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Evidence for Mewegae

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.1295
Type Ethnography
Location 15°32'57.40"N, 37°53'0.74"E 15°46'45.68"N, 38°26'55.28"E
Date 1971-01-01 - 1971-12-31
Rules 2x6 board. Play begins with four counters in each hole. Players begin the game simultaneously, sowing according to the rules below, until one player drops their final counter into an empty hole. A player picks up the contents of any of their holes and sowing them in an anti-clockwise direction, picking up the contents of the last hole in which his counters fall, and continuing sowing. This continues until the last counter falls in an empty hole. Then it is the other player's turn. A hole is captured when the last ball is dropped into an opponent's hole containing three counters, making it four. A player cannot then take from one of these holes that they have captured. Therefore, the player cannot begin a turn from their own captured hole nor can they continue sowing from it. If the last counter of a sowing falls into an opponent's captured hole, nothing happens on the first instance, but every time after that, one of those counters are removed from the board and placed in the store, and the sowing continues with the contents of any of the player's holes. Ownership of a hole continues even if it becomes empty. When a player cannot move (i.e., there are no counters in their holes except any that are in captured holes), the opponent continues to move until the player is able to move. Play continues until all counters are either placed in the store or in captured holes and thus cannot be moved. Players then count their pieces by placing four in each hole, and the player who has more than their original number takes ownership of one of the opponent's holes for every four counters more than the original number that have been taken. If no player took four more than the original, the player with three extra gets the hole, if each player has two extra the weaker player is given the two extra counters. Play then begins again as before. The game ends when one player owns all of the counters, and thus all of the holes. If toward then end of the game, when a player has been reduced to a single hole and it is captured by the opponent, the opponent captures the four counters involved in the capture. The hole remains in the possession of its owner, and is able to utilise any pieces falling into that hole on subsequent turns, but may also capture from this hole as though the hole had been captured by the opponent.
Content "Mewegae. This type of game, known in Tigrinya as the mewegae, or "to pierce" variety of gabata, is played in Western Eritrea as reported by two Heile Sellassie I University students, Madhane Gabra Heywat of Magara near Keren and Sultan Yimesgen, who describes it as found also in Agordat. The game is again based on two rows of six holes, with four balls per hole, and is broadly similar to qelat II, but has the following special features: 1, The decision who should play first is often taken by a process of "racing" identical to that employed in the three-row game of the highlands of Eritrea and this seems to reflect some measure of cultural identity between the two areas. In the game under discussion the players may, however, agree as to who should move first in which case there is no need to resort to "racing." 2. After the capture of a mewegae, which was effected, as described in the previous game, by dropping the last ball of a player's hand into one of his opponent's holes containing three counters, the procedure is significantly different. Whenever such a hole is captured the opponent of its capturer cannot tax or "eat" from it until he has first dropped one last ball in that hole. On doing this he would say teseta, literally "let her drink" and would thereafter be free to tax from that hole in the normal way by dropping there the last ball of his hand. 3. When at the end of a round players were each left with two extra counters the player with the larger number of holes would usually cede them to his weaker opponent." Pankhurst 1971: 168.
Confidence 100
Ages Adult
Genders Male
Source Pankhurst, R. 1971. Gabata and Related Board Games of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia Observer 14(3):154-206.

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