Mancala

MancalaPlayers | 2

Equipment

  • 36 markers
  • Playing board

The Basics

The goal of the game is to accumulate as many markers as possible.

The Board

Place the board so that the Store (the large hollow on each end of the board) are directly in front of each player.

Placing the Markers

Before play begins, both players place three markers in each hollow in the row to the players’ right. Both Stores begin the game empty.

Moving

Decide which player goes first (flip a coin). The first player scoops up all the pieces in any of the hollows on their side (the right side) of the board. Moving toward your Store and around the board, dropping one marker in each of the hollows including your Store until there are no more markers left in your hand.

  • If the last marker is dropped into your own Store, you may go again
  • Do not drop any pieces in your opponents’ Store. Skip your opponents’ Store and keep moving around the board in a clockwise direction.
  • If the last marker you drop lands in an empty hollow, capture all the pieces in the hollow opposite that hollow into your Store

Take turns until all the hollows on one side of the board are empty

Winning

When one side of the board is empty, the person with markers remaining in the left side of the board places all of those markers in their own Store. The winner is the person with the most markers.

History

If these rules don’t sound exactly like the way you originally learned, that’s because mancala is a game so old there is evidence of it being played in 1400BC. It may be one of the oldest games in the world. Historically, mancala was regularly played by drawing the board on tables with chalk or by digging hollows into dirt. Playing pieces were often whatever was readily available – pieces of grain, pebbles, shells, etc.

Icon of Mancala Mancala (137.4 KiB)