BAWO - Simple Perplexity
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bawo is the Malawian version of an ancient African board game based around a simple counting apparatus. bawo (Malawi), bao (Tanzania) and omweso (Uganda) belong to the globally prevalent (spread by the African diaspora) mancala group of "count and capture" board games, the more complex (four-rank) of which are played in Bantu Africa. bawo was played in some form in Kamit, "the land of blacks", ancient Egypt, and has even retained this name.

although the apparatus required is simple (several holes in the ground and seeds of common trees suffice), bawo is as complex as checkers and even chess, sometimes. hence the subtitle: Simple Perplexity. join the mancalagames yahoo group for more information and an online community.

jBawo 1.0 is a java program which allows single-user (against the computer) or dual-user playing of bawo via an internet browser or personal computer with Java installed.

there are many variations in the rules. the ones that apply in this applet are detailed here. the one difference is in the initial setup for the advanced yokhoma mode of playing.

learners are advised to familiarise themselves with the novice yawana ("for kids") mode of playing b4 trying the advanced yokhoma ("of knocking" from the sound one makes when sowing a token in a bowl).

if there's white space above instead of an 8by4 matrix of circles then Java is probably not enabled in your browser.

this may be remedied in Mozilla Firefox by installing the Java Plug-In.

this site's mirrored at there's also a project page at

Valid CSS!