Never-Ending Moves in Bao

T. Kronenburg*, H.H.L.M. Donkers, A.J. de Voogt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Bao is a member of the large family of mancala games. It is generally considered to be the most complex mancala game with respect to the number of game rules (Townshend, 1986; De Voogt, 1995). Within the context of this note, it is impossible to describe the rules of Bao in their full length, so we restrict ourselves to the main discriminative characteristics, and to those rules that are necessary to understand the note. The complete rules for Bao can be found in De Voogt (1995) and also, adapted to computer Bao, in Donkers et al. (2005). An interesting question for Bao players is whether there are never-ending moves in Bao. The Bao masters of Africa do not believe that Bao can produce a never-ending move (De Voogt, 1995, p. 38). In contrast, Donkers and Uiterwijk (2002) argue that there is a high probability that a never-ending move does occur in real game play. In this note we present an over-view of never-ending moves; we discuss both trivial and complex never-ending moves. Moreover, we also show a never-ending move that occurs during a game of Bao. Finally, the implications of never-ending moves to the rules are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-78
JournalICGA Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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