Mancala World

Ayoayo → Italian.

First Description: Larry
Russ, 1984
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Nigeria

Ayoayo is a Nigerian mancala game, which is played by the Yoruba. It should not be confused with Oware, which is also sometimes called "Ayoayo" when played in Nigeria. Related games are Andada in Eritrea and Endodoi in Tanzania.


Ayoayo is played on a board of two rows, each consisting of six round pits that have a large store at either end. Each pit contains four seeds at the start. A player owns the row closest to him and the store to his right.


Initial Position

At his turn a player takes the contents of one of his smaller holes and distributes it, one by one, counterclockwise into the following holes, but not in the stores. If the last seed falls into a non-empty hole, its contents including the last distributed seed is continued to be distributed.

The move ends when the last seed falls in an empty hole.

If the last seed falls in an empty hole on the player's own side, the seeds in the opponent's hole directly across and the seed effecting the capture are captured and placed into the store.

If the emptied hole contains twelve or more seeds, it is skipped.

When the opponent has no seeds in his holes, he must get some seeds in the next move, if possible. Otherwise the game is over and the remaining seeds are captured by the player who moved last.

The player who captured most counters wins the game.


Russ, L. 
The Complete Mancala Games Book: How to Play the World's Oldest Board Games. Marlowe & Company, New York (USA) 1984, 28 (first edition).


© Ralf Gering
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.