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Awagagae (Gabata)

Period(s)

Modern

Region(s)

Eastern Africa, Northern Africa

Description

Awagagae is a two-row mancala-style board game from Eritrea. It is cloesly related to other Gabata games from the region.

Rules

2x6 board. Play begins with four counters in each 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 ends. 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.

Pankhurst 1971: 169

Origin

Horn of Africa

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Sources

Pankhurst, R. 1971. Gabata and Related Board Games of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia Observer 14(3):154-206.

Identifiers

DLP.Game.561

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