Mancala World
Dorn Bones
Inventor: Jon Ivar
Toennesen, 2011
Ranks: Variable
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Norway

Dorn Bones, an experimental two-dimensional sowing game, was invented by Jon Ivar Toennesen ("Joni") in 2011. He is an independent game designer best known for creating a team variant to The Settlers of Catan. Toennesen lives in Åland, Norway.

"The dead gather their bones to take a walk and be the one to collect the most treasures."

Jon Ivar Toennesen about Dorn Bones (2011)


Dorn Bones is played by two people on a modular board with narrow passages and fragile bridges connecting open spaces. The cells are squares.

Skeleton parts and treasures are scattered around the board usually represented by round discs of a specific color that can be stacked to form a "Dorn tower": black (feet), grey (torso), white (arms), treasures (other color). Each player has a special game piece called the "head".

Players also need cards to determine board locations and two six-sided dice.

A head can roll one space a turn to an orthogonally adjacent square. If it finds a torso (forming a stack) it can move two spaces a turn. After that it needs to find a foot and then another foot. Feet are placed at the bottom of the stack. After the head had got one or two feet the number of squares it moves is determined by rolling a dice. If it has still one foot, only one dice is rolled, but after it got two feet, two dice are rolled. Finally the skeleton tries to find arms, which are stacked above the torso. Arms can carry other skeleton parts or treasures. The carried item is stacked below the arm-disc.

A Dorn tower attacks an opponent's tower by moving to his place. The attacked tower falls apart moving backwards the number of spaces remaining of the attackers move. It leaves one skeleton part on each cell it crosses.

Another player may also be attacked by throwing an item at his Dorn tower, which costs 1 move (1 eye of a die). After the move has been completed one dice is rolled. If the face value is equal to or greater than the distance between the attacking Dorn tower and the attacked tower, it is a hit. A Dorn tower, which was hit by a throw, fully disintegrates (i.e. each skeleton is placed on its own cell).

The attacker tries to scatter or run away with their parts or treasures before that player builds up again.

If a head falls off the edge or into a hole, it must start anew at another position of the board, which is determined by drawing a card.

The first player who has carried four treasures of the same color back to his coffin wins.

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© Ralf Gering
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.