Giuthi Rules

by John P. Pratt
Sat 19 Sep 2009

Basic rules for all variations.

Fig. 1. Board before moving.
This is a complicated game similar to both Ayoayo in that it is multi-lap and Ethiopian Mancala in that play goes both directions. One should probably be familiar with both of those games before playing this one. The general method of picking all the stones out of one pit and sowing them one at a time counterclockwise was already covered in the page of Basic rules for all variations. Here are the specific other rules for Giuthi.

1. The game usually begins with six seeds in each pit. A player may only begin a move from a pit that has at least two seeds. That is, pits with only one seed can never be played.

Fig. 2. After moving Pit 6, but before continuing.
2. The seeds may be sown in either direction. When the seeds are sown, the capture pit is not included. If there are enough seeds in a pit to go all the way around the board, then no seed is dropped in the original pit that is being played. In other words, the pit being played always remains empty after a move. Figure 1 shows the board before the Lower Player moves, and Figure 2 shows it after Pit 5 is moved clockwise.

3. After the seeds are sown, if the last seed fell into a pit on either side of the board that already contained seeds, then all of the seeds are taken from that pit and sown again in the same manner, but in the opposite direction. If that final pit was not empty, then all of those seeds are removed and sown again in reverse direction. This multi-lap play continues until the last seed falls into an empty pit. That ends the turn. Figure 3 shows the board after this continuing move, being counterclockwise from the Upper Player's Pit 1.

Fig. 3. After continuing from Upper Pit 1.
4. A capture is made when the last seed sown lands in an empty pit on the player's side, and there are seeds in the pit opposite and the player has sown at least one seed into an opponent's pit. In that case all of the opponent's seeds in that opposite pit are captured, and also the final seed sown on the player's own side. If the opposite pit has no seeds, then the move is over and no seeds were captured. If the next pit on the player's side is also empty, and if there are seeds opposite, then those seeds of the opponent are also captured, and so on for all consecutive empty pits on the player's side. But if any of those pits opposite are empty, then the move ends at that point. That is, for the multi-pit capturing to proceed there must be seeds in each pit opposite. Also, if the final seed sown lands on the opponent's side, no seeds are captured.

Figure 4 shows the board after all of the captured seeds are put in the Lower Player's capture pit. All of the seeds in the Upper Pit 4 were captured because the final seed sown was into an empty pit opposite them. But the seeds in Upper Pit 5 were also captured because the following pit on the Lower Player's side was also empty and was immediately following it in the order of the move. If his Pit 1 were also empty, then the seeds opposite would also have been captured. But if Pit 1 was empty and Pit 2 were not, then only the seeds across from Lower Pit 3 would have been captured. If both of the Lower Pit 1 and 2 had also been empty, and the Upper Pit 5 had also been empty, then the capturing would have stopped with only those opposite Lower Pit 3. That is, no seeds would have been captured from the Upper Pit 5 or 6.

Fig. 4. After Upper Pits 4 & 5 captured.
Look at Figure 1 again. Note also that no capture could have been made by moving Pit 5 counterclockwise, even though the last of the two seeds would land in an empty pit, because no seeds would have been sown to the opponent's side. In that case the move would just end there.

5. A player who begins his turn with no legal move (remember pits with single seeds cannot be played), passes his turn and waits until he has a legal move. When neither side has a legal move then each player adds any single seeds left to his capture pit.

A Variation

I have seen rules given where the player's capture pit is included in sowing. In that case, if the final seed falls into the capture pit, the player's turn ends, rather than winning an extra turn as in Mancala. Allowing an extra turn gives too much advantage to the player. In some ways this might be a superior variation because it gets the game moving faster.