Traditional Board Games


Fanorona, by Cyningstan
Fanorona, by Cyningstan
Price: £14.99+P&P. Out of stock. Order:

Bring to life a piece of the history of exotic Madagascar with their very own board game, fanorona. So intertwined with their fate was fanorona that, it is reported, their last queen Ranavalona III placed more confidence in the outcome of a ritual game than in her own armed forces. Madagascar was taken by the French at the end of the nineteenth century and remained a part of their empire for sixty years, but the game of fanorona lives on.

Two players use a board of 45 points as the battlefield for their 44 pieces, 22 each player. Pieces move one step along a line to the next point, but the interesting thing about this game is its method of capture. A whole line of enemy pieces is captured by approaching it and ramming it head-on, or by moving directly away from it, dragging it into oblivion. Captures can be chained in this way. The player who first captures all his enemy's pieces wins the game.

Our fanorona board measures six inches by ten (150mm by 250mm), and is made from pine, treated with Danish Oil and Cellulose before being polished with beeswax, giving a smooth surface which gives a pleasurable feel when sliding the pieces. The pieces are black and white stones of opaque glass. A black drawstring bag is provided to hold the pieces, and an A5 rules booklet gives the history and rules of the game.

This game is hand-made in a rustic style. Please do not expect machine-made precision; there may therefore be minor blemishes in the work. Not suitable for young children due to small pieces.


Good afternoon Damian

I was wondering if you will be bringing your Fanorona board back into stock any time soon, as I'm eager to buy a set.

PS - I've read and enjoyed each of your books: thank you for keeping games like hnefatafl in the public eye!  By the way, have you tried Conspirators (Conspirateurs on BGG? A personal favourite of mine, which never seems to get much love!)

Best regards


Steven Parsons - 12:27, 04/06/2016

Thanks for getting in touch, Steve!  Sadly I won't be bringing that particular fanorona set back in the near future.  The hand-sawing to get a suitable sized piece of wood is beyond my fragile shoulder's tolerance.  In the future I hope to source pre-cut wood of a suitable size, or perhaps ready-made sets I can buy in wholesale.  But there's nothing on the radar at the moment.

I have played The Conspirators, at least in a slightly-scaled down version hand-made by a friend of mine.  The game is in R. C. Bell's book "Discovering Old Board Games" by Shire Publications.  I'll add the game to this site at some point if I can find more about its history.

Damian Walker - 19:25, 06/06/2016

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