NOVICA

Oware wood table game, 'Home' (Ghana)

A traditional village hut adorns the external lid of this oware foldable board game. From Ghana's Ernestina Oppong Asante, the oware board is carved by hand of seasoned sese wood and the game is played with 48 white marbles. Oware is a game of skill and strategy designed for two players, challenging mental agility and alertness. The objective can be briefly described as 'counting and capturing beads' and there are no chance factors in it. The player's strategy entirdescribed as 'counting and capturing beads' and there are no chance factors in it. The player's strategy entirely depends upon the ability for reasoning and counting. Oware is one of the oldest games in the world. The earliest records describing the game were found in Arab religious texts dating to the Middle Ages, believing the game originated in the Middle East and spread from there to Africa, then to Asia with Arab traders, and to the Caribbean around 1640 via the African slave trade. Other experts place its origins in Central Africa; the Masai people state that oware was invented by Sindillo, the son of the first man, Maitoumbe, and was originally called "geshe." In Arab countries, the most common name for this game is "mancala" (Arabic word meaning "to move"). In some West African countries the depressions in the board are referred to as "warri" or "wwari," which means houses, thus the name "owari." In Nigeria it is known as "adi," which is also the name of the seeds used to play it; and in South Africa it is called "ohoro." With different and exotic names such as "congklak," "dakon," "aggalacang" and "nogarata," it has also been played in Asia long before the Portuguese rounded the southern tip of Africa. Today, oware represents the diversity of Africa, as some version of it is played in nearly every country on the continent. Legend relates that Shyaam aMbul aNgoong, founder of the Kuba kingdom of Central Africa, taught the game to his people to encourage foresight and calculation. Having transcended the passing of the centuries, oware has been enjoyed as a family game, a ceremonial right of passage, or read more