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Abapa Rules

A traditional variant of Oware played by adults and used for competitions

Abapa meaning the proper version: literally translated from the Twi language spoken by the Akan of Ghana, the good stone. This version has been traditionally played by Adults and used for competitions. It is played all over West Africa and the Caribbean and known by different names. Some of these are Ayoayo (Yoruba-Nigeria), Awale (Ivory Coast), Our i(Cape Verde), Warri (Antigua, Barbados), Adji-Boto (Ewes-Ghana & Surinam), Awele (Ga's-Ghana & Ivory Coast). These are just some of the names of this version of Oware, there are many more.

Arrangement of board at the beginning of each game or round:

Four seeds are placed in each house on a board that is made up of two rows of six houses making twelve in total. Each row of six houses is the territory of the player sitting nearest to them. With two end houses used as stores for captured seeds.


The object of the game is to capture as many seeds (nickers) as possible. The first player to capture 25 seeds or more wins the game. A draw is possible in this game with each player capturing 24 seeds. Seeds are captured, by making two's or three's with ones last seed on the opponent's side.


Oware consists of fourteen depressions {houses} for a standard board or twelve for most portables, scooped in the ground or carved out of a board. These are arranged in two rows of six houses, each player having six houses facing them in the case of the portable boards. For the standard board the two extra houses used for storing captured seeds are placed at either side of the board in-between the two rows. The game is played with 48 seeds {nickers}, with 4 seeds placed in each house.


To start the game both players have to decide who should start. This can be done by the toss of a coin or by mutual agreement. In subsequent games the winner starts. Once it has been decided who should start that player can pick up from any one of the 6 houses in front of them that makes up their territory. Once the house has been selected all the seeds have to be scooped and sown in an anti-clockwise direction, in a consecutive manner placing the first seed in the house to the right of where they were scooped from. The remainder of the seeds, are placed in the houses directly following each other without skipping a house.

Omitting a house

The only exception is when a house that is being played has more than 11 seeds in it. With this situation one will be able to place a seed in each house until one comes to the original house that one scooped the seeds from, the next seed is not placed in this house but in the one after it. The same is repeated on subsequent rounds.

Capturing seeds

One captures seeds, by making a two or three with ones last seed on the opponents side. Take note if one makes a two or three but has seeds left to sow one does not gain anything.

Multiple Capture

If one makes a two or three with ones last seed and the house or houses preceding the captured house on the opponents side also have twos, threes or any combination of them, one captures these as well. So long as there are no houses with less than two or more than three seeds, in-between them, a maximum of five houses can be captured in this way. Beyond five houses one forfeits everything, as this would leave the opponent with no seeds to play with.

Compulsory moves

If the situation arises where one player has no seeds to play with the other player must provide some seeds to the opponent if possible. A move that does not do this whilst being able to feed the other player with seeds is not allowed. Greater priority is placed on capturing seeds to the end. There for maneuvering seeds in such a way that will eventually lead to the opponent not having no seeds to play with is not encouraged.

End game

The game ends when one player has captured 25 seeds or more. When both players decide that continuing will only lead to going round in circles in such a case each player keeps the seeds on their side.

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