OBJECT OF ONITAMA: The object of Onitama is to win over your opponent by completing one of the win conditions.


MATERIALS: A rulebook, 2 masters of different colors, 8 pawns of 2 colors, game mat, 2 colored temples, 16 movement cards.

TYPE OF GAME: Strategy Board Game



Onitama is a strategy game for 2 players. The goal of the game is to complete one of the win conditions to score a victory against your opponent.

A player may either win by taking their opponent’s master out of the game or by taking over the other player’s temple.


The game mat should be set on the table between the players so that they each face one of the temple squares. Each player should choose a color and take their respective pieces. Players will place their master piece into the temple square. The other four pawns are placed on the two squares on either side of their master.

The movement cards should now be shuffled, and each player is dealt two. Each player’s cards are placed face-up in front of them. One more movement card is revealed and the color of the symbol in the bottom corner reveals which player will go first. The remaining movement cards will not be used in this game.


The game can now begin with the first player. A player’s turn is split into two parts. The first part is used to move and attack on the board. The second part is for exchanging cards with your opponent.

To move, which you must if you are able, you will choose one of your two movement cards to use. The card will show you how you may move one of your pieces. You may choose which piece you move, and it can be the master or any of the pawns. The black square on the card represents where your piece is now on the board, the gray show where you may move your piece. You may not move your piece off the board or into a square another of your pieces occupy, but you may move through pieces and temple arches.

Attacking is simple, if you land on a square occupied by an opponent’s piece you have captured it and can remove it from the game.

After you have used a movement card you will exchange cards. You take the card you just used and rotate it 180 degrees placing it to the left side of the board facing your opponent. You will then take the card facing you on the right side of the mat to add to your hand for the next round.

Even if you were not able to move this round and had to pass, you still must choose one of your cards to exchange.

After the exchange is complete your opponent’s turn starts.


There are two win conditions for Onitama. You may either capture your opponent’s master piece, or you can move your master piece into the opponent’s temple arch.


The game ends when a player successfully completes one of the win conditions. That player is the winner.  

Amber Crook
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