Written by Howard Fosdick ©

Overview: Barca is an innovative strategy game for two invented by Andrew Caldwell. Its rules are quite simple. They're modeled on the "rock-paper-scissors" principle you remember from your childhood.

Barca is the perfect game for kids. As an adult, I like it because the board is not so complicated or cluttered as in strategy games like Chess or Camelot. You control just a few pieces so you can focus on a smaller playing area.

We provide several free printable boards for Barca, but urge you to support its inventor by buying a commercial board if you enjoy the game. Plus, it's always more fun to play on a nice board with quality pieces that express the special vision of the game's creator.

Set Up and Objective: Set the board up as shown in the diagram. Notice the four blue squares near the center of the board. These are the watering holes.

Each player has six game pieces: two elephants, two lions, and two mice. They're abbreviated E, L, and M in the illustration.

You win the game by placing any three of your animals on any three of the watering holes at the same time.

Barca Board with Starting Positions
Barca Board with Starting Positions

Play: The winner of a "rock-paper-scissors" contest goes first. Each player moves one piece in his turn.

Mice move horizontally or vertically. Lions move diagonally. Elephants move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Thus, mice move like chess rooks, lions move like chess bishops, and elephants move like chess queens.

Pieces may move any number of squares in one direction. They can not jump or move through other pieces. Pieces are never removed from the board.

Scared Animals: A player's animals can be adjacent to each other. However, whether an animal can be adjacent to an enemy animal depends on these rules:

* Mice fear lions
* Lions fear elephants
* Elephants fear mice

An animal can not be moved adjacent to an animal it fears, except trapped animals.

An animal is scared when it is adjacent to an animal it fears. A scared animal must be moved to a safe a location in your turn. If more than one animal is scared, you may chose which to move. A scared animal that is trapped may optionally be moved to another scared position.

Winning: A player wins if he simultaneously occupies three of the four watering holes. He wins regardless of whether any of his animals are trapped or scared.

Print Your Own Game Board:

Want to print your own Barca board? We offer several different free images. Just click here. You don't need to buy anything to try out the game! But if you like it, we urge you to support its creators by buying a quality board from them here.

Sources: The authoritative source for this game is

Click here for more free games on this website.

License: Feel free to print, copy, and distribute these rules, so long as you retain this paragraph. Written by Howard Fosdick © 2023, distributed under Creative Commons License BY-ND.      HOME