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Daramutu, or ELLAEWALA-KANDA.1
Play begins at any hole of the player's row. last seed of the set which is being sown falls in any empty hole the seeds in the opposite hole on the other side of the board are eaten.' The player then stops, and the opponent begins. If the last seed fall in a hole containing a puta or nagā it is treated as an empty one, and those in the opposite hole are eaten. In other respects the game resembles Puhul
The village women play all these games with astonishing rapidity. Without counting the seeds they are about to sow' they seem to know instinctively, perhaps as the result of long practice, at which hole it is best to begin in order to effect captures. An inexperienced person has no chance of beating them.
PALLANKULI or CHŌNKA.
This game, as played in Colombo by Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muhammadans is a very different one from those just described. Seven cowry shells, termed 'Dogs,' are placed in each hole as a preliminary, or 98 in all. Play may begin at any hole on a player's own side of the board, and may go round either to the right or left, the same direction being maintained throughout the game. The shells are 'sown' as usual, but the play differs from all the Kandian games in this-that each player after placing a shell in the last hole of his own row, puts the next one in his surplus hole for captured shells, called 'Tāchi,' and then continues to 'sow' in the same manner as before, along the holes on his opponent's side of the board. He does not place any shells in the opponent's tachi. The shells in both the tachi cannot be captured. If his last shell fall in an empty hole, he captures both that shell opposite hole on the other side of the board. also when the last one falls in his own tachi, and the opponent then plays in the same way.
and those in the In this case, and his turn is ended, When the last
1 The meanings of these terms are doubtful.
shell falls into a hole containing others, all, unless it be the tāchi, are taken out and sown as before.
The game ends in one round, and the winner is the person who first finishes his shells.
WORŌ, the game in Senegambia.
In some respects this game exhibits a closer resemblance to the Kandian game than to the Egyptian or Arabic one. Four disk-like Lenkō seeds of a dark colour, with rather flat sides, are first placed in each of the twelve holes, or 48 in all. The play always goes round to the right, and each player may begin at any hole on his own side of the board. He'sows' the seeds, now called Worō, and not Dogs or Lenkō, in the same way as in the Puhulmutu game; but only captures or 'eats' those on the opponent's side of the board. This occurs when the last seed falls into a hole on that side which contains either one or two seeds. He then captures not only the seeds in that hole, but also those in other holes which have the same number on that side of the board, provided they follow each other consecutively, without the intervention of holes containing other numbers.
The play is very simple, and ends with the first round, the loser being the player who has no seed on his side of the board when his turn comes to play. All the captured seeds are deposited in the two end holes, each of which is called a Worōhouse' (Worō buņō), and are then finally out of play. The cups are called 'Worō-holes.' Both men and women are accustomed to amuse themselves with this game, and I was informed that no other variety of it is known in that part of Africa.
Richard Jobson saw this game played in the Gambia territory early in the seventeenth century. He remarked concerning it, 'In the heat of the day, the men will come forth, and sit themselves in companies, under the shady trees, to receive the fresh aire, and there passe the time in communication, having only one kind of game to recreate themselves withall, and that is in a peece of wood, certaine great holes cut, which they set upon the ground betwixt two of
them, and with a number of some thirty pibble stones, after a manner of counting, they take one from the other, untill one is possessed of all, whereat some of them are wondrous nimble.' 1
The Arabian game differs greatly. As a preliminary, any two holes on one side and one hole on the other are left empty; in each of the other nine holes are placed eight cowry shells, which are termed 'Dogs.' Play begins anywhere on the player's own side of the board, and always goes to the right. Sowing is effected as in Puhulmutu, until the last shell drops into an empty hole. If this occur during the first two sowings round the board, in which no captures are made, the player stops, and the opponent begins to play; but on subsequent occasions he eats' the Dogs in the opposite hole, whether on his own or his opponent's side of the board, as in the Daramutu game. He then continues his play, moving into the next hole the last shell which he had just put down, and sowing the shells out of that one, and so on, until his last shell falls into an empty hole opposite which there are no Dogs to be eaten. The other player then commences, and plays in the same way. After each player has once sown the shells, the succeeding player must always begin at the next hole to that at which his opponent ended, unless it be empty, in which case he begins at the following one containing shells.
