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That’s A Morra

Have you ever been to a picnic or social gathering and seen a group of men yelling and throwing fingers at each other? This happened in both my family and my wife’s family.

I can remember this happening and I didn’t really know what was going on. While watching, It seemed like my grandfathers, father and uncles were arguing with each other. But they were laughing and hugging one another too. Did this ever happen to you?

Well, when I was old enough I found out they were playing a game called “Fingers” or Morra.

Morra is a hand game that dates back thousands of years to ancient Roman times. Each player simultaneously reveals their hand, extending any number of fingers, and calls out a number. Any player who successfully guesses the total number of fingers revealed by all players combined scores a point.

Morra can be played to decide issues, much as two people might toss a coin, or for entertainment.

Object of the Game:

  • Guess the total number of fingers extended by you and your opponent.

How to Play:

  • Determine how many rounds a person must guess correctly in order to win the match.
  • Start the game by having the two players face each other.
  • The hand that you are using generally remains visible to your opponent and the other hand is usually placed to the side or behind your back.
  • Either at the count of three or some sort of predetermined signal the players extend their fingers and shout out a number from zero to ten.
  • The fingers are counted to see if anyone guessed correctly.
  • If one of the players guessed correctly they win the round.
  • If no one guessed the right number then neither player wins that round. If they both guessed the correct answer than it is a draw and neither gets credit for winning the round.
  • Play continues until one of the players reaches the number needed to win the match.


  • Zero is represented by extending your hand and making a fist.

The rules for this game are not that difficult. All you need is to find someone to play against and you are ready to go. The next time you are at a family gathering you won’t have to sit and watch. You will be able to join in on the fun and show them just how good you are. For myself and many of us, Learning about the game of Morra was a lot more important  than the game. Our Intention was to explore the opportunity to learn yet another Italian / Italian American tradition from our Fathers, Grandfathers or another family members. By seizing this opportunity and absorbing how to play this game we help to keep alive the traditions of our family and our heritage.

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