Talk:Mancala

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The name[edit]

I found a nice public domain (written in 1894) source "Mancala, The National Game of Africa". It says:

Mancala, the name which the Syrians give to this game, is a common Arabic word and means in this connection the "Game of transferring."

This makes sense to me. The Arabic root "nql" is indeed about transferring, moving and carrying (as far as I know with my beginner's level Arabic). On the other hand, the explanation currently given in the wikipedia article, that this word means losing in Arabic doesn't make sense to me. Can someone point me to the source of this explanation?

By the way, should we perhaps link to that public domain article?

Nyh

The "explanation" that mancala means in Arabic "to lose" remains on the page... Like I said in the paragraph above, I am disputing this "fact". Can someone else please confirm the "to lose" meaning, or agree that the explanation needs changing?

Nyh 21:42, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I see that someone just modified the article to say that the verb begins "to move", not "to lose". That's what I thought. Nyh

Artificial version of Awari[edit]

Awari (Artificial version of oware/wari invented by computer scientists)

I removed this, because I can't find anything to indicate Awari in its most widely used sense is different from Warri, Wari, Oware, et al. I'd love to see evidence to the contrary, however. Kevin Saff 04:24, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
PS 24 April - there is at least one minor variation between the game solved by the CS guys and that in championship level games. Not sure this warrants mention as an "invented game" though. Kevin Saff 04:11, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Age of mancala[edit]

There's a discrepancy in the History sections of Mancala and Oware. Mancala says 'Even less is known about the age of the family of games, which is generally placed as between 1000 and 3000 years' while Oware says 'The mancala family of games has been in existence for at least 7000 years'. Bwallberg 01:54, 2004 Apr 24 (UTC)

You're right. Sources seem to disagree about the age of this game. HJR Murray's History of board games other than chess supports the view of extreme age, while there is a more recent important paper published in a journal called "Board Game Studies" (or something like that) that claims there is little substantial evidence for an age older than 1000. Unfortunately, I have not yet found an opportunity to see either of these sources first-hand, so I don't know which age is likely better, nor how to present the issues... Kevin Saff 04:11, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I've read the Murray book, but not the recent paper. However based on my own work I would agree with the later date. One of Murray's key pieces of evidence (the board at the temple of karnak dating 1400bc) seems to be considered unreliable these days. --Imran 10:06, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I think I'll try to make it clear on both pages that the age is fuzzy, until we get better information. Either that, or copy frequent practice of claiming it's older than sex, without reference. Kevin Saff 14:59, 27 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Hi, I'm the owner of manqala.org and I've just registered on this wiki to try to arrange information about mancala games. --Viktor 12:55, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This decision was done without considering all of the sources I am starting a more detailed section below.Tetron76 (talk) 13:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Other sources[edit]

I just found this external link on the eddiem.com domain. I am posting it here now because I don't want to lose it and because it may or may not be worth some sort of inclusion in the main article. Luis Dantas 20:01, 3 December 2006 (UTC)



I thought that Mancala originated in ancient Egypt!!!!!

Defacement[edit]

The "General gameplay" section appears to have been defaced; an editor may want to revert to an earlier version if possible. I'm effecting repairs now, but this may not be preferable since I don't know what the section looked like originally; also, my prose may not be as Wikipedia-refined as that of more experienced article-writers. At the very least, the edit should bring the changes to the attention of an editor. JohannVII (talk) 03:25, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Use of "Gypsie"[edit]

I'm removing the phrase "Gypsie jewels" from the Equipment section, as a significant number of Romani persons consider 'gypsy' to be a pejorative. Additionally, the phrase amounts to inaccurate ethnic stereotyping - based on the context, I'm assuming the phrase refers to glass game stones, and not actual jewels owned or otherwise possessed by Gypsies. JohannVII (talk) 04:15, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Addendum: If others believe it is necessary to preserve the meaning, as many cheaper Kalah mancala boards in the US use glass game stones, I recommend using the phrase "game stones". JohannVII (talk) 04:28, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Origin of Mancala[edit]

While it is clearly impossible to conclusively age any board game that predates literacy, I support making reference to sources that would make Mancala 7000 years old.

There are the sources to meet WP:V for such an age but because there has been a revision conflict I am going to demonstrate why it is a reasonable synthesis of the sources and available evidence and will try to get a consensus of how to word the History section.Tetron76 (talk) 15:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Discussion of Sources[edit]

The earlier discussion thread despite mentioning a late breaking paper I believe is referring to:

  • Mancala in Roman Asia Minor, Board Game Studies, Ulrich Schadler, 1994, [1]. I will address this article on its own later and it suggests a much later date that preceding and subsequent articles.

