play mancala

How To Play Mancala

Mancala is one of the oldest board games in the world. The game is believed to have originated in ancient Sumeria, though it is traditionally associated with Africa due to the widespread popularity of Mancala in Africa for hundreds of years. In Africa, the game is believed to have been derived from either ancient record keeping or a ritual related to the harvest.

Today, of course, it is a fun game that is beloved by families around the world.  If you want to know how to play Mancala, consider the following guide that will teach you how to play this exciting game.

The object of the game is to get more stones in your "Mancala" then your opponent get in his "Mancala"

Step One: Set Up the Board

First, you will need to set up the Mancala board. Place the board in between you and the other player with the long side facing you; there will be two roles featuring 6 empty holes. The longer dip at the end of the board is called the “mancala.”

set up the mancala board

 It should be noted that “your side” of the game board is the six holes that are on your side along with the mancala that is on your right.

Step Two: The Basic Rules

The basic rules of Mancala are as follows.

During your turn, you will take all of the stones in 1 hole on your side and drop them one by one in succeeding holes, following a counter-clockwise direction; you can place stones in your opponent’s holes. You can place stones in your Mancala but not in your opponent’s Mancala.

Once one of the players has no more stones in their holes, the game is over, and each player counts up the number of stones in their Mancala. The person with the most stones in their Mancala wins the game.

set up the mancala board

Step Three: Rule Notes

There are some exceptions to the basic rules which can change how the game is played. When you are dropping stones, if you drop a stone into your own mancala and it happens to be the last stone in your hand, then you get to go again and pick more stones from another hole.

If you drop a stone in one of your own empty holes and it happens to be the last stone in your hand, then you get to take every stone in the hole directly facing that stone and place them in your mancala.

kids playing mancala

The key to winning Mancala is to know which hole to start with when you begin dropping holes, so that you can try to make sure that you will end up with more stones in your mancala. The more you play, the better you will become at strategy. 

Read here more about Mancala games and in africa