Omweso (The Board Game)

What is Omweso

Omweso is a traditional Ugandan  game played in pairs of 2 people, facing each other, taking turns by picking and moving the black-rounded playing tokens, locally known as “empiki” The game is played on a board with 4 rows of 8 holes with 64 black seed called 'empiki' divided into 32 to each of the two players.

When positioned between the players, the omweso board features the following items: Rows: four (4) horizontal lines each with 8 cells, Columns: eight (8) vertical lines each with 4 cells numbered, Reverse cells: the last two cells on the left-hand side of each player are reverse cells.

When playing, each player sits on one side of the board which is placed cross-wise between them. Each player owns or controls all the seeds in the sixteen cells in the two rows of cells next to him. i.e. player 1 owns seeds in rows a and b and player 2 in rows c and d.

There is an umpire who watches the game closely to enforce the rules and arbitrates on matters arising from the game, whose decision is final in the application of the rules during the course of the game.

Before the game starts, both players must check their tokens (counters) to make sure that each has 32 tokens. Each player puts either 4 tokens in each of the cells in a row he owns or 2 tokens in each of the cells of the two rows he owns. This pattern confirms that each of the players has the required number of tokens to begin with (32 tokens). The whole process of playing involves intricacies, tricks of enticement, maneuvers, trapping of the opponent, capturing his/her playing tokens and finally a victory due a minimum number of tokens each player must have to continue playing.



There are two incidences of achieving victory. Normal win: This is achieved when a player cannot play any tokens since he or she is left with cells having single tokens or none in them. The player who can no longer play any tokens loses the game.

Winning by default: This happens when a player captures tokens in two separate moves before the opponent has made his first capture of the game.