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Traditional Korean board game earns title of National Intangible Cultural Heritage

By Park Sae-jin Posted : November 11, 2022, 10:18 Updated : November 11, 2022, 10:18

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Yut Nori, a traditional Korean dice-stick board game, was designated as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage. The board game that was passed on from the first century is also enjoyed by families of the current generations during traditional New Year celebration festivities.
 
The traditional board game consists of four dice-like sticks called "Yut" and a rectangular board called "Mal-pan," which is normally made of cloth or hard paper. There are four straight courses that form a square and two diagonal lines that dissect it. Tokens called "Mal" (meaning horse in Korean) are used to show the progress of players around the board.
 
The rule of the game is simple. Throw the dice sticks and move the tokens through the full course of the Mal-pan to reach the starting point. Contrary to the simple rule, the game involves cunning plans to move through shortcuts, temporary alliances with other players, and also carefully-planned backstabbing to become the champion of the Yut Nori. The board game can be enjoyed anywhere with four sticks and stones as tokens. Mal-pan can be simply drawn on the ground.
 
The Cultural Heritage Administration said that the government's cultural properties management agency selected Yut Nori to be listed as one of the country's intangible assets. The agency said that the traditional board game was selected because of its value as a cultural heritage that appeared in records for over hundreds of years.
 
"Through long history, Yut Nori has kept its place as a traditional play culture that embraces our people's identity and traditional values," the agency said in a statement on November 11. While the board game has the standard rule, Yut Nori has many variations with local rules that differ by region.
 

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