An image of a board game

Small groups of men, women, and children under big trees weren’t an unusual sight back in the olden days. This gathering can be sponsored by sheer boredom from a lack of work to do or a bid to wind off after a day of having so much to do. Either way, games were a major part of connecting with other people and also an avenue to get the latest news in town.

There are several popular games that have been played in Nigeria for generations. Here are the most popular ones among them:

1. Ayo Olopon

Ayo is a popular board game that is played by two people. It involves strategy and involves moving seeds or stones around a board to capture your opponent’s seeds. Ayo Olopon is a popular board game played in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Consequently, the game is played with small seeds or beads, and it can be played by two or four players.

Here are the basic rules for playing Ayo Olopon:

  •  Set up the board: Ayo Olopon is played on a board with two rows of six holes, or “houses,” on each side. Each player has their own row of holes, and the game starts with four seeds in each hole.
  •  Choose a starting player: The starting player is chosen by tossing a coin or playing rock-paper-scissors.
  •  Take turns: Players take turns picking up all the seeds from one of the holes on their side of the board and planting them, one by one, in the holes on the other side of the board in a clockwise direction. Players may not plant seeds in their opponent’s holes.
  •  Capture seeds: If the last seed planted lands in an empty hole on the player’s side of the board and the hole opposite it contains seeds, those seeds are captured and added to the player’s score.
  • End the game: The game ends when one player captures 25 seeds or more, or when the board is empty and no more captures can be made. The player with the most seeds wins the game.

2. Ludo

Ludo is a board game that is played by rolling a die and moving coloured tokens around the board to try to be the first player to get all of your tokens to the centre. Subsequently, ludo is a popular board game played with dice and pieces, and it is enjoyed by children and adults around the world.

Here are the basic rules for how to play Ludo:

  • Set up the board: Ludo is played on a board with a square grid of spaces, and each player has four pieces of their colour. The board also has a central area called the “home” where each player’s pieces start, and four corner spaces called “safety” spaces.
  • Choose a starting player: The starting player is chosen by rolling a die. The player with the highest roll goes first.
  •  Take turns: On each turn, a player rolls a die and moves one of their pieces to the number of spaces shown on the die. Players must follow the path around the board and may not move their pieces in the opposite direction. If a player rolls a 6, they get to roll again.
  •  Enter the home row: If a player’s piece lands in the same space as an opponent’s piece, the opponent’s piece is sent back to their home space and must start again. When a player’s piece lands in a safe space, it cannot be sent back home.
  •  Win the game: The first player to move all four of their pieces into their home row and then onto their home space wins the game.

3. Draughts

Draughts is a board game played on a checkerboard where players take turns moving their pieces diagonally to try to capture the opponent’s pieces.

Draught (also spelt “draft”) is a popular board game played with small stones or seeds, and it is enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. The game is played on a board with a square grid of spaces, and the goal is to capture your opponent’s pieces or block their movements.

Here are the basic rules for how to play draught:

  • Set up the board: Place the board on a flat surface and give each player a set of pieces to use as game pieces.
  • Players should place their pieces on the spaces of the board that correspond to their colour.
  • Choose a starting player: The starting player is chosen by rolling a die. The player with the highest roll goes first
  • Take turns: On each turn, a player must move one of their pieces forward to an adjacent space. Players may not move their pieces backwards or skip spaces.
  • Capture pieces: If a player lands on a space occupied by an opponent’s piece, they may capture that piece by removing it from the board. Players may capture multiple pieces in a single turn by “jumping” over them.
  • Win the game: The game continues until one player has captured all of their opponent’s pieces, or until the board is blocked and no more captures can be made. The player with the most pieces remaining on the board wins the game

4. Suwe

Suwe is a traditional children’s game played in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. The game is played with small stones or seeds, and it is similar to the game of “hopscotch.”

Here are the basic rules for playing Suwe:

  • Draw the playing field: Suwe is played on a field marked with a series of numbered squares or boxes, usually drawn on the ground or on a flat surface.
  • Choose a starting player: The starting player is chosen by tossing a coin or playing rock-paper-scissors.
  • Take turns: Players take turns tossing a small stone or seed into the first square. If the stone lands within the boundaries of the square, the player may proceed to the next square. If the stone lands outside the square, the player must forfeit their turn.
  • Skip squares: Players may skip squares if they land on a square with an odd number. They must return to the skipped square on their next turn.
  • Win the game: The first player to reach the end of the playing field and successfully toss their stone into the final square wins the game.

5. Boju Boju

Boju Boju is a traditional children’s game played in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. It is similar to the game of “hide and seek,” and it is often played by children and young people.

Here are the basic rules for playing Boju Boju:

  • Choose a “seeker”: One player is chosen to be the “seeker,” and they close their eyes and count to a predetermined number while the other players hide.
  • Find the other players: The seeker then opens their eyes and tries to find the other players, who are hiding in the playing area.
  • Tag the other players: If the seeker finds a player, they must chase and try to tag them before they can escape and hide again.
  • Win the game: The game continues until all the players have been found and tagged, or until the seeker gives up. The last player to be found is the winner.

In essence, these games have been played since ancient times and continue to be popular today. There are many variations of the rules for these games, and the specifics of how the game is played may vary from region to region.

By Tosin Kolawole

Nigeria is home to Tosin Kolawole, a content writer and brand consultant. He is an avid fan of sports, most especially football and tennis. He enjoys reading, writing, learning, and watching movies. He is keen on helping brands and platforms like Haba Naija launch into an area of excellence. He dedicates his time and energy to producing outstanding content in genres such as education, finance, technology and other related niches

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