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.