24th July 1998 at 01:00
If you are looking for a game with a difference when you're holed up indoors because of the weather, try Wari. It's for two players - over seven years old - which consists of a yellow Swedish pine board, 12 cups and 48 seeds or counters.

Four seeds are placed in each of the 12 cups and each player takes one side of the board (six cups). The idea is to capture as many of your opponent's seeds as possible, and the player with the most seeds at the end of the game is the winner.

Each player in turn takes all the seeds out of a cup on their side of the board and drops one seed in each of the next cups moving in an anti-clockwise direction. If the last seed is dropped in an opponent's cup that contains one or two seeds, the player captures those seeds.

It tests your counting and sequencing skills because you have to work out each move mentally, by counting the number of seeds in your cups and estimating which cup to move from to capture your opponent's seeds.

It's an ancient game that has spread over the years from Egypt, through Africa and then to the Americas. I first encountered it in Antigua, where I was not allowed to play until I had first demonstrated that I was intellectually up to it by naming the five senses.

Very original, but is it any fun? If you'd told me that a lump of wood with 12 cups and 48 seeds would keep my two technologically sophisticated children lost in concentration for hours on end, I would have said you'd taken leave of (all five of) your senses. But, like all the good ideas, the simplest ones are often the best. It's just a shame this version is so expensive.

Ann Mroz

Wari costs Pounds 40, from Banyan African and Caribbean Products, 243 Mount Road, Penn, Wolverhampton WV4 5RU

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