Playing Oware on Break. Bolgatanga N/R Ghana

Monday, July 5, 2010

OWARE RULES by Adisa S. Oji



Abapa Version (Ghana)

Adisa S, Oji copyright 2009

The game is designed for 2 players. It is played with 48 seeds, stones or marbles. To begin the game, 4 seeds are placed in each of the 12 holes (also referred to as “cups or pits,” depending on which culture the game originates). Each player has 6 holes on his/her side.

Each player takes turns collecting all the seeds from any of the 6 holes on his side and sows one seed in each hole going around the board in a counter-clockwise manner, ensuring not to place any seeds in the hole started from. Each player can only play from one of the 6 holes on his/her side.

When the last seed in the player’s hand is placed in a hole on the opponent’s side, when after placing that seed, the seeds in the hole add up to 2 or 3, the player wins the seeds in that hole. The player then scoops up the seeds from that hole and starts a winning pile in front of him/her. A player can only win seeds on the opponent’s side.

If the hole(s) immediately behind the hole your last seed landed in also has 2 or 3 seeds, you also win those seeds as well. The player can win the seeds in up to 4 more holes BEHIND the one the last seed is placed in provided there is an unbroken sequence of 2 or 3 seeds in all the holes.

You are not permitted at anytime to win the seeds in all six holes on the opponent’s side. If a play results in you placing your last seed in the 6th or far most hole on your opponent’s side and there are 2 or 3 seeds in all six holes, the player must forfeit this play so that the opponent can stay in the game.

If one of the players no longer has any seeds on her/his side and it is the opponent’s turn, if possible the opponent must make a play to feed seeds to the other side so the opponent can stay in the game.

When it is no longer possible to feed any more seeds to any side, the game is over; the player with the most seeds wins the game. Having 25 or more seeds wins the game.


  1. You cannot purposely hold seeds on your side and make it impossible to reach and feed your opponent. That's why, you cannot win the game if you have more than 1 seed in the holes in your side (it does not matter which position of the hole or holes where the seed or seeds are) you will have to be able to feed your opponent with 1 seed even if he losses. Each player should be left with at least 1 seed when the game ends. If you fail to feed your opponent with at least 1 seed at the time the game ends, you automatically lose that game.
    That is the rule we use in the Country called "TOGO" and I think that makes much more sense.
    If any question, you can address me in email:

  2. Koffi,
    thank you so much for your comment and for your enlightenment on the Togo version (Awale). It is amazing how many versions of Oware there are not to mention that the "Pit and Pebbles" class that these games belong to has more than 300 different varations of play. I would love for you to teach me the Togo version when I next see you maybe at Carassauga.

    Please note that the version in my blog is the Ghana Abapa Oware version and I am not saying it is the only one. In fact I acknowledge all versions. The Ghana version will be used for the 2011 Oware Tournament.

    I would love it if you can write the complete rules for the Togo version and send it to me. I will include it in the list of versions of play I will be promoting.

    Thanks so much,

    Brother Oji