| Enmediar, manddiaré, umdiyar, |
| Played in: |
Mauritania and Western Sahara
|Single lap game|
|First seed in the same hole|
|Holes captured between games|
| 2 to 12 holes per row |
but an even number
Um dyar (enmediar, manddiaré, umdiyar, um ed-dyar) is played by the Hassaniya-speaking population in western Mauritania, for instance in Boutilimit (Trarza province) and in Moudjéria (Tagant). Hassaniya is an Arab dialect heavily influenced by Tamazigh, a Berber language, that originated in the 15th century. At this time the Yemenite Beni Hassan tribe migrated to north-western Africa and subdued the indigenous Berber tribes over a period of 300 years. Hassaniya is today spoken in the western Sahara, from Niger to Mauritania. They constitute the majority of the population in Mauritania and southern Morocco. The Hassaniya call this region Trab el Bidan, i.e. '"Land of White People", in contrast to Bilal al Sudan, or "Land of Black People".
Um dyar is mostly played by young women, sometimes also by men. However, they do never play among themselves, just with women, for instance as a means of courtship.
The game is played all the year, but especially on Ramadan and during the hot hours at noon time.
Usually the holes are dug in the sand, but there are also traditional wooden boards. Some of them are made of one piece, while others consist of two halves.
The holes are called dyar (sing.: dar, i.e. "houses, inhabited places"). The seeds are called kyétan (sing.: kyit), probably related to kyit, Hassaniya for "odd".
The board is made of two rows of an even number of holes, between 2 and 12.
The number of seeds which are initially in each hole depends on the size of the board. A board which numbers just four holes has four seeds in each hole. Board that have eight or twelve holes have as many seeds as the whole board numbers holes or, alternatively, just as many as one row numbers holes. Large boards which have 16 or 24 holes have initially in each hole as many seeds as a row counts holes.
|Initial position on a 2x2 Board|
|Initial position on a 2x6 board|
|Another initial position on a 2x6 board|
|Initial position on a 2x12 board|
Each player controls the holes on his side of the board.
At his turn, a player takes the contents of any hole of his side of the board and sows them counterclocwise, one by one, starting in the very same hole from where he took them.
- If you move a singleton, it is put into the next hole counterclockwise.
If the last seed ends in a hole making a total of an even number of seeds, not greater than the initial number of seeds per hole, these seeds are captured and removed from the board.
If you have captured, you also get the contents of the preceding holes (in an unbroken sequence) that contain an even number of seeds, not greater than the initial number of seeds per hole.
If a player has no seeds to play with, he passes and his opponent plays again.
The game ends when all seeds are captured.
The player who has captured most seeds, wins the game.
If at the end of the game a single seed remains (i.e. there has been some mistake or cheating), the players who has an odd number of captured seeds loses one seed. These two seeds (the lost one and the seed remaining on the board) are not counted.
Usually you don't play just a game, but a match.
In the next game you start filling the holes with the captured seeds.
The winner fills all his holes with the standard initial number of seeds.
The looser fills all the holes he can with the standard number of seeds. If he some seeds remain, he puts them in another hole.
- The empty holes on the looser's side of the board are refilled with sand or marked somehow. In the next game you don't play in them.
- If the looser has not enough holes for his seeds, he reopens as many holes as he needs.
- There is no fixed rule about the order to close or reopen the holes. Sometimes they are openend from left to right. However, it is not important.
The winner of the match is who captures all the seeds and leaves the opponent with no holes on his side.
If there was a couple of seeds out of game (as seen above) they are given to the first player who makes a capture in the next game.
- Béart, C.
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