I have not got this book:

  • A history of board games other than chess Murray 1952

Secondary sources, attribute Murray as stating that Mancala dates back to Ancient Egypt at 3000 B.C. At the time this would make Mancala the oldest surviving game. This claim of Murray's has been subject to challenge because there was an assumption that artifacts found by the pyramid's dated back to the creation of the pyramids. There has been re-dating that placed it back to around 1400-1600 B.C. This is the most cited source and most authors use either the original 3000 B.C. or the updated 1400 B.C.

In fact, no artifacts were found at Kurna that could be dated. Some of the so-called game boards could not be confirmed by other researchers who visited the archaeological site, others appear to have doubtful meaning (were they really game boards, and, if so, for which game(s)?). The "graffiti" (the proper name used by archaeologists) include coptic crosses, which proves that some of them were added much later than the tombs were built and there is no way to give an reliable date for any "cup marks" that may also be there. Modern Egyptology knows many board games played in ancient Egypt, but no mancala games among them. Murray , btw, was just a hobby researcher, but not a scientist. Quoring Schädler: "In fact, there are a lot of designs on the temple roof, some of them date to at least the Coptic, i.e. Christian era. So there is no possibility at all to date these designs. Also, we do not even know if those designs which look like game boards are in fact game boards. There are among the signs mason's marks and magic symbols, perhaps most of these designs were meant as such... Forget Kurna, until a complete new documentation of the roof will have been published." Thierry Depaulis, another acknowledged board game researcher, wrote in regard to Old Egyptian mancala: "The Kurna (or Qurna) Temple graffiti were published by Parker in 1909 (although his book dealt with... Ceylon!) and were reproduced, with some slight "improvements", by Murray in his book "A History of Board Games other than Chess" (1952). Since then nobody has seen them! Some archaeologists with an interest in board-game history have tried to find them but found only a few of them, and their conclusion is that they cannot be dated with certainty. One of these designs (reproduced by Parker and, after a drastic simplification, by Murray) appears to be Coptic! Others are better related to Roman board games... None of the so-called "mancala" boards have been observed! All Egyptologists say they have never encountered anything like mancala in the rich Egyptian tradition of table games. We cannot relie on such a poor evidence. In fact the earliest certain data we have on mancala games come from Axum (Ethiopia) and would date from the 6th-7th century AD. Archaeologists found there, during excavations, some 'gabata' boards made with clay and easy to date with the context. According to Pankhurst and others Ethiopia is likely to be the birthplace of mancalas but this doesn't seem to have happened before the Christian era." - Note that the oldest mancala boards have been reported now from Abu Sha'ar, a late Roman fort at the Red Sea coast (about 4th century AD) 84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Older archaeological evidence[edit]

There have been two significant Neolithic archeological finds of what might be "game boards"

Found a "game board" from 7th Millennium B.C.

This is a publication claiming to have found and dated a "Game board" described as being the same as a Wari board and dated to 5800 B.C. +/- 250 years. This is a major journal and none of the citations appear to challenge the claims of the find except possibly Schadler see below. The 2x6 holes represent a very unusual pattern and would be equivalent to the finds currently in the article from Ethiopia attributed to Mancala.

In fact, the 2x6 pattern is very common, probably because it relates to the 12 months of a year.84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Months weren't believed to have been invented by this period. By unusual I mean that there have not been found other such configurations.
Well, the Wikipedia article actually doesn't give any date, but says: "From excavated tally sticks, researchers have deduced that people counted days in relation to the Moon's phases as early as the Paleolithic age".84.175.251.136 (talk) 07:08, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
By a month I meant the 12 months to a year. since the cycle of the moon has always been there. The problem is that a lunar calendar often will give you 13 months. The tally sticks more accurately bones are being accorded a date of 20,000 B.C. from the more reliable wikipedia sources 35,000 years ago according to dubious ones. The main point for me is that all of the components are there for the game to have existed at this time and while it might not have been a game board it could have been used as one. There are other non-mancala "game" finds that predate Ancient Egyptian game finds. These are thin too, there is a collection of similarly sized pebbles and an arch of holes in South America currently being attributed to a dice game (with no dice). What should be noted is the way that the History section is worded it excludes this as even being possible. By saying that it "could be as old as civilization", when discussing periods of this age civilization refers to its formal definition of the start of large settlements from the Latin word for city.Tetron76 (talk) 16:30, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

While these finds were not available to the early authors, it is not unreasonable to assume that the most significant find from 1992 would be accepted as a possible Mancala game board. Virtually any board has been assumed to be a game board rather than simply decorative. The age of games has always been based upon the earliest known finds.

