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Msuwa DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa

Category Board, Sow, Four rows


Msuwa is a four-row mancala-style board game played by the Nyanja people of East Africa.


4x10-20 holes, with even numbers. Two counters in each hole, except the rightmost hole in the inner row of each player, which has zero, and the hole to its left, which has one. Sowing occurs in an anti-clockwise direction. When the final counter lands in an occupied hole, these are picked up and sowing continues. When the final counter lands in an empty hole in the inner row, the counters in the opposite hole in the opponent's inner row are captured. If counters are captured from the inner row, and there are also counters in the outer row, the counters in the outer row are also captured. If counters in the inner and outer row are captured, the player may also capture counters from two other holes on the opponent's side of the board. Single counters cannot be sown until there are no holes with multiple counters on the player's side of the board, and then single counters may only be sown into empty holes. Play continues until one player captures all of their opponent's counters, thus winning the game.

Sanderson 1913: 735.


East Africa

Ludeme Description



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Murray 1951: 212.

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Murray, H.J.R. 1951. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Sanderson, M. 1913. "Native Games of Central Africa." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 43: 726-736.

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