Mancala World

Obridjie → German.

First Description: K. C.
Murray, 1946
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Nigeria

Obridjie is a mancala game of the Ijaw (also Ijo) in Nigeria. The Ijaw are with over 8 million people the fourth largest ethnic group of the country. Their armed militants, which form the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, are fighting against the destruction of the natural environment of the Niger delta by the petroleum industry.

The game was first observed in the January of 1946 by K. C. Murray, the son of the famous English game historian Harold James Ruthven Murray (1868-1955). In Germany, Obridjie was mentioned in a game book in 1980. It was misspelled Obridjic in the description, while it was written correctly in the index of contents. Since then, the wrong spelling has been copied many times.

Obridjie is very similar to other Nigerian mancala games, such as Whyo (Oron clan, Ibibio), Jerin (Yoruba), and Lok (Jaba). It is a simple game which is preferred by women. A similar game is known by the Anuak at the Ethiopian-Sudanese border as Anywoli.


The game board consists of 2x6 smaller holes and a store hole at each end. Initially there are four seeds in each of the smaller holes. 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.

If at any time during a turn a hole contains four seeds, its contents are captured by the player who owns this hole. The captured stones are immediately put into the player's store.

Exception: If the last seed of a lap makes a four, these seeds are captured by the player who was moving, no matter where the hole is.

A move ends when the last seed is dropped into an empty hole or makes a four.

The game ends when one of the players can't move.

The game is won by the player who captured most seeds. The seeds which are still in the smaller holes are not counted.


Murray, H. J. R.
A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford (England) 1951, 185-186.
Steuer, H. & Voigt, C.
Das neue rororo Spielbuch. Reinbek (Germany) 1980, 39-40 & 232.

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By: Ralf Gering.
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