|hefira (?), hefari (?)|
| Played in: |
|Single lap game|
|First seed in the same hole|
| 3 holes per row |
Koumma is a mancala game played, at least, in a small village near Marrakesh, Ouled M'taâ, by its Arabic-speaking population (rest of the area is Berber-speaking). It seems nowadays it is not played anymore, and is only remembered by grown up men.
It was a game played by young men, specially shepherds, at noon, while the animals were resting.
Usually the holes were dug in the ground and sheep or goat droppings were used as gaming pieces.
The game is very similar to um dyar, which is played in Western Sahara. According to a local historian, Ouled M'taâ people were a Saharian caravaneer Arabic tribe who, on the 11th century, due to political disagreements with the sultan, were splited and send to different places, one of them in the Atlas, in present day Ouled M'taâ. Research is needed to find out if their Berber neighbours also play this game.
People from the Ourika Valley, also in the Atlas, have told Viktor Bautista i Roca about some mancala games that could be koumma, but none of them remembered the whole rules. These games are called hefira or hefari.
The board is made of two rows of an three holes.
There are 6 pieces initially in each hole
Each player controls the three holes on his side of the board.
At his turn, a player takes the contents of any hole of his side of the board and sows them counterclockwise, one by one, starting in the very same hole from where he took them.
- If you move a singleton, it is put into the next hole counterclockwise.
If the last piece ends in a hole making a total of 2, 4 or 6 (ie, an even number, not greater than the initial number of pieces per hole), these pieces are captured and removed from the board.
If you have captured, you also get the contents of the following holes (in an unbroken sequence) that contain also 2, 4 or 6 pieces [in um dyar it's the preceding holes, not the following ones].
If a player has no pieces to play with, he passes and his opponent plays again.
The game ends when all pieces are captured.
The player who has captured most pieces, wins the game.
After a game, usually the looser turns away while the winner hides one piece in one hole, and fills all of them with sand. Then, the looser comes back and, without touching it, he must blow into the holes, to find the piece, and, just blowing, take it out of the hole.
- Bautista i Roca, V.
- (2005-2008) Communications from Moroccan residents in Catalonia.
- (2008) Personal communication with Abdelhadi D'Bachq, Ouled M'Taâ primary school director.
|No research done!
No serious research has been done on this game. All this information must be taken with a grain of salt.
It would be really great to improve the article through more research or personal experiences.