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Gabata (Oromo) DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa

Category Board, Sow, Two rows


Gabata is a term used to refer to several mancala-style games in the Horn of Africa. This version is a two-row game played by an Oromo woman in Addis Ababa.


2x6 board. Four counters in each hole. Play begins with a stylised move. One player takes the four counters in their leftmost hole and places them into the next hole, moving in an anti-clockwise direction. They then take the four counters in the next hole, and place them in the following holes. This continues until the entire board has an alternation pattern of a hole with eight counters followed by one with zero counters. The player then sows beginning from the final hole with eight counters they created. When the final counter of a sowing lands in a hole with counters, the player picks up these counters and sowing continues. When the final counter falls into an empty hole, the turn ends. At any time during the sowing a hole is made to contain four counters, they are captured by the player who is sowing, except when it is the final hole of a sowing, in which case they are picked up and sowing continues. If a player cannot play, they must pass their turn and may resume play when they are next able. When all of the counters have been captured, the player who captured the most counters wins.

Pankhurst 1971: 178.

Ludeme Description

Gabata (Oromo).lud


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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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