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Béchi (Bechi)

Description

Béchi is a two-row mancala-style board game played by the Kunama people of Eritrea, particularly by boys and adolescent young men. It involves trickery, in which eliminated holes can be deceptively filled with counters to fool the other player into thinking they can play there.

Rules

2x4 board. Six counters per hole. Sowing occurs in a clockwise direction from the left half of a player's row, and anti-clockwise when played from the player's right half of the row. The first seed of sowing is placed in the hole from which the sowing began. When the final counter of a sowing falls into an occupied hole, and it now contains an even number of counters, these are captured, provided the contents of that hole have already been moved. Should the following hole also contain an even number of counters, these are also captured, as well as the next one, until there is a hole with an odd number of counters. If a player cannot move, they must pass until the opponent plays in such a way that they may play. If neither player is able to move, they both capture the counters in their rows. Players then count their counters by placing them six per hols. The player who has more counters than necessary to fill their holes places them aside for use in successive rounds. The player who is unable to fill a hole with six counters leaves it empty, also placing the extra counters aside for later use. This hole is not to be sown into. The player chooses which hole to leave empty. The player may place captured counters in this hole, and if the opponent sows into it, the player may immediately capture the sown counter. Otherwise, play proceeds as normal. Players alternate being the starting player, and subsequent rounds continue until one player cannot fill a hole with six counters.

Pankhurt 1971: 170.

These rules were taken from the Kunama ruleset.

All Rulesets

Observed rulesets
Kunama Rules played by the Kunama people.
Three Holes 2x3 Board. Players choose the direction when sowing from the center hole.

Evidence Map

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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.

Reference ID

DLP.Game.325

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