Oh-Wah-Ree - The World's Newest Oldest Game


Oh-Wah-Ree - The World's Newest Oldest Game


Oh-Wah-Ree is an example of a class of games known as "pit and pebble" games. They are known more formally as Mancala games after another specific example. The game in general consists of several "pits" into which "pebbles" have been placed.

There are several variations in play but most of them have the same basic features. A turn, or "lap" starts when a player scoops up all of the pebbles in one pit and "sows" them, one at a time, into pits moving counterclockwise around the board. If the last pebble sowed brings the number of pebbles in that pit to either two or three then the player "captures" all of the pebbles in the pit and removes them from the board. Play continues until no moves are possible at which time the player with the most captured pebbles is the winner.


Variations of games of this type have been in existence for around 3500 years. This version of the game comes with five or six variations, representing versions of the game played from Arabia to the orient. It also has a modern version of the game which allows for three or four players.

This is an interesting game. While I feel that some type of optimal strategy should be able to be worked out the fact that the game has been around for over three millennium strongly implies that there isn't one. The board is plastic and therefore not as nice as some of the other Mancala sets I have seen but it makes a nice addition to the bookshelf game lineup.

10 comments on Oh-Wah-Ree:

Baumi_B at June 29, 2014 08:28 said:
Check this out:
It contains a lot of variations:
p?p? at June 13, 2014 13:19 said:
when i bought the game i recieved a map with at least 17 diffrent monars to play
unfortunatly i lost the map
can anyone restore those manores to play
i remember one of them was making nests

i hope someone can make me happy
Rose at October 11, 2013 10:37 said:
Now i'm having a fit. Is there any one in the whole world with the rules to the game?
robert at August 18, 2013 14:46 said:
i was looking for how to play oh wah ree and this showed up.And this is a good thing about its history. bye.
Suzanne suzanneyager@rocketmail.com at January 27, 2013 17:04 said:
I bought Oh-Wah-Ree new when I was young. Sometime in the last fifty years I lost the rules. Where can I get a copy? Thank you.
wilma at January 9, 2013 13:24 said:
I would like the rules to the game-had the game since 1964. The 1stingames website is closed.
Donna at June 7, 2012 14:23 said:
I would like the rules to the game and the variations.
Aramis at December 5, 2008 10:22 said:
This board makes a nice resounding rattle as one plays. It's not quiet. It is, however, the best board setup I've seen for any mancala variation.

The 4-player and 3 player variants are also quite nice additions.

If one wants to "solid up" the board, carefully pull the plastic inserts, use them as molds for plaster of paris, and then use the plaster instead.

Alternatively, one can fill the underside with plasticine and put it back in.
Seth at October 16, 2008 01:43 said:
Thanks for the (very old) memories. The photos really brought it back in mind!

Dennis, The Gamepiler at February 13, 2008 08:08 said:
Roger, you can find the rules for Oh-Wah-Ree (in PDF format) at http://www.1stingames.com/rules/ohwahree/index.pdf

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