Mancala World

Kuoless → German.

First Description: Horst
Luz & Waldemar Herz,
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Guinea

Kuoless is an Oware variant played by Baga boys and girls in Guinea. The game was first observed by the ethnologues Horst Luz and Waldemar Herz (Tübingen University, Germany) in Koufen (Boké District) on April 27, 1960, during the Second West Africa Expedition of the German Nansen Society. They filmed Baga children playing Kuoless in the court of a homestead. The board was dug into the earth and the counters were small kernels ("dofordawesip") of a liana.

The Baga fled Islam and now live along the Atlantic coast in northern Guinea. They are rice farmers and fishermen and number about 47,000 people.


The rules are similar to Oware.


Large Kuoless board with four players

  • Kuoless is played by 2 to 10 players. The next turn is done by the player who follows counterclockwise. Other multi-player Oware variants are Kpo in Liberia and Walu in Mali.
  • A row has 2 to 10 pits. Each player controls 2 to 5 pits, depending on the size of the board.
  • It is permitted to capture all the seeds of an opponent.
  • Players don't have to feed their opponent(s).
  • If a player can't move, he must pass until he can play again.
  • The game ends when the board is empty or the remaining seeds cannot be captured.
    • If the rest (= divident) can be divided by the number of players (= divisor), each player gets the quotient.
    • If the rest cannot be divided by the number of players, each player gets the seeds, which were in his pits after the last capture.

External Links


Dauer, A. M. & Rutz, W.
Luz, H. & Herz, W.: Baga (Westafrika, Guineaküste) Mankallaspiel. Film E 383 des IWG Göttingen 1961. (Publikationen zu wissenschaftlichen Filmen, Sektion Ethnologie. Serie 8, Nummer 26/E 383.). Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film, Göttingen (Germany) 1978.


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