Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, October 5, 2014

West African Game: How to Play the Liberian Game "Queah" | Free Printable Boardgame


Queah is a traditional game from the Queah tribe of Liberia. Traditionally, the game "board" was made from twigs, and the game pieces from sticks, with one players pieces cut slanted and called "men", while the other players pieces were cut straight and called "women". It continues to be played to teach children logical skills.

Queah is a two person strategy game, similar to checkers. The grid is made up of 13 slanted squares. Each player has 10 pieces, though only 4 are on the board during play. Like checkers, the goal is to capture your opponent's pieces by leaping over them.

We are having fun with this game - it can be simple, each taking turns capturing another. But to really get the challenge, you want to keep the other from capturing yours, and there's a rule about replacement pieces that makes this interesting...

Elle playing, and winning, against her father

Playing Queah

What you need:

 - 10 game pieces each - we used 10 pennies and 10 quarters. You could use two types of beans, as long as you can easily differentiate them.

This is the board game I put together to play with, and it includes a recap of the rules, as well as a light demarcation of where to put your game pieces to start.


How to Play:

Each player places four of his/her game pieces on the board as marked. The remaining pieces are kept as a reserve off the board.


Start up placement of game pieces

On your turn, you can move one game piece onto an adjacent empty square, moving diagonally. 


Arrows indicate the empty adjacent squares the middle game piece can move to, going diagonally.
The goal of the game is to capture your opponent's pieces. To capture a piece, you can leap over an adjacent opponent's piece onto the first space beyond it, which must be vacant. 



You can only capture one piece during your turn. Take the piece off the board.

When your piece has been captured, replace it with a piece in reserve. There should always be 4 game pieces for each player on the board, as long as that is possible. A replacement piece can be placed on any vacant spot on the board. Continue with your turn.

This seems to be the part that requires the most strategy. It can be easy to capture a piece, but then your opponent can put a new piece anywhere he/she wants, often resulting in his/her capturing your piece. This makes more sense once you start to play :)

The game ends when one player has no pieces left to play on the board. The winner has captured all of her/his opponent's pieces.

Have fun!

We also have two more West African board games you can make and play at home:
  • you can make your own mancala game of Oware that is very popular throughout Africa (and in our house), with our post here.
  • you can print and play the Nigerian game Derrah, a strategic game somewhat similar to Tic Tac Toe. Find our instructions here.

Find all our homemade toys and games here.


You can find more posts exploring culture, geography and history with kids at

Find more creative and enriching activities at the following linkups:

8 comments:

  1. Had not seen this before! Very interesting game! Thank you for sharing it with us #Pintorials

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  2. Oh, this is great!! Thank you for the download and the clear instructions. Also, thank you for linking up to the History and Geography Meme!

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    1. Thanks Phyllis - and thanks for hosting the link up!

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  3. You're so clever - your printable is so well done! I predict I will be using your entire site in the future for Africa studies!!

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    1. Thanks Claire, it was fun putting it together.

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  4. Thank you. Good simple multicultural resources can be hard to locate. This is well presented and encourages good attitudes.

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