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Dabuda DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa

Category Board, Sow, Two rows


Dabuda is a two-row mancala-style game that is particularly popular among the Afar who live in the Horn of Africa, and described by men from Asaita, Jibuti and Thio.


2x10 board. Play begins with four counters in each hole. Play begins from one of the rightmost four in the player's row, sowing in an anti-clockwise direction. When the final counter lands in an occupied hole, these counters are picked up and sowing continues. Captures are made if the player's final counter lands in an empty hole in their row; the contents of the opponent's hole opposite and the final counter are both captured. If the hole opposite is empty, nothing happens. If the empty hole is in the opponent's row, the turn ends. After each player performs this move, they may sow from any hole in their row, provided the sowing leads into the opponent's row or finishes in an empty hole in the player's own row. Play continues until one player cannot play because their holes are empty. When this happens, the opponent captures the remaining counters. Each player counts their captured counters, four by four, into their holes. The player who has the most counters wins.

Pankhurst 1971: 180.

These rules were taken from the Afar ruleset.

All Rulesets

Observed rulesets
Afar Play must begin from one of the player's four rightmost holes.
Damohoita Play must begin from the rightmost hole.


Horn of Africa

Ludeme Description



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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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