Traditional indigenous game in Ghana is such that it is rich in culture. Though it is peculiar to children and the youth, the elderly has its share in the game. The aim of the games played by children in the society was for body building exercise since formally gyms and other fitness centers were unavailable. These games also serve as recreational purposes, socialization and passing over the tradition of the old. Although the rise in technology and modernity has led to the introduction of new games, these traditional games in Ghana are still practiced in some parts of the country.
Traditional games can be grouped in terms of gender or age since varying games has its target players. For instance, games like ampe and tumatu are peculiar to females, while chaskele and rubber tie throwing are peculiar to males and games like chess, spa and draught are peculiar to adult males whereas others such as pempenaa, sansankroma and pilolo were for unisex.
These games could also be categorized into two which are indoor games and outdoor games.
Indoor games include Oware, Ludo, chess, spa etc. Outdoor games include ampe, kalo, pilolo, etc. However, these games can still be played indoors or outdoors.
Roll on while we take you through the various traditional indigenous games Ghana is endowed with.
To start with, the popular game everyone can mention is “Ampe”. It originated from Ghana and is mostly played by school age children. It is played by two or more players by clapping the hand and throwing the feet while jumping. This game has no referee and sores are counted by members of the game.
Secondly, “Ludo” is another game that requires a minimum of two players and a maximum of four players. Each player is represented by the colors red, blue, green and yellow. Each participant has four pieces, of his/her color, that he/she attempts to move safely around a board containing seventy-two spaces. Each move is performed by advancing a piece of an amount of spaces coinciding with the number reached by the roll of a die. A player who rolls a six gets to repeat his/her turn. The eventual destination of each piece is the “home space” in the middle of the board. A player can only place his/her pieces into the “home space” after they have successfully made a complete lap around the board. Players can frustrate the attempts of opponents to complete a lap when a player lands his/her own piece onto a space that is already occupied by an opponent’s piece. (1 Kofi C. Aguddoawu). Rules for Playing Oware abapa version. (Kumasi: Kofi Tall Enterprise, 1991). 19
One can also talk about “Oware” which is one of the world’s famous games although its origin is uncertain. It is known with different names from various countries or tribe. Ivory Coast calls it “Awalie”, Mali calls it “Wari” etc. This game requires an oware board and seeds with two players. A typical oware board has two straight rows of six pits where each player controls the rows on their side of the board. The processes involve objects, sowing, capturing and the end of the game where the winner of the game has his row intact and captures a part of the opponent’s row.
Rubber tie throwing is also a game played by boys where a rubber band is thrown to hit a wall in turns. If an opponent’s band falls on the other in a strategic way, he wins the ties and claims on. This is played till the last tie is worn.
Draught or Checkers is a group of strategic board game for two players which involves diagonal moves of uniform pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over an opponent’s pieces. This game is usually played by adult men in the society with so much enthusiasm and fun.
In a nutshell, these traditional games serve as a reflector in the Ghanaian society.