Mancala World
Barbados Warri
Other Names: English Wari
First Description: F. Gardiner,
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Barbados

Barbados Warri is one of two mancala games played on Barbados. The game is also called English Wari. It is a variant of Oware, which is played in Nigeria. The other mancala game known on Barbados is Round-and-Round Warri or "French Wari".

The game is played in tournaments by adult men who are famous for their expertise. The best players were in the late 1990s William "Ossie" Haddock, Laurie Greaves, and Frederick "The Lord Jesus" Jackman. Other masters are Ethelred Phillips and Benjamin White. Barbados Warri is no longer as popular as it used to be, but the game is promoted by William Lee Farum-Badley, a Venezuelan born retired economist, who manufacturess boards at his small “factory” in his St. James, Barbados home and sells them over the internet.

In 2001, Coline Depardine used the rules to Barbados Warri in her research on evolutionary computation.

Barbados Warri is traditionally played with "horse nickars" on wooden boards, whose holes have sometimes deep groves shaped by decades of intensive play.


There have been two variants reported by Alexander Johan de Voogt (1997):

Barbados, Speightstown

Played like Oware except the following differences:

  • "Grand Slam" (i.e. a move, which captures everything the opponent has in his row) is permitted and captures.
  • If the opponent has no seeds to move with, he gets all the seeds still on the board.
  • If the last seeds continue to circle around the board, the game ends without them being captured.
  • The game ends as soon as one of the players has captured 25 seeds and thus wins the game. A 24-22 with 2 seeds on the board is a draw.
  • In a tournament, the first player to win six games is the champion.

Barbados, Bridgetown

Similar to the variant reported from Speightstown, but if, at the end of the game, seeds remain on the board, they are split evenly between both players. If there is an odd number of seeds, the extra one goes to the player who has more seeds on this side.

External Links


Collier, H. C.
Warri: An African Game Transplanted to the West Indies. In: Canada West Indies Magazine 1935; 24: 23-24.
Culin, S.
Mancala: The National Game of Africa. In: Report of the National Museum 1894, 597-611.
Depradine, C.
Neurowarri: Using Evolutionary Computation to Develop Warri Strategies. In: Caribbean Journal of Mathematical and Computing Sciences 2001; 11.
Herskovits, M. J.
Wari in the New World. In: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1932; 62: 23-37.
Murray, H. J. R.
A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford University Press, Oxford (England) 1951, 202.
Voogt, A. J. de.
Mancala Board Games. British Museum Press, London (UK) 1997.
Voogt, A. J. de.
Mancala: Games That Count. In: Expedition 2001; 43 (1): 38-46.


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