This traditional African Ayo game
(also known as Awale) is a
favourite of many young people across the African continent, but particularly in
Nigeria and West Africa. You
can play this Ayo game against a friend or the computer.
Ayo is played by two people, facing each other, over
two rows of six pockets, or holes in the ground. Each player places four seeds
or stones in each of their six pockets and the players then take turns of
picking up all of the pieces from one of the pockets and dropping one of them
into another pocket one by one. The first player to empty all of the other
player’s pockets wins the game.
The Ayo game has become in recent
decades an important 'mind sport game'. Tournaments are held every year in
Western Africa, many European countries, and in Antigua and Barbuda in the
Caribbean. Opposite is a short video of two kids playing Ayo / Awale.
Whilst Ayo is often played with a
board, and great care is taken to craft a board with its twelve carved out
circular pockets and often elaborate carvings on its sides, Ayo can also be
played by simply marking out two rows of six pits in the ground, making the game
more accessible to poorer people, especially children who can then simply play
anywhere with sand or soft ground and a handful of stones for playing pieces.
After you've played this online Ayo game check out some of our other
traditional African games below including variations of Ayo, then explore the
ancient Egyptian game of Senet or try your hand at running an African farm and
see how well you cope with natural phenomena and seasons!