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Romavóa (Romavoa, Quinze, Romayá, Quince, Domabóa, Deétali, Domaláka)DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Central America

Category Board, Race, Escape


Romavoa is a race game that seems to have been attested among the Tarahumara people of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico since the eighteenth century.


Played on a board with 36 holes arranged in a square, with a gap in the center of each side. There are two semi circles of five holes on the outside of two opposite corners of the board. Two pieces per player. Four stick dice are used, each with one marked side. Each die is marked differently for a different value: 4, 6, 14, 15. The throws are as follows: All marked sides up = 5; three marked sides up = 3; two marked sides up = 2, one marked side up = the value of the marked side; zero marked sides up = 10. Throws of 14 may instead be played as a throw of 1, whenever the player chooses. Players’ pieces enter on the branching arcs. Players move in opposite directions around the board, and then back down the arc in which they started, moving their pieces off the board. If a player lands on the same spot as the opponent, the opponent’s piece is removed from the board and must re-enter. A player's piece is allowed to occupy the same space as that player's other piece. On the last side of the rectangle before completing a circuit of the board, only throws of 1, 2, or 3 are used. Players must make an exact throw to get a piece off the board. The first player to remove their pieces from the board wins.

Bennett and Zingg 1935: 343-344.



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Murray 1951: 155; Depaulis 2018: 34-35.

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Bennett, W. and R. Zingg. 1935. The Tarahumara: An Indian Tribe of Northern Mexico. GLorieta, NM: The Rio Grande Press.

Depaulis, T. 2018. "Ancient American Board Games I: From Teotihuacan to the Great Plains." Board Game Studies 12: 29-55.

Lumholtz, C. 1902. Unknown Mexico; A Record of Five years' Exploration among the Tribes of the Western Sierra Madre; in the Tierra Caliente of Tepic and Jalisco; and among the Tarascos of Michoacan. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Steffel, M. 1791. Tarahumarisches Wörterbuch.

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