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Okwe (Igbo)

Period(s)

Modern

Region(s)

Western Africa

Description

Okwe is the name for several mancala-style board games played in Nigeria. This version is a two-row board game played by the Igbo, Edo, Umon, Ibibio, and Owerri people during the early twentieth century.

Rules

2x10-20 board, 10 most common. Opening arrangement: Each player has this opening arrangement (number of counters in each hole, starting from the leftmost hole): 5-5-5-5-5-5-5-1-1-5-1-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0. Boards have even numbers of holes, and the farthest left and farthest right holes are eliminated in succession from this opening arrangement to make smaller boards. The challenger concedes the first move. Opening phase: Player 1 removes the counters in the opponent's final four holes with counters and conceals them from the opponent. Player 2 removes the same counters, except leaving the single counter in the opponent's final hole with counters. Players take the counters from any of their holes and sow them in an anti-clockwise direction. When sowing, the first counter is dropped into the hole from which it just came, unless it is a single counter. If the last counter lands in the opponent's row and the opposite hole contains one, three, or five counters, theses are taken and added to the concealed store. In place of a move, a player may add some or all of the counters from the concealed store, sowing from the leftmost hole in their row. If the sowing reaches the rightmost hole in this row, sowing continues from the leftmost hole rather than continuing into the opponent's rows.

Basden 1921: 134.

Origin

Nigeria

Reference

Murray 1951: 187-188.

Evidence Map

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Sources

Basden, G. 1921. Among the Ibos of Nigeria. London: Seeley, Service and Co.

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

Reference ID

DLP.Game.210

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