General Contest 110: vol. 19, issue 4 “Oh-Wah-Ree”

There were no answers for the contest we posted last week, from the Gladiator issue of the General (Vol. 18, Issue 4).  As the General seems to have NOT published their particular answer to this one, it’s hard to see what their take on the “best possible move” might have been.  I can’t find it. Academic in any instance as nobody answered.

This week we have a contest from Vol 19, issue 4.  The game that is the subject of this contest is “Oh-Wah-Ree“, which was Avalon Hill’s mid-70s charming way of naming their version of Oware.  Oh-Wah-Ree was first published by 3M (in a beautiful edition, I own it), then by Avalon Hill after the latter company acquired 3M in the 1970s.  The game rules (as written by 3M and published by Avalon Hill) are located at this link here. That’s important, as there are a lot of variations on play with this game, and you want to use the 3M originals to answer this contest.

The text of the contest reads like so:

It is Red’s turn to play in a tense and close game of OH- WAH-REE. It is obvious, even to a novice, that Green threatens a capture. In order to enter
this contest, merely specify what Red’s best move is, under these trying circumstances.  Simply list the pit from which Red will take pebbles to make his

Pit Red will play from: (illustration follows)

Contest 100, from Vol 19, issue 4 of the General Magazine

From the Boardgame Geek Game Wiki:

Oware is one of the most played games in the Mancala Family of pit and pebbles games. It is the National game of Ghana and the word “oware” means “He She Marries”. The mythology behind the name is believed by many to be the result of a wedding between a man and a woman and the dowry (represented by fields (pits) and seeds. Basically, your playing for fruitful paddocks.

The game as played in Ghana is a social event and is commonly played on the street. Heckling, banging the fist and mocking are all allowed. The game is also used in education amongst the Asanti children for the development of maths skills.

Most of the oware available in Ghana is hand carved and comes with traditional symbols of the Asanti people carved into the wood. The traditional playing seeds are Bonduc seeds. A bright green seed with a hard shell. Stones and sometimes recycled glass are used

As for the other games in the Mancala Family, the rules differ from country to country, however for Oware there is an international organization which sets the standard.

The basic object of the game is to capture more seeds than your opponent. This is done by landing the last seed you are “sowing” in a pit on the opponents side which contains one or two seeds. Other rules allow multiple capture and the avoidance of “stalemates”.

Online and Play-by-Email, Play by Web versions of Oware:

BGG Wiki page on the Mancala Family of Games

(thanks to John (see comments) for correcting my 3W/3M gaffe!! there was a huge difference between the two)


  1. You mean first published by 3M, not 3W. 3M (the Scotch Tape people) sold a line of adult games to Avalon Hill in the ’70s. 3W originated The Wargamer and eventually published S&T for a spell.

  2. Absolutely, John, sorry, a boneheaded error. 3M made great games. 3W made… well, an occasionally interesting wargame. I’ll make the change.


  3. I think I would play A3. I would still lose 4 when B goes, but I would not be quite as crippled after that for the follow on moves. A6 would cripple you after that round. A1 would seem to set you up for losing everything else in the next 3 rounds.

    I would have tried the first one, but the link to the rules would not open for me.

  4. Dewey: I’m not exactly sure WHERE Avalon Hill published the answers to these things, so consider them little “thought exercises” until I can find the so-called “official” right solution. I have a vast archive of Generals to research, which is a fun pastime in and of itself. Maybe I should email Don Greenwood about it. Oh, btw, there’s a rumor that the Gladiator rulebook is here: but you probably don’t want to access rapidshare from work.

    • On a side note, i FINALLY bought the paper ships for Roman Seas. I figured I had enough crews painted now to get them started. Now I have to find the right bases for them.

      • Oddly enough, Dewey, I bought Roman Seas (the rules and extra gizmos) last week, and am seriously contemplating getting the ships soon. The smallest base I’ve seen (metal) was 1/4 x 1/4 inch square. I still think that’s too big. I was considering mounting the 6mm figs on pieces of thick cardstock or maybe plastic spruce sheets.

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