ǁHus

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ǁHus
Ranks Four
Sowing Multilap
Region Africa

ǁHus (also spelled Hus or ǁHüs, and sometimes called Omwela) is a traditional mancala played by Nama, Herero, Kwangari and other related ethnic groups from Namibia and neighbouring countries. It is related to the Omweso family of mancala games played in Eastern and Southern Africa, although this is an abstract strategy game, consequences of individual moves are so hard to predict that it can be considered, to some extent, a game of chance.

The "ǁ" (sometimes rendered as "‖", "//" or "||") at the beginning of the name is a lateral click, a type of click consonant.

Gameplay[edit]

A ǁHus board for sale in Swakopmund, Namibia.

Equipment[edit]

‖Hus requires a board of 4 rows of an even number of pits. 8-24 pits are most common. In addition, a number of undifferentiated seeds are needed depending on the size of the board.

Objective[edit]

The winner is the last player to be able to make a legal move, possible by capturing all an opponent's stones or reducing the opponent to no more than one seed in each pit.

Setup[edit]

Two seeds are placed in each of the outer pits. Two seeds are also placed in each of the four rightmost inner pits for each player.

2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 Empty Empty Empty Empty
Empty Empty Empty Empty 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Starting position for ǁHus.

Sowing[edit]

A player moves by selecting a pit with at least two seeds, and sowing them one by one around their side of the board in a counter-clockwise direction from the starting pit, the player may only sow from one of the sixteen pits in their territory, and the sowing proceeds around this territory, not directly involving the opponent's side.

Relay sowing[edit]

If the last sowed seed lands in a previously occupied pit, all seeds in that pit, including the one just placed, are immediately sown, before the opponent's turn, this continues until the last sowing ends in an empty pit.

Capturing[edit]

If the last seed sown lands in one of the player's eight inner pits, which is occupied, and furthermore both the opponent's pits in this same column are occupied, then all seeds from these two pits are captured and sown starting from the player's next pit in the sowing.

References[edit]