Ayo is a Nigerian game which originated from Yoruba land in Nigeria. Although, this game is found in other parts of African and is called Mankala. The name mankala or mancala as it is sometimes written is derived from the Arabic word naqala, meaning “to move something around.” Mankala is actually a general name for the many variations of the game that are played throughout Africa , as well as many other parts of the world.
Ayo is usually played during the day, after work is finished. It is not just a game for the older crowd; in fact, many young children learn how to play Ayo in order to sharpen their math skills. Ayo is generally played by people of the same age group and gender, meaning men play with men, women play with other women, and children play amongst themselves.
Ayoayo is played on a board of two rows, each consisting of six round pits that have a large store at either end. Each pit contains four seeds at the start. A player owns the row closest to him and the store to his right.
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.
The move ends when the last seed falls in an empty hole.
If the last seed falls in an empty hole on the player's own side, the seeds in the opponent's hole directly across and the seed effecting the capture are captured and placed into the store.
If the emptied hole contains twelve or more seeds, it is skipped.
When the opponent has no seeds in his holes, he must get some seeds in the next move, if possible. Otherwise the game is over and the remaining seeds are captured by the player who moved last.
The player who captured most counters wins the game.
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