Traditional Board Games

Ming Mang

Ming Mang is a Tibetan game of strategy. Players start with their pieces arrayed around the edge of the board. Pieces move around like rooks in chess, sandwiching enemies in the same way as reversi. The winner is the first player to turn all the enemy pieces into his own colour.

It is played on a board looking a bit like a go board, and pieces are placed on the lines in the same way. Traditionally, it was played on a board of 17x17 points, but the size is variable. Ming mang boards are uncommon outside Tibet, so the game is sometimes played with the pieces and board for the more widespread game of go. It can also be played on a standard draughts board with 28 pieces each side.

History of Ming Mang

Ming Mang was popular with monks before the Chinese invasion of 1959. The game was taken with the monks to their various places of refuge, becoming more well known in other countries. It resembles reversi, in that pieces when captured change colours and are taken over by the side who captured them. It differs from reversi, though, in that pieces are moved around the board.

The game’s capture rule is very similar to the more well known game of reversi, or Othello. Rows of pieces are captured by sandwiching them, and when captured, pieces change ownership and colour. It is therefore possible that ming mang was an inspiration for reversi.

Rules for Ming Mang

Rules for Ming Mang
The game is played by two players on a square board marked with a grid of lines. For the purpose of this leaflet the traditional board of 17 by 17 points will be used. Each player will need 64 pieces, 32 of which start on the board and 32 are kept in store.

1. At the start of the game, each player has half his pieces filling two adjacent edges of the board, as shown in the diagram.

2. Black takes the first move.

3. Each turn a player moves a single piece along a marked line as far as he pleases.

4. A piece may not jump over another.

5. A piece must come to rest on an empty point.

6. A player may capture a row of enemy pieces by placing two of his own at each end of it, one at each end of the row.

7. Such rows of pieces must be horizontal or vertical. It is not possible to capture diagonal rows.

8. When captured, enemy pieces are replaced by pieces of the capturing player's own colour. There are always, therefore, 64 pieces on the board.

9. The game is over when one player cannot move. This can be for one of the following reasons:

(i). the player has no pieces left, or

(ii). the player has pieces but they are trapped and unable to move.

10. The player who cannot move loses the game and his opponent is declared the winner.


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