| Played in: |
|Holes captured between games|
|6 holes per row|
Ba-awa is a mancala game from Ghana. Although it is played in some of the same regions as oware, the game is simpler and in traditional societies ba-awa is considered a game for women and children. The game is played by the Twi, an Akan people from Ghana. It was first described in Europe by R. C. Bell in 1969 who was taught the rules by S. Afoakwa in 1957. Related games are jerin and obridjie in Nigeria.
The ba-awa board has six pits in front of each player, and (optionally) one pit at each end which stores captured seeds.
The only pieces are 48 undifferentiated seeds or other small objects. Typically, several games are played in a row. At the beginning of the first game four seeds are placed in each pit except the end pits. Subsequent games also begin with four seeds in each pit, however the ownership of the pits may have changed.
|Initial Setup of the First Game|
Players take turns moving the seeds. At his turn, a player chooses one of the pits under his control. The player removes all seeds from this pit, and distributes them, one by one, in each pit counter-clockwise from this pit, in a process called sowing. Seeds are not distributed into the end pits. If the last seed falls in an occupied pit, then all the seeds in that pit including the last one are resown starting from that pit. These multiple laps continue until the sowing process ends, either in an empty pit or a capture of four seeds.
If at any time during sowing, a pit has exactly four seeds, all four are immediately captured and removed from play and won by the player who owns the pit. There can be many such captures during sowing.
If the last seed is sown into a pit which then has four seeds, these four seeds are captured by the moving player.
When there are just eight seeds left on the board, the player who began the game takes these and the game ends. In the next game, each player begins with a pit for each four seeds captured. Since captures are always made in multiples of four, this will be even.
The nominal object of a match is to gain control of all the pits on the board; however, this is so difficult that the game is usually only played to ten or eleven pits.
The game can also be played by three players, each starting with four holes. When the third player has been eliminated, the game develops into a battle between the two surviving players.
- Bell, R. C.
- (1969) Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, Oxford: Oxford University Press: (Vol. II), 72-73.