or Warri, is an ancient African game that has been likened to chess. Some scholars say the game was
played as early as 3500 B.C. in the countries of West Africa as well as in Egypt. Thus, Oware, at
times, has been called the oldest game in the world.
to the following site, Oware
History, “both stone and wood carvings of Oware boards have been found in the roofing
slabs of the Temple of Kurna at Thebes and in the summit of the great pylon at the entrance to
Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt.” The site also
claims that “similar discoveries have been made in Zimbabwe, Uganda and the Sudan.”
And In Nigeria, where I photographed the two young ladies at the right, variations of Oware
go by the names Ayo, Jerin-jerin and Ato J’odu.
a word of caution. This is not a game for dimwits or people with short attention spans. If you fall
into any of these categories, I strongly encourage you to seek another path to glory. Oware calls
for long-term strategic thinking and heavy doses of discipline. If you haven't been to the gym in 20
years, Oware is not for you.
ancestors brought Oware to the Caribbean. Although it was played on St. Croix when my parents were
kids, my generation grew up without it. I was in my mid-twenties when I first heard of this game. At
the time, I was an employee of the Cooperative Extension Service, and my former boss, Zoraida Jacobs
was trying to revive public interest in Oware.
Zoraida's leadership, we helped organize Oware competitions at the elementary and high school level.
To be honest, I remember neither the rules nor the objective of the game. Rather than make a fool of
myself, or risk having Zoraida "put me in my place", I'm going to refer you to the
the Bajan Way (This site focuses on the way
Oware is played on the island of Barbados)
(This site discusses some of the history of Oware; it also outlines some of the differences in the
game from region to region).