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Subject: Wahoo: Oklahoman Rules & Beginning Strategy rss

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Shane B
United States
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Wahoo has as many variants as people playing the game. The following rules for Wahoo, used religiously by my family, offer much more strategy than can be found in the commercially available versions of the game (Aggravation, Sorry, Trouble, Parcheesi, etc).

We make our own boards, so the Board Description (below) refers to the paint style we use.

Wahoo can be played as a single game, or Tournament style. In Tournament style, the team who wins two out of three games is the winner.


Players team up to be the first to move their marbles around the track from their bases to their homes.


1. Determine teams: 2 teams of 2 for the four-player side, and 3 teams of 2 for the six-player side. Partners sit across from each other. Note: For six-player games, 2 teams of 3 is not recommended.

2. Each player selects one die to use.

3. Each player rolls his or her die to determine who plays first. Highest roll wins the bid, and play revolves clockwise starting with that player. For consecutive games, the losing team goes first, with the two players of that team either rolling for high or verbally agreeing who will roll first.

4. Players place all four of their marbles in their Base.


Track: The holes forming a Cross (4-player) or Star (6-player) pattern, around which the players move.
Base: The painted holes outside the track (off-track).
Start Position: The painted hole to the right of your Base.
Home: The painted holes to the right of your Start Position, inside the track.
Shortcut: The bronze-painted hole in the center of the board.
Corners: The bronze-painted holes surrounding the Shortcut. The unpainted corners have no special function.


1. A turn consists of a player rolling one die, and, if possible, moving one of their marbles.

2. A player may not move his or her partner’s marbles unless they are Playing Together (see below).

3. A player may move one marble into his or her Start Position if: a) that player’s Start Position is not occupied by one of his or her own marbles, and b) that player rolls a 1 or 6. If a partner's marble occupies your Start Position, you cannot move a marble out if you have other marbles in play. If you have no other marbles in play, you must knock off your partner.

4. Marbles move clockwise around the board. Counter-clockwise moves are not allowed.

5. Marbles move the number of spaces indicated by the player’s die roll. You must use all of the die roll (for example, you cannot move only 3 spaces when you’ve rolled a 5).

6. A single roll cannot be distributed among your marbles. One roll=one marble moved.

7. If a player rolls a 1 or 6, that player may take another turn after the present turn is complete. That player may continue taking turns as long as a 1 or 6 is rolled.

8. If a marble lands in a space occupied by another marble, that marble is knocked off (sent back to base, from where it must start again). It is not legal to knock off one of your partner’s marbles, unless that is the only move you can make--in which case you must take the move. Players are never allowed to knock off their own marbles.

9. If a player cannot move, that player’s turn is over (unless the die shows a 1 or 6, in which case he or she may roll again).

10. You may pass, or jump over, any other marbles, including your own.

11. Once a marble reaches the space directly outside its Home, that marble may not move forward along the Track any more.

12. If you move a marble to a new space and then take your hand off that marble, that marble is considered played. You may not take the move back, even if you see a better move. Note that this rule only applies to a marble that occupies a new space at the time your hand is removed.

13. If the die lands on the board, or on any object or surface other than the table, that roll does not count and the player must roll again. If the die rolls across the board (or other object), and lands on the table, the roll is good and must be played.

14. If you roll out of turn, the roll does not count, and must be re-rolled when your turn begins.

15. Players may not touch an opponent’s die unless given permission.

16. If you need to leave the table for a short time, your partner may roll for you if all players agree.

17. Table Talk between partners is not allowed.


Table Talk is any verbal or non-verbal suggestion or hint as to how a partner should play their marble(s). There are four exceptions to this rule:

1. If a player thinks that he or she cannot move when in fact there is a legal move possible, players must point out the legal move and the player must take it.
2. If a player miscounts or for any reason does not move the full amount indicated by their die roll, the other players must alert them. If this results in an illegal move, see the rules above.
3. See below, under Playing Together.
4. Table Talk is allowed after a game, and between games.

