from the archives


by AWELE, MBARGA OWONA, Serge Bienvenu and friends.


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BOSTON, MA. received this paper before the Internet we all use today was available to the public.

A sowing game is played with grains that are sown in boxes dug in a wooden board. These boxes are replaced in two rows and a certain rotation is chosen in order to undertake thesowing. The aim of the game is to reap the maximum number of grains, accordingto rules based on their numerical distribution in the boxes.

The grains do not belong to any player. The only thing which determines which player has the right to manipulate them is their position. The game is played by two persons or against Kulu’s tribe (the word processor). The board is made up of 2 rows of boxes.

The number of boxes mainly depends on the origin and the variation of the game. The players operate one after the other, a strike is made when a player choses one of the boxes found on his side, takes the content and distributes sows in the following boxes, putting one grain per box.

If at the end of his turn, the player stops the grain distribution in one of his opponent’s boxes, there emerges two possibilities. If the content of the last box has between 0 and 4 grains, the player reaps the grains, and those of the preceding row, if their content ranges from 0 to 4 grains. If the content of the last box adds up to more than 4 grains, the player does not reap them and it is his opponent’s turn to play. The sowing game is a first step towards the knowledge of notions of sums for young teenagers, due to the arithmetical nature of their rules. But it is above all an excellent game of thought for adults thanks to a few concepts whose mastery enables one to distinguish the beginner from the old player.

One of the fundamental concepts is the notion of BIDOA LOGIC. It is that approach that is followed in order to develop this scheme. Several times one hears this sentence when two players are playing Sungo or Awele. There you are caught trick you as far are bidoas are concerned. But what does this strange word mean? What logic hides behind this vocabulary which is only used by Sungo experts and those of other sowing games. The idea of BIDOA LOGIC has a domination place in the exercise of the sowing game. It is true that the aim of the game is to stock pawns and have as many as possible. But, among the fervent followers of the game, one recognises the expert’s game in the art of defeating the opponent’s attempts to build a coherent game strategy. One can moreover note in that respect that in Sungo, victory is not obtained when one has the majority of pawns plus one; that is to say, you don’t have to reap more pawns than your opponent in order to win you have to fill one of his boxes during the redistribution of the harvest. This proves that the aim of the game is not to do some opamism, that is run after every vulnerable pawn. It is therefore essential to build a coherent strategy in order to win.

In order to do that oneuses a method based on a great anticipation. You therefore have to keep a kinematic look on the game at every moment, that is, master the movement of pawns and direct it. The notion of Bidoa is built in that effect. BIDOA is a function of apparaisal which enables you to build a game strategy based on the supplying of attics that one would like to build and feed.

BIDOA’S LOGIC’S is simple : If someone’s Bidoa is superior to that of his opponent he can then direct the movement of pawns as he or she likes. All the work is based on the development of equations then on the algorithm of that function in order to directive the choice of the machine towards the best game in a given game situation. This great evaluation function enables one to go through brutal methods of evaluation based on the search ofall possible shots. These types of steps usually lead to a real combinatory explosion because of the number of alternatives given by some games.