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An ancient, family board game

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Count, Strategize, Move, ....win!

  • Dec 12, 2008
  • by
I just discovered Mancala a little over a year ago and I was sad that I had not learned to play much sooner.

Mancala originated from Africa thousands of years ago and some historians argue that it is the oldest game in the world!

I got it as a gift and as soon as my boyfriend and I started playing, we were hooked.  We were having nightly competitions and matches.  The rules are simple and the goal is the obtain the most stones in your 'mancala' - bowl/pit.

Although the game is so simple -there is actually a lot of thought and strategy that goes into each round if you want to come out on top.


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August 18, 2009
I love mancala!  I was introduced to it by my second grade teacher, and subsequently begged my parents to buy one for me.  I still have it :)
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Quick Tip by . November 13, 2009
aww... used to play this with my sisters... :D sadly, the iPhone version is not as fun.
About the reviewer
Molly ()
Ranked #918
Member Since: Dec 8, 2008
Last Login: May 26, 2009 11:04 PM UTC
About this game


Mancala is a family of board games played around the world, sometimes called "sowing" games, or "count-and-capture" games, which describes the game-play. Mancala games play a role in many African and some Asian societies comparable to that of chess in the West. The list of mancala games best known in the Western world includes Kalah and Oware. Other games are Congkak, Omweso, Ünee tugaluulakh, Bao, Sungka and Igisoro.

The word mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala meaning literally "to move." There is no one game with the name mancala; instead mancala is a type, or designation, of game. This word is used in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, but is not consistently applied to any one game.

In the USA, however, "mancala" is often used as a synonym for the game Kalah.

Mancala games share a common general gameplay sequence. Players begin by placing an equal number of seeds, prescribed by the variation in use, in each of the pits on the game board. A turn consists of removing all seeds from a pit, sowing the seeds (placing one in each of the following pits in sequence), and capturing based on the state of board. This leads to the English phrase "Count and Capture" sometimes used to describe the gameplay. Although the details differ greatly, this general sequence applies to all games.
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