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Subject: More about this family of African Games. rss

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(Barry) eldrbarry McWilliams
United States
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These ancient African games are part of a large family of "sowing" or "count and capture" games played in numerous variations around the world. Play involves scooping the "seeds" from one's pits and then sowing them one per pit around the board. Captures are made a variety of ways. Since the pieces are common to both players, and constantly rotate around the board altering both player's positions, it becomes a challenging strategy game. The "sowing seeds" imagery of these games reflects the importance of agriculture in African life, even as the "cows" imagery in the game of Morabaraba (below) reflects the significance of their cattle.

The best known games of this family in the Western world are Oware (Ghana), Kalah, Omweso (Uganda), and Bao (Zimbabwe) - though the names may vary from place to place. Mancala games play a role in many African and some Asian societies comparable to that of chess in the West.

I have put together a page of links related to Mancala - Oware, Kalah, Omweso and Bao, etc on my web site at

- eldrbarry

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