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WHAT IS OWARE?

awalé
by Jordi Climent

Awale a.k.a. oware or wari is a very ancient board game that comes from Africa. It belongs to the big group of mancala games. In all these games the player must transfer pieces from one bin to another of the board during each turn. It is a fast and a dynamic game. The luck is not there implied. Only the practice allows to arrive at a domain high level. The rules of Oware game are simple and the game is really easy-to-learn. The origin of the game gets lost in the night of the times. 
Oware or awale with many names as for example: ayo, awale, awalete, awele, oware, wari, woli,... is played in western african countries as Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Cameroon. Also in the West Indies and in the Americas as for example: Surinam, Guyana, Grenada, Barbados, Sta. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Antigua and St Kitts, Dominican Rep., Brazil and Ecuador, as a result of the slave trade that came from this part of Africa. The goal of the game is to capture more seeds than the opponent. The winner is the player who has caught more seeds at the end of the game.


Jordi Climent in Nigeria - Research work July 2009 - Photo: Vicenta Canal