At first it may look like a game of rock, paper, scissors that the players just got wrong. It’s a little more complicated than that. The game is called morra, and it has been played in Italy and Rome for thousands of years. It is mostly played by men for fun. Many Italian and even Spanish people still play the game. In northern Italy, people play while they sit, and in the south, they usually stand. Many believe that it was originally brought to Italy by the Turks in the 1500s. Another fun fact to know about morra is that it was illegal in Italy for 20 years because some people used it to gamble.
There are some different ways to play, but here is a simple version:
• All you need is two people, your hands and a referee.
• Like rock, paper, scissors, the two players throw out their hands at the same time.
• Each player can either have 1, 2 or 3 fingers up.
• The goal is to try and guess what number of fingers the other person will throw out.
• Both players should yell their guess when they show their hands (sometimes it can be fun and helpful to have other people around watching and listening to the numbers).
• If no one is right, then no points are awarded.
• If only one person is right, then their points equal the sum all of the fingers added together.
• If both people are right, then no one gets any points.
• The winner is the first player to get to 16 points, but the game can be longer or shorter.
• Sometimes having another person or some paper to write on to add up all of the points can make it easier to keep track.
• The game should be pretty fast, at about the same speed as rock, paper, scissors.
• More fingers can be added to make it more difficult (if the number gets up to 10, then one player is allowed to show only odd numbers, and one is only allowed to show even numbers).
• You can also just use one or two fingers to make it easier.
• Some players also let a closed fist represent zero.
For more information on morra, please visit the following sites: www.heilwood.com/people/fun-games/morra/, www.incamerano.net/morra.html, http://mindyourdecisions.com/blog/2011/11/15/the-game-of-morra-a-fun-alternative-to-rock-paper-scissors/#.UzHGZlySHwI. And here is a site to learn Italian numbers: http://italian.about.com/library/children/blnumber01.htm.