In anticipation of the New Year and the many promises it holds, my husband and I are planning some fun and simple activities for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to celebrate with our littles, and this includes this Korean New Year’s game called Yut Nori / Yoot Nori!
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What Is Yut Nori (Yoot Nori)?
Yut Nori / Yoot Nori is a traditional Korean game that I grew up playing. It’s a game that we usually played on New Year’s Day. (Many Korean families play on Lunar New Year.)
We played with our friends and family, and sometimes there was some small bets to make things are bit more interesting. (Nothing serious, but the losing team usually had to buy some treat like ice cream for the winning.)
It’s a fun game that every member of the family can play (literally if you can throw sticks in the air, you can play), so it makes for a perfect game for a New Year’s family gathering.
For more historic background information on Yut Nori, you can read more on trusty ole’ Wikipedia.
How Do You Play Korean New Year’s Game Yut Nori?
What do you need to play Yut Nori?
- Yoot/Yut (4 sticks that are flat on one side, and rounded on the other)
- Mat or Blanket
- Yut Nori Game Board
The game involves 4 “sticks” or Yoot that are thrown into the air that kind of acts like dice in other games. The sticks are flat on one side and rounded on the other side. The way the sticks land on the mat (how many sticks land on the flat side and how many land on the rounded side) determines how many spaces the pieces can move on the game board.
We usually sit in a circle around a mat or blanket (for the sticks to land on, so they don’t bounce around everywhere), and players take turns throwing the sticks in the middle of the circle.
Players must throw all four sticks at the same time. Our family had a rule, that you had to throw it above chest level, so you can’t just drop them gently to make them land a certain way.
How To Read The Yut Sticks
The yut/yoot sticks act kind of like dice in other Western games. There are 6 different ways to “read” the yut/yoot sticks.
When the sticks land with one flat side up, it is called Do (도). You move the game piece 1 space forward.
When the sticks land with two flat sides up, it is called Gae (개), and the team moves the game piece 2 spaces forward.
When the sticks land with three flat sides up, it is called Gul (걸), and the team moves the game piece 3 spaces forward.
When the sticks land with four flat sides up, it is called Yut (윷), and the team moves the game piece 4 spaces forward. And the player can have another turn and throw the sticks one more time.
When the sticks land with four rounded sides up, it is called Mo (모), and the team moves the game piece 5 spaces forward. And the player can have another turn and throw the sticks one more time.
Back Do (빽도)
I do not know if this is included in the traditional game, but our family always played with Back Do. This is when it is a Do, but the marked flat side of the stick would be facing up. The team would have to move the piece 1 space back.
How Do You Win A Game of Yut Nori?
There are 2 teams in for this game. Each team has 3 game pieces that would have to move from the Start all the way around the board back to the Start again.
If the piece lands on the corner (the black spots on our game board), the team can choose to which route they want to take.
Free Game Board Printable
Here is a free instant download to the game board! Fill out the form below and the printable game board will be sent to your email address : )
I am so excited to get to share this fun Korean New Year’s Game Yut Nori with my boys this year, and I hope you get to try out Yut Nori this New Year or the upcoming Lunar New Year!
Teach Your Kids Korean
If you’re interested in teaching your kids Korean, I have free Korean alphabet dot marker worksheets available. Check them out here!
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