Mancala is a name given to a large family of "Pit and Seeds" or "Count, Sow and Capture" games - one of the oldest games known.
There are about 300 different Mancala games, some versions are simple like Kalah or Oware but others like Omweso or Bao can be very complicated as they are played on two boards and sometimes played in a reverse direction.
- Folding Wood board with 2 rows of 6 holes
- 48 colored stones
Players sit opposite to each other with the gameboard in between.
The Mancala 'board' is made up of two rows of six holes or pits.
The six small holes on your side of the gameboard belong to you.
Each player places 4 stones (of every color) in each of his 6 small cups.
Your scoring cup or store (a.k.a. mancala) is to your right.
Object of the game
Have most stones in your mancala after all the stones on one side of the gameboard are captured.
Choose a player to start and he will pick up all the pieces in any one of the holes on his side.
In a counter-clockwise direction, deposit one stone into each hole (including your mancala), but not your opponent's mancala until he run out of stones.
If you run into your own store, deposit one stone in it. If you run into your opponent's store, skip it.
If the last stone you drop is in your own store, you get a free turn.
After you do this and capture any stones, your turn is over.
The game continues with players alternating turns.
Capture a stone
If you place the last stone if your turn into an empty hole on your side of the board, you capture all of the pieces in the hole directly across from it on your opponent's side of the board.
Take all the captured stones and place them in your mancala.
End of the game
As soon as all the small six holes on one side of the board have been emptied, the game ends.
The player who still has stones on his side of the board when the game ends captures all of those stones too.
The players now count their stones in their mancala and the player with the most stones wins the game.
Game Rules for Kalah
The Rules in American commercial Mancala sets are act ually for Kalah.
Kalah was invented in 1940 by an American, William Julius Champion Jr. He started selling it in 1944, patented the design and rules in the 1950's and founded the Kalah Game Company in Holbrook, Massachusetts in 1958.
Kalah is played on a 2 X 6 Board with a "Kalah" at each end. Players sow pieces around the board, including one into their Kalah as they pass.
Cross captures are made when their last piece falls into an empty pit on a player's side, opposite an occupied pit on the opponent's side. A second play is allowed when it falls into t he Kalah. The game is won by captures.
The game has no African origins despite many claims to the contrary, even by its inventor, because there is no such game in the whole of Africa.