researched by Modar Neznanich
The game of Wari dates back to ancient times, and was known throughout Egypt, Africa and Asia. Most likely it was brought back to the European area by sailors exploring that area. Many places market it today as Mancala, but this is really incorrect. Mancala is a type of game. A counting game to be exact. Wari is just one type of mancala game. (The same way that 5-card draw is just one type of Poker game.)
The game is played with a game board and 48 markers or playing pieces. The pieces are usually small colored stones or shells. They may be of any color, or of several colors, as color does not affect ply in this game.
The game board for Wari generally consists of a piece of wood that has hollowed-out spaces in it. They form the following pattern:
The six hollowed-out circular spaces on each side are called cups. The larger oval spaces on the ends are called reservoirs.
Players sit across from each other with a set of cups facing them.
The game is set up by placing 4 markers in each of the 12 cups.
To play, the players determine who will go first. That player picks up the markers in one of the cups on his side. He then distributes the markers by placing one (and only one) in the other cups, going widdershins (counter-clockwise) in a circle around the board. Markers are NOT placed in the reservoirs. (They are for holding captured pieces only.) Should there be enough markers that a complete circle of the board is made, the cup just emptied is skipped over.
If the last marker put down goes into a cup on the opponent's side, and there ends with a total of two or three markers in that cup, then the markers in that cup are captured, and go into the reservoir at the player's right. Also, if the next cup clockwise from the captured cup has only two or three markers in it, that cup is likewise captured and the markers taken. This continues so long as the cup is clockwise to the last captured cup, has only two or three markers in it AND is an opponent's cup.
However, a player cannot capture all of an opponent's remaining pieces in a move, leaving him nothing to play. In capturing cups, if there is only one opponent cup left with markers in it, you cannot capture it. Also, you cannot leave your opponent with all empty cups if you have a move that would put some pieces in one or more of his cups.
When one side side of the board is all empty, play is ended. This must happen by a playing having to move his last markers onto his opponent's side. Play can also end if both players agree to quit. At the end of play each player takes any markers left on his side of the board and adds them to his reservoir.
The winner is the person with the most markers in his reservoir.
Like many games, over the years alternate rules develop. In the case of Wari the alternate rules (used together) are common in the sets available today in the U.S. They are:
1. When making a move and placing markers one at a time in cups, a marker IS placed in the reservoirs.
2. If a complete circle of the board is made, a marker IS placed back in the cup just emptied.
3. To capture an opponent's cup, the last marker put down must be in your own cup which is opposite an opponent's cup with just two markers in it.
4. To capture a cup it must have only two markers (not 2 OR 3).
5. You do NOT keep capturing opponent cups to the clockwise, if you capture one cup. Although you DO get an additional move, but it has to use the markers in the cup clockwise to one you just placed the last marker into.
6. You CAN capture all of an opponent's cups. You do not have to leave him markers to play.
Permission to Print.
H.L. Modar Neznanich, CLM, CSH, CT, CCC
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