The game is a rapid one, and ends with the first round, the winner being the person who has 'eaten' most Dogs.
This game is played with 70 cowry shells, called 'Dogs.' At first all the shells are deposited by one of the players, without counting them, in the four middle holes, the eight end ones being left empty. His opponent feels them with the backs of the fingers of his closed fist, and if he be satisfied with their distribution he begins to play. In case the arrangement be not to his liking he turns the board round and tells the other player to begin.
1 The Golden Trade, 1623, Reprint, p. 48.
Play commences on the player's own side of the board, at the right-hand filled hole, and always passes to the left. The shells are sown' as in Puhulmutu, but each player stops when his last shell falls into a hole in which it makes an odd number. But in the early part of the game if it fall into one of the holes full of shells they are not counted; it is assumed that the number is an even one, and the player takes all out and continues to sow them round the holes, commencing at the next one. After both players have had one turn at sowing they begin subsequent sowings at any hole on their own side of the board.
If, when a player has dropped each last shell, there be any even pairs of shells in opposite holes on the two sides of the board, whether twos, fours, sixes, eights, or tens, beyond which they are said not to run, he 'eats' the whole of these pairs. This is the only way in which the shells are captured.
The game ends in one round, when one of the players has no shells on his side of the board after his opponent stops playing; and the winner is he who has captured or 'eaten' the greatest number. The Bedawi who showed me the game assured me that his people knew no other way of playing, but Lane describes slightly different methods as practised by the Egyptians.1
As to the country in which this widely-diffused and most popular of all indoor games was invented, the manner of beginning the Arabian and Egyptian games exhibits such a radical difference from the Senegambian and Indian or Kandian-Sinhalese games, with their simple and natural mode of distributing the seeds in the cup-holes, that it is difficult to believe that these last can have been derived from them. It is much more probable that the Indian and Senegambian variants were borrowed directly, or through their introduction by traders, from an original form of the game as practised in Ancient Egypt, and perhaps developed from a simple type in which only eight or ten holes were used. The Arabian games may have been evolved independently from one of the same
1 Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 1896, p. 357.
early Egyptian forms. Only in this way does it seem possible to account for the close similarity between the Sinhalese and the West African games, and their variation from the Arabian game. THE ARABIAN AND AFRICAN SIGA.
This game, in which a player captures an opponent's pieces by enclosing them between two of his own, appears to be unknown in Ceylon, and, so far as I could learn, also in India. As another game also termed 'Sīga' is played in Ceylon and India, I first give an account of the Arabian and West African
Lane has described the manner of playing Siga in Egypt, on square diagrams of 25, 49 or 81 compartments, each player having respectively 12, 24, or 40 counters called Dogs,1 so that when all are placed on the diagram only one square in the centre is vacant. According to Falkener, this is a modification of one of the oldest games known, the 'Senat' of the Ancient Egyptians.2
There are several Siga 'boards' of shallow saucers cut upon the roof slabs of the Kūrna temple, the numbers of the holes being 25 and 49; and the game played at Luxor is exactly the same as that in Cairo described by Lane, the number of holes being commonly 25.
Each player in turn puts down two counters anywhere on the board excepting in the central hole, which is left unfilled. When all have been put down the next person to play moves a counter into the vacant hole, and if on doing so he can enclose one of his opponent's pieces between it and another of his own pieces, he captures the piece so enclosed, and removes it from the board. All pieces are taken in this manner; in each case one of the capturing pieces must be moved horizontally or vertically, and not diagonally, out of an adjoining hole for the purpose of enclosing it. The counters which enclosed the captured piece do not take its place. After capturing one
1 Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 1896, p. 361. 2 Games-Ancient and Oriental, 1892, p. 71.
3 These holes are perhaps of much later date than the early diagrams already mentioned as being on the same roof, but they were certainly made by men who were excellent stone-cutters.