Traditional Board Games

Wari: From a Huge African Family

A modern wari set
A modern wari set

Monday, 27th June 2016

Wari is a common representative of a large family of African games called Mancala Games.  These are games of pure skill in which two players, occasionally more, try to capture all the enemy pieces.  Movement and capture is unique to this family of games: the multiple pieces in one playing space are picked up together, and dropped one at a time in succeeding playing spaces around a usually set route.  This mechanism has been picked up by some modern board games.

One of the criteria I used to choose the games for my book A Book of Historic Board Games was that the games should be distributed around the world.  Together with Tâb, Wari is the perfect choice for an African game.  Its unique movement and capture mechanism adds variety too.  And the mancala family is the largest and most diverse of all families of board games.  There are more mancala games than there are historic chess variants, for example.

If you're interested in the book, then please check out its page on Lulu.


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