Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to Play Taabla

The above video is an instructional one by Ms. Anisha Kapdi from Ponda, Goa. (I came across this video on Youtube and posted it here. I hope this is not infringing on any copyrights. If it does, I will take it down immediately. Anyhow, I thank the persons behind this video for sharing their knowledge which is wonderful of them)

Ms. Anisha has shown a version of playing the Taabla which she calls as Taabulfale. It is a slightly different version from what I have come across in books.

At Kreedaa Kaushalya, we have introduced the game of Taabla in the craft of Silk Embroidery with pawns either as birds or elephants. The casting pieces (long sticks) are called as 'Kocchu' in Kannada and we have got them crafted at Channapatna.

Here's our game board of Taabla.

Taabla or Taabulfala is a forgotten race game which was played in the Uttara Kannada and Malnad region in Karnataka as also in Goa and south coastal regions of Maharashtra. It is called as Tablan in English.

Game board  - 1
Counters  - 12 + 12
Wooden sticks /cowries  - 4

How to play

* The board consists of 4 by 12 squares i.e., there are four rows of 12 squares in each row. Fig. 1.
* Board is kept between two players and each player has twelve counters. At the beginning both players' counters are kept one each on a square on the row closest to him. In Fig.1, white and black counters belong to Player1 and Player2 respectively and they are placed on the squares nearest to their owners.

* Tablan is played with four stick-dice (called as Taabla Kocchu) which are painted on one side and unpainted on the other side. These stick-dice are flicked in the air, caught back and again flicked twice or thrice before they are finally allowed to fall on to the ground.

* Four cowrie shells can be used in the absence of these sticks.

Score obtained on throw of Stick-Dice or Kocchu
1 plain surface : score is 2 and throw again
4 plain surface : score is 8 and throw again
4 painted surface : score is  12 and throw again
Other throws do not score and sticks are passed to the opponent.

Score obtained on throw of Cowries
1 mouth up : score is 2 and throw again
4 mouths  up : score is 8 and throw again
No mouths up : score is  12 and throw again
Other throws do not score and cowries are passed to the opponent.

* The first move of a counter can only be made on a score of 2, though this score can be split into two 1s if required, and two counters can be moved one square each, instead of one counter moving two squares. Similarly, score of 8 can be split into two 4s and 12 can be split into two 6s.

* The counters move in the directions as follows. For either player, the board is laid out as 1st or home row, 2nd row, 3rd row and 4th or opponent's row. In the home row and 3rd row, the player's counters move right, and in 2nd and 4th rows they move to left. So during a game, opponents' counters move in opposite direction.
* As per Fig.2, the player1's white counters move as follows...   a to l, m to x, M to X, A to L (see dotted arrow in Fig.3). Player2's black counters move in opposite direction (Fig.4).

* The counters can only capture opponent counters when they are on the two central rows, or when displacing them on the opponent's Home row.
* Captured counters are permanently removed from the board during that game.

* Once a counter lands on a square on the opponent's Home row it is locked into that square; it is immobilised and cannot move again during the game. Also, it cannot be captured by the opponent.

* Opponent's home row is locked, one square at a time.

* A counter can move twice during a turn to capture two counters. In Fig.5 the white counter has captured two black ones after it got a throw of 2 which was split into 1 and 1.
* In Fig.6, white counter has reached the last square in its middle rows. Now if it gets a throw of 2, it cannot capture both the black counters because as soon as it captures the first black counter, it is locked and cannot move further. So, either it can capture the first black counter or the second one.

* More than one counter cannot be on one square any where on the board.

* At any stage of the game a player must and should use a throw, unless he cannot move.

* The player locking up most squares on the opponent's Home row wins the game.

1 comment:

Brenna said...

I have recently taken an interest in this game, and one problem I have seen is as follows. Perhaps you can enlighten me. If I have, say, two black players situated in the white enemy row, they are permanently fixed, as I understand. However, if a white player is next to those two black pieces, it is immobilized because white would need a roll of two to initiate a moving phase for that piece, and white would not be able to capture the black piece.

Since the winning of the game is to occupy as many squares in an enemy's row, that white piece will never move. Am I making sense?

Thank you,

Brenna brennacorbit at gmail