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free awale is a free software distributed under the distributed under the GNU general public licence. You can freely download, use, modify and re-distribute free awale provided the GPL licence is maintained.

The version 1 of free awale is based on an improved min-max Von Neuman's algorithm. It is particularly efficient due to the low number of choices at each turn. The mean depth of research is about 10 at the beginning of the game. But it depends on the capacities of your computer and the level of the game.

In this page, you can find some general information on the game awale. This is also the official site for the software free awale. The web site for the development of free awale is http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/awale.


Release 1.5 now available

The official release is awale-1.5.

History of releases

18 february 2012, release 1.5
Step by step distribution of seeds for a better visualisation of moves.

30 july 2009, release 1.4
Display up to 15 seeds per hole.
Permanent save of all game options.
Several bugs fixed.

6 may 2008, release 1.3
The rule can now be configured in order to match other standard rules.
Permanent save of language.
Implementation of cyclic end game.

31 august 2007, release 1.2
Level 0 for beginners is added, level 1 is slightly decreased.
The hole played by the computer is highlighted.
Translation of the rule in Spanish.

13 may 2007, release 1.1
Possibility to save/open files of games and therefore to re-play old games.

17 February 2007, release 1.0
Initial release.

Before 2007, versions 0.x
Versions 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 were respectively written in C++, VisualBasic and FORTRAN90. They were not released.


free awale provides a graphical interface with all standards options. Here are some examples of screenshots for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and Windows.

Mac OS X GNU/Linux Windows


Rules of Ivory Coast

Awale game contains two lines of six holes. Each player plays a single line, the upper line for the computer and the lower line for the player. Other pair of holes are used for eaten seeds.

Every holes contain four seeds at the beginning of the game.

One plays alternately. One never play two turns, one cannot pass his turn.

When playing, take all the seeds of a hole in your line and distribute it in successive holes turning counterclock wise, one seed per hole. Do not put a seed in the starting hole (this case arrives when the starting hole contains more than twelve seeds.)

The seeds of the arrival hole are eaten when the arrival hole lies in the opponent line and contains two or three seeds (after all seeds are distributed). All contiguous previous holes which meet this condition are also eaten. It is possible to eat a maximum of four holes, when five holes are eatable, only the last four ones are eaten.

Players have to play so as the opponent always has at least one seed. In case it is impossible, the game stops.

The winner is the player who has eaten the most seeds.


Various rules are played in west Africa. Here are the rules generally played in Ivory Coast. However, even in Ivory Coast, several variants can be encountered.

The first variant is concerned with the maximum number of holes that can be eaten. Generally the maximum is four, but sometimes, African players admit that there is no maximum (indeed, six is then the maximum).

Another variant is that when you are in position to eat more than four holes and you play it, you eat nothing at all. In this implementation of the game, we have admitted that the maximum number of holes to be eaten is four, and that when more than four holes are eatable, you eat the last four holes.

It exists an additional rule tacitly admitted. The winner let the last seed of the game to its challenger. This rule is not implemented in free awale.

Africans play very rapidly. A maximum of few seconds of thought is tolerated. But usually, you must decide your move almost immediately. This game is based on a rapid assessment of the position and on memory rather than a long thought. Typical duration for a game is about ten minutes.


Tarball for the source files and binary distributions are available at http://download.savannah.nongnu.org/releases/awale.

Binary distribution for Mandriva

A binary distribution for Mandriva is available in the file awale-1.x-1mdv2009.1.i586.rpm. Just download this file and double click on it. This will install the game free awale on your computer.

Binary distribution for Debian or Ubuntu

A binary distribution for Debian or Ubuntu is available in the file awale_1.x-1_amd64.deb (64 bits) or awale-1.x-1_i386.deb (32 bits). Just download this file and double click on it. This will install the game free awale on your computer.

Binary distribution for Mac Intel OS X

A binary distribution for Macintel is available in the file awale-1.x-macOSX.dmg. Download this file, mount the virtual disk and copy the file awale.app in your directory Applications.

Binary distribution for Windows

Download and execute awale-1.x-w32.exe. This will install the game free awale on your computer. The library Tcl/Tk must have been installed (see below).

Compiling for GNU/Linux systems

To compile the source of free awale in GNU/Linux systems, first download the tarball awale-1.x.tar.gz and untar it with
tar -zxvf awale-1.x.tar.gz
then enter in the directory awale-1.x
cd awale-1.x
configure the makefile with
compile the source
finally install the package (under root)
make install
It should well work. Complete instructions for installation are available in the file INSTALL.

Compiling for Mac OS X system

To compile the source of free awale in Mac OS X system, first install the development tools Xcode available on Mac OS X Install disc 2 and download the tarball awale-1.x.tar.gz. On my macbook, the tarball has been automatically uncompressed, therefore untar command is
tar -xvf awale-1.x.tar
then enter in the directory awale-1.x
cd awale-1.x
configure the makefile with
./configure --mandir=/usr/local/share/man
compile the source
be root
sudo su
finally install the package
make install
It should well work. Complete instructions for installation are available in the file INSTALL.


To play with the GUI interface on all GNU/Linux systems and Mac OS X, type
in a shell window. Indeed, you can customize your desktop and place free awale in a toolbar. The exact way to do that depends on your Desktop environment.

To play free awale in windows, simply double click on the shortcut that has been added on your desktop during the installation process.

In all systems, you can play in interactive mode in a shell window by typing,
This mode provides many options available with
awale -h
man awale
In particular, you can start the game at any position, and you can test a single move. It is particularly convenient if you want to analyse a move when playing with another human player.


The GUI interface is written in Tcl/Tk. This shell is installed on most GNU/Linux or Unix systems. But usually, it is not installed on Windows. In case it is not installed, download the library at http://www.tcl.tk/software/tcltk.


Discover splendid and authentic African awales.


Awale is developed by Alain Le Bot , Laurent Le Bot, Diana Martin de Argenta and Christian Gruber. But other developers are welcome.

Bug report and requirements to awale-developpeur@nongnu.org

Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Le Bot, Last revision 6 january 2014