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Gabata (Tigray)




Eastern Africa


Gabata is a name that is widely used for different mancala-style games in Ethiopia. This game, played in the Tigray region, it is a three-row game, like many others unique to the Horn of Africa.


3x6 board. Three counters per hole. Play begins with three counters per hole. Each player owns the row closest to them and the right half of the central row. Sowing occurs in the following direction: from left to right in the player's full row, right to left in the player's half of the central row, proceeding to the opponent's full row and sowing right to left, then left to right in the opponent's part of the central row, then proceeding back to the player's full row and proceeding as before. Sowing always begins from a player's own holes. When the last counter falls into an empty hole, the turn ends. If the last counter falls into an occupied hole, the contents of that hole are picked up and sowing continues. Captures are made by dropping the last counters of a sowing into an opponent's hole which contains three counters, making it have four counters. Captures cannot be made until after the original three counters placed in the holes at the beginning of the game have been moved. Once such a hole is captured, the player The player captures the last counter dropped and one of the counters from the opponent's hole, leaving two in the hole.

Pankhurst 1971: 164-165.

These rules were taken from the Adowa ruleset.

All Rulesets

Observed rulesets
Adowa Observed by R. Pankhurst
Aksum Played near Aksum.
Three players Played with three players.



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