Quality Time

Today both parents typically work away from home and are hard pressed to find ways to spend quality time with their children. Too often families can’t manage to eat meals together and teenagers are distracted by social media. One of the primary goals for creating Zanoba was to provide a fun way for parents and their children from age six to adulthood to bond by spending focused time together. When parents and their children spend 30 to 45 minutes of quality time together several times a week; it offers teachable moments1 and it can help children gain confidence and build self-esteem.

Every child is different but children as young as six years old can master and play Zanoba with some help from an adult and by doing so improve their cognitive and social development2.  It’s one of the few games where children can master the game and go head-to-head with adults, including parents and grandparents. And be assured it’s not a boy thing; girls are perfectly capable of competing with boys.

Zanoba also offers an alternative to video games which, for some players, can be as addictive as a powerful drug. It can become hard for players to break the habit of spending so much time in gaming that homework, jobs and relationships can suffer.    

Zanoba offers the same intensity and challenge as chess but takes less time to play and engages players on a higher level. Games in Chess tournaments can easily last from three to six hours. Zanoba games typically last 30 to 45 minutes. Busy parents and students loaded down with homework can usually squeeze in a game after dinner on a week night or on weekends because it only takes 30 to 45 minutes to play. Conversing with adults about their games on the same level instills sophistication and maturity in kids.

Students who are in Middle School and High School may be able to play matches after school if a parent who works can pick them up. And safe places like a public library, church or other public place can be good places to meet other players on weekends while parents are running errands. Players are assigned to age categories (under 14, 14 – 17, 18 – 24, 25 – 39, 40 – 64, and 65 and over) to help find other players who are similar in age. A unique feature of Zanoba is that you and your child can log onto this website and immediately see where they rank compared with other players in their age bracket and in their school, city, county or state.

Class Competition

Zanoba Class Competition takes competition to a higher level and encourages a competitive spirit by giving players, no matter their age, a way to compete for school, city, county, state and regional championships. Playing in individual matches or tournaments can foster deep friendship among players. It was designed with the utmost safety of young players and the privacy of all players in mind. That’s why class competition for players under age 18 requires the consent, support and involvement of a responsible adult, a “supporter” who can be a parent, other relative, older sibling or guardian. Players will often play matches away from home with other players they don’t know so they may need transportation to the match and an adult to encourage them and insure their safety.

In order to play in official matches in the Class Competition, beginning players must register by completing a Player Profile so we can display their rank in comparison with other players on this website.



What personal information do we ask for?

Really none! If a player is 18 or older, the Player Profile asks for: the player’s nickname, sex, city, county and state where they live, their email address and their age category. A nickname is used on this website instead of the player’s real name. The age category is used to find other players who are similar in age; actual age and birthdates are not requested.

For players who are younger than 18, the player profile will also ask for their supporter’s name, relationship and email address. The supporter’s name and email address are used to notify them of events and awards won. We will never make the real name or email address of players or supporters available to third parties under any circumstances.

If you are your child’s supporter, we ask you to help your child choose a nickname we can use instead of their real name when we list their ranking on this website. We do not reveal your name either ─ only the city, county and state where you live and your age category. To prevent anyone hacking into this website, we ask that you help your child choose a strong password that you and they will use to log into this website.

We encourage supporters to set up a unique email address just for Zanoba so your regular email address is not at risk. If your child is old enough to have his or her own email account, we suggest a unique email address for them. Most browsers such as Google Chrome allow you to set up additional email addresses for free. You can see examples of avatars which are basically small head shots in the Top Players listing on the home page. You are invited to read our Privacy Statement for more about how we protect your privacy.

Terms of Service

By registering to participate in the Zanoba Class Competition by creating a Player Profile, players who are 18 or older agree to our Terms of Service which explain what is expected of players. When your child signs up for a player profile with your help, you agree that they will abide by our Terms of Service. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, you may Contact Us by e-mail.

Class competition is provided to you for free, but we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone in class Competition for what we deem to be justifiable cause. We may terminate or suspend your right to access or use of this website or to compete in class competition for any violation of our Terms of Service .





How Does Zanoba ® Compare with Other Board Games?

Zanoba is a newly discovered game that is unique but not difficult to learn. The only other game it might be compared to is the venerable game of Chess. Both games give the brain a rigorous workout and, being face-to-face in mental combat, mistakes can be costly. Like Chess, Zanoba is a miniature war that requires concentration, patience and strategic as well as tactical thinking to win. At each player’s turn during a game, they have to consider possible moves, threats, and counter-threats. The process of always being on the lookout for opportunities and pitfalls extends to scrupulous attention to detail in real life. 

Chess reinforces discipline on and off the board. Research has shown that chess can improve children's thinking and problem-solving skills as well as their math and reading test scores. A study was conducted of junior-high students who were enrolled in an activity – either working with computers, playing chess, taking a creative writing workshop, or playing Dungeons and Dragons – that was designed to develop critical and creative thinking skills.

By the time the students had spent about 60 hours on their chosen activities, the chess players were well ahead of the others in several psychological tests, scoring almost 13 percentage points higher in critical thinking and 35 percentage points higher in creative thinking.3

Because of its similarities to Chess in engaging the brain, we may reasonably assume that Zanoba delivers similar benefits.



 By “teachable moments” we mean events or experiences that present opportunities for learning something helpful about a particular aspect of life.

 2 By “cognitive development” we mean the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence into adulthood.

 3 Doctoral dissertation of Robert Ferguson, executive director of the American Chess School in Bradford, PA. A study of junior-high students who were enrolled in an activity – either working with computers, playing chess, taking a creative writing workshop, or playing Dungeons and Dragons -- that was designed to develop critical and creative thinking skills.





Not for Wimps!


One player takes the 8 silver pieces and the other takes the 8 wood pieces.


The Mahta

Each player has 4 Mahtas that move 1 or 2 spaces along RED or BLUE lines. Three of the Mahtas are worth 1 point each; one of the Mahtas is a "Tri-Mahta" that is worth 3 points.


The Klay

Each player has 2 Klays that move 1 or 2 spaces along YELLOW lines only. The Klay is not worth any points itself but it can score either 1 point or 3 points by capturing your opponent's Mahtas. The Klay can also capture your opponent's Hufins but no points are scored by doing that. 


The Sto

Each player has 2 Stoes that move 1, 2 or 3 spaces along RED lines only. The Sto is not worth any points itself, but it can score either 1 or 3 points by capturing your opponent's Mahtas. The Sto can also capture your opponent's Klays and that is very helpful but no points are scored by doing so.

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