Kōnane is an ancient Hawaiian game that was played by both the ali`i or royalty and the commoners. It was said that King Kamehameha I was an excellent player, sometimes beating his opponent in only one move. Early visitors wrote of the popularity of this game and noted that Kamehameha would sit long hours over the game. His skill was so great that his chiefs and queens were no match for him.
The game was played on large, flat stones called papamu. There are small, carved impressions called puka in the papamu where black and white pebbles are placed. There are many different sizes and shapes of papamu around the island and the number of puka can reach well over 100.
How to play Kōnane
Sit across from each other. One player puts a pebble in each hand, one dark and on light, and then puts both hands behind their back. Present hands closed to your opponent, who selects a hand, thereby selecting the color or the pebble they will be playing with. Place the two pieces on the papamu. The player with the dark pebbles goes first.
“Black” removes a black stone from anywhere on the board. “White” removes a white stone from anywhere on the board
“Black” jumps one of the light pieces and removes it. “White” jumps one of the dark pieces and removes it; players continue to take turns.
In any move, a player moves only one pebble, jumping any direction but diagonally. You cannot move in more than one direction in a turn; you may choose to make multiple jumps but you don’t have to.
As the game continues, there will be fewer pebbles on the board, thus fewer chances to jump. The player who makes the last jump wins.
Game instructions provided by the U.S. Dept. of the Interior National Park Service