How to play the game

Wekanun is a game in which players learn words in other languages, through translation from a local language (LL) to a foreign language (FL). The winner is the first player to fill all the boxes in their part of the board with LL words and the corresponding FL translations related to their allocated themes.

The game set:

1 board
12 check cards
24 theme cards (in upper case)
168 word cards (in lower case)


The board has four spaces (one per player), each of which is a different colour (green, red, blue or yellow). Each space comprises a Wekanun area (1) and a Nunakew area (2) in the corresponding colour (green, red, blue or yellow). The top row of each player’s Wekanun area contains three boxes, which are larger than those below them and shaded differently, and it is here that the LL theme cards are placed (3). The FL theme cards with the corresponding translations are placed in the next row down (4).
Below the boxes referred to above are five identical rows of boxes for LL word cards (ordered alphabetically) related to the theme card at the top of each column (5). There is a box below each LL word card box for the FL word card with the corresponding translation (6).

What is the Nunakew area for?

Each player’s Nunakew area is located on the right of their space on the board. It is here that players leave words that they feel they are currently unable to place in their Wekanun area, due to being unrelated to their allocated themes or not being the translation of any of the words already positioned in their Wekanun area.

Check cards

The game set includes 12 check cards (one for each theme). The front of each check card shows the name of a theme in the LL and the FL. The seven words related to the theme are listed on the back of the card in alphabetical order in the LL, with the corresponding FL translations alongside them.

Each player takes the three check cards corresponding to the themes allocated to the player to their right. The check cards are used for resolving queries and settling any doubts requiring the intervention of a judge*. During their turn, each player may ask the player on their left a question regarding an LL or FL word related to their themes.

*Judge: if a player feels that another player has positioned a card in the wrong order or translated an LL word or phrase erroneously, they may, at the beginning of their turn, suggest a correction to the perceived error. The player deemed to have made such an error may use the Wekanun check cards to see whether their opponent’s suggestion is correct.

a) If the suggestion proves to be correct, the player who made it receives an extra turn, which works in exactly the same way as a normal turn.

b) If the suggestion proves to be incorrect, the player who made it MISSES THEIR TURN and the player who used the check card to verify it receives an extra turn.

Theme and word cards

Bag 1: contains 12 cards bearing the names of the themes in the LL.
Bag 2: contains 12 cards bearing the names of the themes in the FL.
Bag 3: contains 84 cards bearing the words related to the themes in the LL.
Bag 4: contains 84 cards bearing the words related to the themes in the FL.

How to play

Firstly, and in no particular order, each player draws three LL theme cards at random from BAG 1 and positions them on the board, in alphabetical order from left to right, in the boxes provided for such cards. The FL theme cards are then emptied out of BAG 2. The players take the cards with the translations of the themes they have drawn and position them below the corresponding LL theme cards on the board.

Once all the players have all their theme cards in both languages in position, the first hawk-eye round begins, where, if a player has positioned a card incorrectly, the player holding the corresponding check card should be the first to detect their error.

If the player who ought to correct any errors made by the player to their right fails to do so, another player may perform the task.

Any player who detects and corrects such errors may take an LL word card from BAG 3.

Once all the LL and FL theme cards are correctly positioned and any hawk-eye queries have been settled, the player with the LL theme card that comes first in alphabetical order takes 15 LL word cards from BAG 3. The player to their left then does likewise, and so on until all the players have done so. Each player then positions their word cards in alphabetical order below the theme card in their Wekanun area to which they think they are related, leaving those that they consider to be unrelated to their themes in their Nunakew area (the right hand section of their space on the board).

In the next stage of the game, the player with the fewest words in their Wekanun area is given two options. The first option consists of taking cards from the Nunakew area of one or more of their opponents (only one card per opponent), subject to both the following conditions:

a) The player must be able to position the cards they take in their LL boxes.
b) The cards they take (one, two or three) must all be related to a single theme or must each be related to a different theme.

The second option consists of leaving the cards in their opponents’ Nunakew areas where they are and instead taking a card from BAG 3. If the player thinks they can place the card in question in their own Wekanun area or in that of any of their opponents, they do so and may take another card from the bag, and so on until they take a card that they consider to be unrelated to their own themes or to those of their opponents, and which they must consequently leave in their Nunakew area.

It is then the turn of the next player, who proceeds as described above, and so on.

During their turn, each player may ask the player to their left about an LL or FL word. The latter player must consult the relevant Wekanun check card and read out the theme and the word in the other language.

When a player has completed a theme column with five LL word cards, on their next turn they take 15 FL word cards from BAG 4 and then proceed in the same way as in the case of the LL.

When a player has begun the stage of the game in which they are attempting to fill their Wekanun area in both languages, they play twice per turn, firstly for the LL and then, following the same rules, for the FL.

The decision made by a player regarding whether to take cards from the BAG or from their opponents’ Nunakew areas does not have to be the same for both the LL and the FL.

During a player’s turn, they may swap an LL word card for which they do not have the corresponding FL translation for an LL and FL word pair related to the same theme as the card they want to swap. The cards that make up the LL and FL word pair may be taken from a single player’s Nunakew area or from those of different players. No more cards may be taken from the Nunakew areas in question in the same turn. One such swap may be made per turn, and all the other options available to the player in a normal turn remain open to them.

LL word cards swapped for an LL and FL word pair must be left in the Nunakew area of the player making the swap.

Who wins?

The winner is the first player to complete all their LL and FL boxes, once the corresponding hawk-eye queries have been settled. The other players may continue playing until only one of them remains, at which point the game ends.