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Evidence for Um el-Bagara

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.694
Type Ethnography
Location Sudan
Date 1925-01-01 - 1925-12-31
Rules 2x5 board. Play begins with five counters in each hole Players sow from any one of their holes. Sowing can occur in the following directions: From the leftmost two holes: clockwise. From the rightmost two holes: anti-clockwise. from the center hole: the player may choose either direction. If the final counter falls into a hole in the opponent's row containing either one or three counters, making it now contain two or four, these are taken. If the holes before them also contain two or four, in an unbroken sequence, they may all be captured. Single counters cannot be sown. When neither player can move, the single counters in each player's rows are taken by the player belonging to those rows. The player with the most counters wins.
Content "I. Mangala or Um El Bagara, or The Cow Game (northern Tribes) The two players, A and B, have each five "houses", usually hollows in the sand, each of which initially contains five counters (Fig. 4). The player to begin picks up the five counters of any one of his own houses, and moving in the direction indicated by the arrows, drops the counters one by one into successive houses. Thus, if B should begin to play and should decide to start with the house marked X, the result of his first move would be as shown in Fig. 5. It will be observed that if the contents of the middle one of the five houses be taken up, they can be distributed in either direction, at the player's choice, while counters from a house to the right of the middle one move to the right, and vice versa. It is now A's turn to move, and, though the players are still only manoeuvring for position, it is time to indicate their ultimate object. This is, that the last counter dropped shall fall into a house of the opponent's, containing already one counter or three counters. In either case the player removes from the board both the afore-mentioned last counter and the one counter or three counters on to which it falls. Moreover, if he scores with his last counter he is allowed to score with the penultimate counter also, if it falls on one or three; and if with the penultimate, then with the last but two also, if it falls on one or three, and so on. Thus at a late stage of the game, illustrated in Fig. 6, if the player A moves with the contents of the house marked Y, he will "eat" all the contents of B's houses. At house Z he is said to have eaten a cow, and in each of the other houses, a calf. A very important rule is that a single counter in a house cannot be moved. Thus the only way to protect a calf from being eaten is to make a move which leaves a second counter in the house with it. Anyone who cares to try it will find that a successful "end-game" depends solely on judicious appreciation of this rule. When all movement is over, each player removes such single counters as remain in his houses and the winner is the one who has taken most counters." Davies 1925: 140-141.
Confidence 100
Source Davies, R. 1925. 'Some Arab Games and Puzzles.' Sudan Notes and Records. 8: 137–152.

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