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Njombwa (Two Counters) DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa

Category Board, Sow, Four rows


Njombwa is a four-row mancala-style board game played by the Yao people in East Africa. In this version, the game starts with two counters in each hole.


4x8 board, occasionally 4x9 or 10. Two counters in each hole, except the leftmost hole in the inner row, which has zero, and the hole to its right, which has one. Sowing occurs in an anti-clockwise direction. Players sow from any hole in their two rows. When the final counter lands in an occupied hole, these counters are picked up and sowing continues. When the final counter lands in an empty hole in the inner row, the counters in the opponent's opposite hole in their inner row are captured. If there are also counters in the opponent's opposite hole in the outer row, these are also captured, but only when a capture from the inner row was also made. Players cannot sow single counters, unless there are no holes with multiple counters left, in which case single counters may be sown into an empty hole. Play continues until one player has captured all of the opponent's counters, thus winning the game.

Sanderson 1913: 732-733.


East Africa

Ludeme Description

Njombwa (Two Counters).lud


Browse all concepts for Njombwa (Two Counters) here.


Murray 1951: 208-209.

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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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