Awalé: A Fun Family Game from Côte d’Ivoire

Awalé, Game from Ivory Coast

This is our family’s awalé set. You can find many different designs in the craft market.

Awalé is the Akan version of mancala. My dad grew up playing awalé in Côte d’Ivoire and he has played it with all of us since we were little.  We all love awalé because it’s a brain-teaser.  In my dad’s culture, awalé plays an important role in teaching young children arithmetic in an enjoyable fashion.

Awalé is played by two people; but, the players often encourage the participation of onlookers.  So, it is a very social game.

What You Need:

  • One awalé board with six pits on each side
  • 48 pieces (seeds)

How To Play

  • Start by placing four pieces in each pit on the awalé board.
  • The pits on your side are under your control.
  • Choose a pit on your side.  Take the pieces from that pit and distribute them , putting one piece in each pit, as you move in a counter-clockwise direction from the pit you started at.
  • Once all the pieces in your hand have been distributed, check the number of pieces in the pit where the last piece was dropped, provided that pit is on your opponent’s side of the board. Are there two or three pieces in that pit? If so, you remove them from the game. You may also remove the seeds from the previous pit(s) (on your opponent’s side) containing exactly two or three pieces.  These are your winnings.
  • Whether you have any winnings or not, it is now your opponent’s turn.
  • Keep playing until one person gets twenty-five or more pieces.  Whomever achieves this goal is the winner.

Have any problems playing?  Please share your concerns in the “Comments” section below and we’ll do our best to help.  If you have another way of playing awalé, please do share, as this is a game that can be played in many different ways.

Where to Buy

You can buy an awalé board in any good market.  However, Abidjan’s CAVA probably has the best selection.

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One response to “Awalé: A Fun Family Game from Côte d’Ivoire

  1. Pingback: Liebster Award: Thanks to Through Harold’s Lens! | Global Grazers·

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