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Awale, the african game


Awale is a software to play the famous game widely spread in Africa.

In this page, you can find some general informations on awale. This is also the official site for the software awale. awale is distributed under the GNU general public licence. You can freely download awale and enjoy to play with it.


The official release is awale-1.0.

The version 1.0 of awale is based on an improved min-max Von Neuman's algorithm. It is particularly efficient due to the low number of choices at each turn. The mean depth of research is about 10 at the beginning of the game. But it depends on the capacities of your computer and the level of the game.


Rules of Ivory Coast

Awale game contains two lines of six holes. Each player plays a single line, the upper line for the computer and the lower line for the player. Other pair of holes are used for eaten stones.

Every holes contain four stones at the beginning of the game.

One plays alternately. One never play two turns, one cannot pass his turn.

When playing, take all the stones of a hole in your line and distribute it in successive holes turning counterclock wise, one stone per hole. Do not put a stone in the starting hole (this case arrives when the starting hole contains more than twelve stones.)

The stones of the arrival hole are eaten when the arrival hole lies in the opponent line and contains two or three stones (after all stones are distributed). All contiguous previous holes which meet this condition are also eaten. It is possible to eat a maximum of four holes, when five holes are eatable, only the last four ones are eaten.

Players have to play so as the opponent always has at least one stone. In case it is impossible, the game stops.

The winner is the player who has eaten the most stones.


Various rules are played in west Africa. Here are the rules generally played in Ivory Coast. However, even in Ivory Coast, several variants can be encountered.

The first variant is concerned with the maximum number of holes that can be eaten. Generally the maximum is four, but sometimes, african players admit that there is no maximum (indeed, six is then the maximum).

Another variant is that when you are in position to eat more than four holes and you play it, you eat nothing at all. In this implementation of the game, we have admitted that the maximum number of holes to be eaten is four, and that when more than four holes are eatable, you eat the last four holes.

It exists an additional rule tacitly admitted. The winner let the last stone of the game to its challenger. This rule is not implemented in awale.

Africans play very rapidly. A maximum of few seconds of thought is tolerated. But usually, you must decide your move almost immediatly. This game is based on a rapid assessment of the position and on memory rather than a long thought. Typical duration for a game is about ten minutes.


Tarball for the source files is available at http://download.savannah.nongnu.org/releases/awale.


To compile the source of awale, first untar the tarball with
tar -zxvf awale-1.0.tar.gz
then enter in the directory awale-1.0
cd awale-1.0
configure the makefile with
compile the source
finally install the package (under root)
./make install
It should well works. Complete instructions for installation are available in the file INSTALL.


To play with the GUI interface, type

You can play in interactive mode in a shell window by typing,
This mode provides many options available with
awale -h or man awale
In particular, you can start the game at any position, and you can test a single move. It is particularly convenient if you want to analyse a move when playing with another human player.


The GUI interface is written in Tcl/Tk. This shell is installed on most GNU/Linux or Unix systems. But usually, it is not installed on Windows. In case it is not installed, download the library at http://www.tcl.tk/software/tcltk.


Awale is developped by Alain Le Bot and Laurent Le Bot. But other developpers are welcome.

Bug report and requirements to awale-developpeur@nongnu.org

Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Le Bot, Last revision 25 february 2007