Nigeria: How to Play Ayo

About Ayo

Ayo (pronounce aah-yoh) is a traditional game played by the Yoruba people who reside in South Western Nigeria. Known as the "Game of the Intellectual", this game requires a lot of mathematical skill. Ayo is played in with carved wooden box, containing twelve holes (with six holes on each side), and 48 Ayo seeds (four seeds in each hole). 

How to Play

This two player game runs counter-clockwise. Players can only pick up seeds from their side of the board, unless they are “capturing” seeds from the opponent’s side of the board. The objective is to “capture” all your opponent’s seeds.

Step 1
The first player begins by picking up all of the seeds from one of their holes, and running them counter-clockwise.

Step 2
The opponent does the same, starting from their side.

Step 3
If the seed movement ends in a hole with four Ayo seeds on the opponent’s side, the player “captures” those seeds.

Step 4
When this happens, they win one “house” and remove the seeds from the game.

Step 5
The opponent must always choose their move to bring one or more seeds into the other’s row.

Step 6
Players take turns until the seeds are exhausted.

Step 7
If a player records three straight wins, they become a champion (ota). The loser (ope) quits, and a new player then takes over.

Step 8
Have fun playing Ayo!


Be sure to post your game on social media using the hashtag #SurreyFusion and tag @surreybcevents.

About Nigeria

Nigeria, country located on the western coast of Africa. Nigeria has a diverse geography, with climates ranging from arid to humid equatorial. However, Nigeria’s most diverse feature is its people. Hundreds of languages are spoken in the country, including Yoruba, Igbo, Fula, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio, Tiv, and English. The country has abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum and natural gas.


The country has 527 languages, seven of them are extinct. Nigeria also has over 1150 dialects and ethnic groups. The six largest ethnic groups are the Hausa and Fulani in the north, the Igbo in the southeast, and the Yoruba predominate in the southwest, the Tiv people of North Central Nigeria and the Efik - Ibibio. The Edo people are most frequent in the region between Yorubaland and Igboland. Many of the Edo tend to be Christian. This group is followed by the Ibibio/Annang/Efik people of the coastal south southern Nigeria and the Ijaw of the Niger Delta.


Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise Nigeria. Like other West African cuisines, it uses spices and herbs with palm or groundnut oil to create deeply flavored sauces and soups. Nigerian feasts are colourful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are in abundance and varied.

Pounded yam is one of Nigeria's most popular dishes that can be served with a variety of soups like Egusi, Ogbono, Vegetable and Okro soup. Yam, which is widely available, is boiled and pounded into a smooth mash. You'll most likely find people eating pounded yam with Egusi, Banga, Ogbono or some other meal.


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