Fanorona: the school of life

The Fanorona (pronounced Fanourne) is an indigenous strategy game society from Madagascar (source: Wikipedia). It is said that it is typically Malagasy, attributed to the imagination of Prince Ambohimahasoa of Andriantompokoindrindra (1600).

However, Fanorona diagram showing similarities with the game of Alquerque tend to make it more probable for a game brought ​​in 1300 AD by Arab traders on the island and transformed by its inhabitants. The Fanorona diagram indeed resembles to a juxtaposition of the two diagrams Alquerque. The Alquerque originated from ancient Egypt (1000 BC), practiced in the Middle East. It arrived in Europe in the Iberian Peninsula and gave birth to the game of checkers.

Several diagrams carved into the rock were found in the Antananarivo region, including that of Alasora, one of the oldest (between 1500 and 1600) and Ambohimanga.

The fanorona is an introductory war strategy and according to ancestral beliefs, a means of divination or augury game: the winner of a match would be exercising the power or would succeed in its future business, the loser getting a forerunner of failure.

As in Alquerque, the winner is the one that captures all the opponent’s pieces or prevents it from moving.


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