 2 players raring to go
Tsoro Yematatu rules
- Make your game board.
Draw a large isosceles triangle. Next draw a horizontal line bisecting the two opposite sides. Draw a vertical line from the top point to the midpoint on the bottom line. There will be seven points of play where the lines intersect. (See images)
Alternatively, use our printable game board.
- Determine who goes first.
Battle it out however you want. Just make sure no one gets hurt.
- The Drop Phase.
Alternating turns, players “drop” a token on an empty point in an attempt to make three in a row, similar to tic tac toe. If you let your opponent create three in a row during the drop phase, you need to seriously up your game.
- The Move Phase.
After all tokens have been dropped the move phase begins. Player one moves one of his tokens to an empty adjacent point according to the following guidelines:
1. A move must be along a straight line. No turning the corner.
2. You may jump one of your opponent’s tokens to land in an empty point, as long as you still land in a straight line. (see image – yellow jumps green from bottom to top point)
3. You do not capture your opponent’s token on a jump.
The first player who manages to make three-in-a-row wins. If both players agree the game doesn’t seem to end, call it a night, or start over.
Tips for Playing
Like other 3-in-a-row and abstract strategy games, two skilled players who can stay focused on their opponent can make for a very long game. I’m a harried mom and get distracted. Therefore I often lose when my kids outwit me. It’s embarrassing but true.
Interesting tidbit: you may have noticed that other 3-in-a-row games like Tapatan also have a “drop” and a “move” phase. Your kids might comment that tic-tac-toe (or noughts and crosses for you European folks), while also a classic strategy game, never has a “move” phase!
After you play Tsoro Yematatu, you will want to play these games: