List of mancala games

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Games in the mancala family include:

Popular games[edit]

A modern, European Bao/Omweso board with jade gemstones

The most widely played games are probably[according to whom?]:

  • Bao is a complex strategy game of Kenya and Zanzibar, played on a 4×8 board.
  • Kalah is the ruleset usually included with commercially available boards; however, the game is heavily biased towards the first player, and it is often considered a children's game. The board is 2×6 with stores. The Pie rule can be used to balance the first-player's advantage.
  • Oware, the national game of Ghana, is also known by Warri,[1] Ayo (Yoruba Name. Nigeria), Awele, Awari, Ouril, and other names. It has relatively simple rules but considerable strategic depth. The board is 2×6 (not counting optional stores).
  • Omweso (also known as coro) is a strategic game of Uganda, played on a 4×8 board.
  • Pallanguzhi is played in Tamil nadu, Southern India with 2 x 7 stores. Two varieties of this game are popular, Kaashi and Bank.

Games with unusual features[edit]

  • Bohnenspiel is a German mancala based on a Persian game not unlike some African mancala variants. The board is 2×6 with 2 stores.
  • ǁHus is a Namibian game. The board is 4×8.

Modern adaptations[edit]

  • Bantumi, featured on many early Nokia phones such as the Nokia 3310
  • Conga (Martin Franke; Germany)
  • Cups (Arthur Amberstone and Wald Amberstone; United States: New York)
  • Devil Bunny Hates the Earth, where you try to save the world by jamming taffy machines. (James Ernest and Cheapass Games; United States: Seattle, Washington)
  • Oh-Wah-Ree is a commercial variant of Oware with provision for more than two players.
  • 55Stones is a modern mancala game with simultaneous moves.
  • Kauri is a modern mancala game with two kinds of seeds.
  • Mangala (Serdar Asaf Ceyhan; Turkey)
  • Space Walk is a modern boardgame with mancala mechanic.
  • Trajan is a modern boardgame variant with mancala mechanic.
  • Five Tribes is a modern boardgame variant with mancala mechanic.

Traditional variants[edit]

Omweso (or Igisoro) players in Kigali, Rwanda
Vietnamese children playing ô ăn quan


  1. ^ Henry R. Muller, Warri: A West African Game of Skill, The Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 43, No. 169. pp. 313-316.
  2. ^ Stewart Culin, Philippine Games, American Anthropologist, Vol. 2, No. 4. (Oct-Dec 1900), pp. 643-656.
  3. ^ Alan P. Merriam, The Game of Kubuguza Among the Abatutsi of North-East Ruanda. Man, Vol. 53. (November 1953), pp. 169-172.
  4. ^ H. A. Stayt, The Bavenda.
  5. ^ P. H. G. Powell-Cotton, H. J. Braunholtz, A Mancala Board Called "Songo.", Man. Vol. 31. (July 1931), pp. 123.


External links[edit]