It is acceptable to suggest moves (no matter how illegal or ridiculous) to your opponents. In fact, any form of heckling is encouraged, noting that they may do the same to you. However, it is not always wise to make even ridiculous suggestions to your opponents because doing so might call attention to a marble they had forgotten about.

PENALTY: The penalty for team Table Talk is unwritten, and left for the players to decide before play. This penalty may be a standing house rule, or it may change with each game or Tournament. Whatever the penalty, it should be severe enough to deter Table Talk. Penalty suggestions include:
a) the accused player must remove one of their marbles from the track and return it to their base. If that player cannot remove one of their marbles, he or she must remove one of their partner’s marbles.
b) The player who rolled loses his or her turn and therefore cannot make the offending suggested move.


If a marble is in any one of the bronze corners, and that player rolls a 1, that player may move the marble from the corner to the shortcut. If another 1 is rolled (either in that turn, or any subsequent turn, provided another player has not knocked off the marble), that player may move from the shortcut to any bronze corner. Generally, it is preferable to move from the shortcut to the corner closest to your Home. However, there are times when moving to another corner is the preferred move (even moving back to the corner nearest your Start Position, which in this case does not count as a counter-clockwise move).


When a player has moved all of his or her marbles Home, that player is safe. For the duration of the game, that player’s rolls move his or her partner’s marbles (this being the third exception to the No Table Talk rule, the logic being that you are now only rolling for one set of marbles, and thus “of a mind”). If a player moves his or her last marble Home with a 1 or 6, that player, as per the rules above, may take another turn, moving his or her partner’s marbles.


1. To move into Home, the move must be exactly as the die indicates (as per the rules above).
2. Once a marble is Home, a player may move it along the Home track (if space permits, and, again, never backwards) instead of moving a marble on the Track.
3. You may not move your marbles into your partner’s or an opponent’s Home.


A Team wins when they have moved all of their marbles to their respective Homes.


1. Be aware of rule 2 under Home (above). Save any possible moves within the Home track until the end of the game (when you are moving your last marble toward Home). By doing this, you will always have extra move options for use with lower die rolls. It may save you from knocking off your partner, or from moving one of your marbles into a weak or dangerous position.

2. Get all of your marbles out to the Track as soon as possible.

3. Leave one marble on your Start Position whenever possible. This discourages your opponents from moving around your Start Position.

4. Avoid landing on an opponent’s Start Position.

5. If your partner has only one marble left, try not to get ahead of that marble. Your partner stands a great chance of knocking you off because he or she, having only one marble, no longer has options.

6. Sometimes, sending an opponent’s marble back to Base is not the best move for you (and/or for your partner).

7. Keep your partner’s situation in mind at all times. How will your move affect your partner?

8. Try to protect your partner’s marble(s) when they are in the Home stretch by moving your own marble(s) behind approaching opponents.

9. While Wahoo subjects you to the vagaries of a die roll, you can do a lot to increase your chances of rolling what you need. It is a numbers game, but many beginning players mistakenly limit their needs. The first step toward getting what you need is to expand your needs. Try not to move marbles so that two or more of your marbles require the same die roll. When you get the roll, you will be stuck as to which marble you should move. Try instead to position your marbles so that you can use a number of die rolls. If you only need a 6, your chances are 1 in 6. If you need a 2, 3, or 5, however, your chances are 3 in 6.

10. If you have to move in front of an opponent, try to position yourself in a way that provokes a tough decision. For instance, if they have a marble in a corner, waiting to use the Shortcut, move your marble one space in front of them. If they roll the 1, they will be forced to make a choice—knock you off, or move to the Shortcut. Neither choice is particularly appealing in this context.

11. If you must move ahead of your opponent, and forcing a decision is not possible, try to move your marble(s) out of range of a single die roll.

12. Try not to move your marbles in a cluster around the Track. Doing so only slows you down.

13. The game isn’t over until it’s over. Even when your situation seems hopeless, you can still come back. As your opponents take the lead, they also retain fewer and fewer marbles, limiting their movement options and weakening their protective abilities. Many a game has turned at the last second, delivering a win to the underdogs.

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