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Evidence for Makonn

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.666
Type Ethnography
Location Seychelles
Date 2007-03-22 - 2007-03-24
Rules 4x10 board
Content De Voogt 2013: 160-162 "The players The National Historic Museum at Mah ́e owns one Makonn playing board [access number 0119/99]. It consists of four rows of ten holes and, according to the museum information, was brought in by World War I soldiers as a souvenir. With the assistance of the senior curator Ms Bella Rose and assistant senior Curator Miss Jeanne Pothin, the following players were located near the capital Mah ́e. On March 22, 2007, Barry Marengo (1933–) was invited to the museum and illustrated the game using the museum board. He confirmed that the name was Makonn and that the configuration had always been four by ten holes. He played with stones, although cowry shells are also known to be used, that were placed one by one in each hole and he spread the stones in anti-clockwise direction. Singles were not allowed to be played unless the player had singles only. He had learned the game at age fourteen and used to play in a group of circa eight players. Two days later a visit was paid to Robin Pierre Marie (1934–) who owns a lakanbiz or baka-bar in Pointe La Rue, south of Mah ́e. In his bar there was one Makonn board, a ten by ten draughts board and another board game similar to draughts and known as Damn la tete. On arrival players were involved in playing Makonn. Mr Marie started his bar in 1989 and used a self-made board for play. The players in the bar were mostly taught by the owner although in former days other players, already familiar with the game, had also joined. He started playing the game at age sixteen and also played in Diego Garcia from 1959 onwards with other men from the Seychelles and Mauritius. He later played in Desroches, part of the Amirantes archipelago and Aldabra. In 1988 he left Desroches and returned to Mah ́e where he had resided since he was nine. He was originally brought up on the island of La Digue. The game was not known to him with any configuration other than four rows of ten holes. Since the game is associated with drinking baka, women do not commonly play with men but they are known to play the game in separate areas. Both Mr Marie and Mr Marengo were not familiar with any competition or tournament play for this game. The National Sports Council produced a document in which the game of Makonn is described but the rules cannot be inferred from this description [3]. The following rules were obtained after observing, playing and asking questions about the game of Makonn in Pointe La Rue. The Makonn rules Makonn is played on a board with four rows of eight holes. It needs forty counters, usually stones or shells. Each player owns two rows of eight holes that are closest to the player as well as the counters in those rows. The object of the game is to capture all counters of the opponent. The game can be divided in three stages. The opening The game starts with one counter in each hole. One player begins by rear- ranging the counters in the two rows owned by that player. The player may rearrange these counters in any way as long as they remain on the board and on the player’s side of the board. One counter may be placed in order to capture the opposite occupied holes of the opponent (for capture moves, see middle game). Once ready, the other player may rearrange the other part of the board and, if possible, also place a counter to capture the content of the opposite hole(s). The middle game Once the counters have been arranged, the first player starts a move by picking up the contents of a hole on the player’s side that contains more than one counter. These counters are placed one-by-one in consecutive holes in counter-clockwise direction within the player’s own two rows. When the last counter of such a sowing reaches an occupied hole, that hole is emptied and the contents are sowed starting in the next hole and in the same way and direction. This continues until the last counter of a sowing ends in an empty hole. When the last counter ends in an empty hole the move ends or the player makes a capture. The player can only capture if this empty hole is directly adjacent to an occupied hole of the opponent. The complete contents of the opponent’s hole and, if present, the contents of the hole directly behind this hole in the back row of the opponent, are captured and taken from the board. This game continues until one player has nothing left and lost the game or when one player has only holes with single counters in which case this player enters the singles game. The singles game If a player has only single counters in the two rows of holes, this player is still allowed to play. The player may now move a single counter in the same way and direction, but only into an empty hole. It is not allowed to play a single into a hole that already contains a counter. Captures are made in the same way as in the middle game. Since the game starts with all holes containing a single counter, it is necessary that in the opening game at least one change is made to allow the players to make a move."
Confidence 100
Source de Voogt, A. 2013. "Makonn and the Indian Ocean: East African Slave Trade and the Dispersal of Rules." Board Game Studies 8: 159-164.

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