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Evidence for Okwe (Igbo)

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.640
Type Ethnography
Location Igboland
Date 1921-01-01 - 1921-12-31
Rules 2x10 board, or up to 2x20. 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. The challenger concedes the first move. Opening phase: Player 1 removes the counters in the opponent's final four holes with counters. Player 2 removes the same counters from Player 1's holes, except leaving the single counter in the opponent's final hole, with one counter. Players take the counters from any of their holes and sow them When sowing, the first counter is dropped into the hole from which it just came. If the last counter lands in the opponent's row and the opposite hole contains one or three, theses are taken and added to the store. In place of a move, a player may add some or all of the counters from the store. If the sowing reaches the end of the row, sowing continues from the opposite end hole rather than continuing into the opponent's rows.
Content "No account of the pastimes of the Ibos would be complete without a description of the of the game of okwe. Probbaly this remark applies to the whole of West Africa, as the game is almost, if not quite, universal. It is a recreation more in favour with the elder folk, the old man being particularly partial to it. In order to play the game counters and a properly prepared board are necessary. The board (ubaw-okwe) has two parallel rows of holes. The number of holes varies from ten to twenty per side and the boards are often nicely carved. Some of them are black and polished with long usage and are treasured as heirlooms. The players may be two, three, or four, the opponents facing each other on opposite sides of the board. It is impossible, without taking up a huge amount of space, to write full directions for playing the game. Briefly, the procedure is as follows: Working always from left to right on the board the counters are distributed thus:- 5 counters in each of the first 7 holes. on both sides. 1 counter in each of the next 2 holes, on both sides. 5 counters in the tenth hole on both sides. 1 counter in the eleventh hole on both sides. The challenger always concedes first move. Player No. 1 immediately appropriates (lit: "eats") all the counters in holes 8, 9, 10, and 11, as a sort of nucleus for his working capital. Player No. 2 likewise appropriates a number, but in his case leaves the single counter in hole eleven, i.e. No. 1 is one counter to the good from the start. Players begin where they like on the board but must take all-save one- of the counters from the holes selected, and these must be distributed singly along the row of holes until they are exhausted. The object is so to place the counters that the last one drops opposite a hole in which the opponent has one or three counters. If a player can do this he "eats" the one or three, i.e. he appropriates them. The object is to force one's opponent to move out his counters in such a way that he cannot save himself from the one and three traps. As soon as a player wishes he can replace his playing counters be redistributing his own working capital, but to do this he must drop in the counters singly, one for each hole, and if a surplus remains after passing down all the hole of the board then the process is repeated until all the "eaten" counters are once more in the game." Basden 1921: 134-136.
Confidence 100
Ages Elder
Genders Female

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