In essence, the game is a roll-and-move board game, simple enough for players starting from 4 years of age, but equally entertaining for the whole family. Players travel through Africa in search of the famous diamond, the Star of Africa. The diamond is hidden in one of the upside down game markers. Besides the famous diamond, the markers might reveal other jewels. They are worth some game money but do not win the game as the diamond does. The markers also include less pleasant surprises such as the bandits.
The game was invented by Kari Mannerla and first published in 1951. It quickly became popular in Finland and has over time been translated to 16 languages; over 4 million games have been sold internationally. After 60 years the game has remained popular – and almost the same. Besides some small clarifications to the rules, this original game version is sold as it was 60 years ago. The world has changed remarkably during this time, but the illustrations on the game board and the markers are unchanged and representative for the colonial times during which the game was invented, During the years, the African Star theme as featured in a multitude of products, such as bedding sets, rugs, mugs, pencils and other types of games.