List of mancala games

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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:

  • 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.
  • 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 with 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 stones.
  • Eson xorgol, a game played by the Kazakh minority in western Mongolia, is traditionally played with goat feces. The board is 2×5.
  • //Hus is a Namibian game. The board is 4×8.

Non-traditional games[edit]

  • Conga (Martin Franke; Germany)
  • Cups (Arthur Amberstone and Wald Amberstone; United States: New York)
  • The Glass Bead Game (Christian Freeling) is a complex mancala-style game with different colored stones.[2]
  • 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.
  • 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 games[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. ^ Glass Bead Game Introduction.
  3. ^ Stewart Culin, Philippine Games, American Anthropologist, Vol. 2, No. 4. (Oct-Dec 1900), pp. 643-656.
  4. ^ Alan P. Merriam, The Game of Kubuguza Among the Abatutsi of North-East Ruanda. Man, Vol. 53. (November 1953), pp. 169-172.
  5. ^ H. A. Stayt, The Bavenda.
  6. ^ P. H. G. Powell-Cotton, H. J. Braunholtz, A Mancala Board Called "Songo.", Man. Vol. 31. (July 1931), pp. 123.
7. HJR Murray, History of Board Games other than Chess (1952)
8. Laurence Russ, Mancala games (1984)
9. H. J. Braunholtz, The Game of Mweso in Uganda., Man. Vol. 31. (July 1931), pp. 121-122.

External links[edit]