Many Historians believe that
Mancala is the oldest game in the world. The word Mancala means
"to transfer" in Arabic. That is exactly what you do;
you transfer, or move, playing pieces from one bin to another.
There are hundreds of different
variations to the basic game Mancala. Here are the names of just
Mancala represents the diversity
of Africa. Some version of Mancala is played in nearly every
African country. It is enjoyed by royalty and commoners, adults
and children, in cities and villages of every size.
Mancala has lasted for so many
years because each past and present culture has been able to
enjoy it in it's own special way: as an important family game,
a ceremonial right of passage, or a form of recreation among
The type of Mancala board varies,
the wealthy may play on carved ivory boards covered with gold,
or it could be just a few holes in the ground with pebbles as
How to Play
WHAT YOU NEED:
Mancala board, 48 playing pieces
SETTING UP: The board is placed between you and
your opponent. Each of you takes 24 playing pieces and puts four
pieces in each of the six bins on your side of the board. The
two larger bins at each end of the board are called kalahas.
These are left empty at the start of the game. In Mancala, the
location of the pieces on the board determines if you can move
them or not, not the color of the piece. Throughout the game,
you can move any of the pieces from your side of the board. You
may not move the pieces on your opponent's side of the board.
OBJECT OF THE GAME:
To be the player with the most
pieces in your kalaha.
HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED:
If you are the first player to
go, scoop up all the pieces from any bin on your side of the
board. Now, moving to the right drop one piece into each bin
that you come to.
If you come to your kalaha (the
one on the right), drop a playing piece into this bin. If you
have more pieces left after you drop one in the kalaha, continue
to put your remaining pieces into the bins on your opponent's
If you come to your opponent's
kalaha -this will happen later in the game-skip over it. If your
last piece lands in your kalaha, you get to go again. Otherwise,
it's your opponent's turn.
CAPTURING: If the last piece that you drop goes
into an empty bin on your side of the board, you get to capture
any of your opponent's playing pieces in the bin directly across
from yours. When you capture these pieces you take all of them
and put them in your kalaha. When you capture, you put the piece
that you captured within your kalaha along with the pieces you
captured. After you make a capture, it is your opponent's turn.
HOW THE GAME ENDS:
The game ends when all six bins
on your or your opponent's bins are empty. The player with pieces
still in their bins then can put their remaining pieces into
their kalaha. The winner is the player with the most playing
pieces in their kalaha.
Our class made mancala games from egg cartons.