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thumbnail Yut-Nori: Korean Board Game

by Valerie Morris on April 2, 2020
Tags: kids (29), game (1)

During this period of “Safer at Home”, we have all been looking for things to do to keep ourselves and our kids busy. So I thought that I would share a traditional Korean board game called Yut-Nori. This game is easy to make and fun to play with the family using materials you have at home.

The history of Yut-Nori may date as far back as 57 BCE. Traditionally the game board is made of cloth and is designed to have twenty-nine stations that the players move around. Yut-Nori is typically played with teams of two players that use four yut sticks (instead of dice) to determine the number of spaces a player may move their game piece around the board. The yut sticks are carved wooden sticks that are flat on one side and rounded on the other. The sticks are gently tossed and then moves are decided by how many round sides have landed up or down. This will be explained in the directions later on. Originally, Yut-Nori was played during Korean New Year celebrations but has now become popular to play anytime and many rule variations exist for how to play the game.

Let’s get started!

Materials:

  • Large piece of white paper, preferably square
  • Markers/crayons/colored pencils
  • 4 popsicle sticks or 4 half-sheets of office paper (and tape)
  • Playing pieces: buttons, small stones, shells, coins, etc. One per person or per team.

 

Make your game:

  1. Using the markers, draw the lines and circles on the paper as shown in the photo. You can use any colors you want. Make sure to make a “home” base in one corner by decorating it in a special way. Feel free to decorate the game board as much as you want.
  2. Next, using markers of any color, draw straight lines on one side of each popsicle stick. This will represent the flat side of the stick.
  3. Then, with the markers, draw circles or polka dots on the other side of each popsicle stick. This will represent the curved side of the stick.
    • If you don’t have popsicle sticks: take a half sheet of office paper and fold up the short end about an inch, continue to fold up to meet the other end, tape the edge closed. Make four of these and mark the paper yut sticks as above for popsicle sticks.
  4. Gather one game piece per player or team. You can use buttons, pebbles, or any other small object that you can use to move around the game board.

How to play:

The object of the game is to be the first person or team to move around the game board and return to the “home” base. When playing teams, team members alternate turns tossing the yut sticks.

If you land on a corner, you can take the shortcut, which are the lines that cross in the middle of the board. If you land on the center circle, you can take another short cut.

There are four possible ways to navigate around the game board to return “home” to win as seen in this photo.

To move your game piece around the board, you gently toss the 4 sticks and let them land on the table. Here is how to move:

  • Move 1 space if one dotted stick lands face up: this move is called Do in Korean
  • Move 2 spaces if two dotted sticks land face up: called Gae in Korean 
       
  • Move 3 spaces if three dotted sticks land face up: called Geul in
    Korean
  • Move 4 spaces if four dotted sticks land face up: called Yut in Korean 
  • Move 5 spaces if four striped sticks land face up: called Mo in Korean

Take another turn if you get all dotted or striped sticks facing up!

One last rule is that if your game piece lands on a station with another player’s game piece already on it, the opposing player is sent back to “home” to start again!


Variation: each player has four game pieces and the first player to return all four pieces “home” wins.

For more detailed instructions on how to make and play the game, check out the video on the Whitefish Bay Public Library Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/whitefishbaypubliclibrary/videos/2980851975327852/