Who’s Your Mob is a brand new Australian card game that was created in 2016, marking the first card game based on Indigenous skin groups and cultural governance. Created by Tyson Mowarin, a Ngarluma journalist, musician and app creator, Mowarin wanted to create a game that allowed players to explore culture and language within the local Indigenous groups of his Western Australian community. The game is designed to be fun and educational, teaching young people about the Galharra Indigenous skin system of Australia’s West Pilbara region. The name of the game came about from the common Indigenous greeting used to identify how another person is connected to other Indigenous groups across the country.
About the Galharra skin system
According to the instructions within Who’s Your Mob, The Galharra skin system is a set
of rules which guides a person’s relationships and responsibilities with the group members by understanding the person’s Galharra group. This includes being able to understand how people relate to each other, behave toward one another and communicate at ceremonies and in day-to-day life.
The rules and how to play
Who’s Your Mob is recommended for players ages 10 years old and over. It can be played with two to six players. The cards are displayed in both English and Ngarluma indigenous languages.
The aim of Who’s Your Mob is to use the cards to build your family tree, while other players and the Evil Spirits will try and stop you along the way. The first player to successfully build three full family trees is the winner. To build a family tree, you must get four family cards into matching sets using the correct skin group marriages or family relations.
Gameplay unfolds as follows:
- Each player is given their own deck of cards based on their Galharra skin group (either Banaga, Burungu, Garimarra or Balyirri) and gender. If a player doesn’t know their skin group or is not Indigenous, they can use any skin group deck suited to their gender. The skin group decks include a Player card, Action cards and Family cards.
- To start your turn, place the Player card in front of you to start the first of your family trees.
- Shuffle your cards and draw the top three cards from your deck to create your hand, and make sure other players can’t see your cards.
- Players now take turns to each pick up a card from their deck.
- Family cards can be added to your Player card to build a family, or start a second family tree. There are words and coloured tabs on the sides of the cards to help you make the correct family matches, so make sure to read them carefully. Only two family trees can be built per person at a time.
- You can play as many Family cards as you like during your turn, but can only use one Action card per turn. Action cards allow you to attack other players, get you out of a tough spot and help you get closer to winning.
- Follow the instructions on each card to either use its action or place it on one of your opponents unlucky family members. If you place a card on another player’s family tree it can only be removed by using the Yirrangybilgu Snatch It card or discarding the entire family tree.
- You can discard one of your incomplete family trees during your turn by shuffling the cards back into your deck.
- The BAM! card can be used as an Action card during your turn to complete a set of three family members, or it can be used during another player’s turn to stop an Action card they just played.
- If you have no good cards to play, you can forfeit your turn to discard your entire hand and draw three new cards.
How to win Who’s Your Mob
During gameplay, every time you complete a correct family tree of four, place your set of cards to one side. The first player to have three complete family tree sets is the winner.
Can I play Who’s Your Mob online?
Unfortunately, Who’s Your Mob is a game that requires physical cards in order to play, so it’s not available to play online. However, given Tyson Mowarin’s background in app development, we wouldn’t be surprised if he optimises his game for mobile use, allowing players to delve into this culturally rich game online.
Mowarin’s has already expressed his desire to see Who’s Your Mob go digital, saying, “I’m always thinking about how to marry technology with our cultural knowledge like I did with the Welcome to Country iPhone app. The card game will do the same thing.”