Again this is not correct. The proper term used is "graffiti" or "cup marks" and its meaning is often very difficult or impossible to determine.84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I was not claiming all markings should be regarded as a board and I still have been unable to find a picture of the board in question to decide how questionable this specfic claim might be. it is the structure of the markings that is critical in my opinion, clearly there are very many cup and ring marks that cannot possibly be games.Tetron76 (talk) 15:31, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Verifiability[edit]

The sources that exist for games are fairly limited and there are many RS that effectively just cite another older source for the age. Here is a university press and one of the latest publications about Mancala:

  • Game History, Content, Practice and Law, Sydney University Press, Brian Fitzgerald, Sal Humphreys, John Banks, Nicolas Suzor, 2007 [3]

This clearly describes Mancala as the oldest game and gives a date from 7000 B.C. - 5000 B.C.

These authors never researched mancala games (cite a source which proves they did) and have a very limited understanding.84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The point is that they accept the date and pass as a WP:RS. There are actually very few people who have researched the origins of Mancala and even fewer who have introduced new evidence.Tetron76 (talk) 16:04, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
The point is that these authors have no authority and their opino is therefore of minor importance.84.175.251.136 (talk) 07:12, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Board games reconsidered: Mancala in the Balkans, Etnoantropološki problemi Vesna Bikic, Jasna Vukovic, 2010, [4]
This work was published in a minor magazine, the authors haven't done any major research and they err when they write that it is generally accepted that [mancala games] have originated in the Neolithic period".84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
It may be minor but the point is that it represents a recent research paper that cites the Schadler paper.Tetron76 (talk) 16:04, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

This is a paper that does a thorough literature review and forms the opinion that paraphrasing "due to rare archaeological finds, Mancala is generally accepted to have originated in the Neolithic period.

Schadler[edit]

This paper acknowledges the Neolithic finds but states "these are probably not game boards". However, there is no reasoning given to justify this assertion. The author basically challenges many of the earlier assertions of other sources that certain earlier game boards were related to mancala. However, the author never makes any definitive claims and most significantly gives no alternative mechanism for how Mancala might have developed. The paper has only been cited 4 times as in a minor journal.

Schädler is a major board game researcher. He has authored numerous scientific publications, was the director of the Archaeological Park of Xanten, Germany, and is now the director of the Swiss Museum for Board Games in La Tour-de-Peilz. Hard to say how many times it really had been quoted, but Antiquity is hardly a "minor" journal. But even 4-times is a lot for an article about a subject with very limited interest and research that had be done in the last 12 yeas or so. In addition, your claim that Schädler gave no reasoning isn't correct. He wrote: "On the other hand the neolithic board found in Jordan at ‘Ain Ghazal (6th mill. BC) with its diverging rows of holes(41) as well as the boards from Beidha (7th mill. BC) with grooves running through the depressions and off the slab at one end are unlikely to be gameboards." 84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
This is not what I meant by reasoning, the Jordan board from the 6th Mill. is unambiguously described as possibly being a wari board by the author. Since Schadler's paper is only a discussion paper (no conclusion section, etc...) for him to dismiss the find requires explicit reasoning as to why it isn't a board. This is done either by stating what else it might be or saying how the board would be different if it was a game board.
While there is room for much greater debate about his speculations, the most critical point is that he never actually asserts a definitive opinion. Therefore, in the paper he still accepts the possibility of the earlier finds being Mancala. It may be fair to accept that this is his view and report it as such but it is not possible to dismiss others' claims on the basis of his analysis as he has not even put his reputation on the line.Tetron76 (talk) 16:52, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
"Wari" is a particular game played in Western Africa. Maybe the authors followed Popova who called two-row mancalas "wari". Schädler dismissed the find by saying "how the board wouuld be different if it was a game board". No serious researcher who recently did major research in mancala games (e.g. Pankhurst, Townshend, Schädler, de Voogt) is interested in any speculations about the age of mancala beyond the hard facts of mancala boards that could be dated and unanimously identified as boards for playing mancala.84.175.251.136 (talk) 07:31, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
The author was mere trying to state that the find was a game board that resembled the Oware (choose your own spelling) board and was probably in the Mancala family.Tetron76 (talk) 15:35, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

The major problem is that he misses that:

  • mancala is not a specific game with a set of rules but a type of game.
  • mancala doesn't need a board to be played.

I think it is unreasonable to treat this analysis as anything other than a minority position and since he only focus on Mancala in the Roman world and specifically makes discussions ignoring key finds.

Well, he didn't miss that. In fact, he never wrote about a specific game but a type or family of games and, of course, he knows that mancala doesn't need a board to be played, but that's irrelevant for any archaeological research, as you can only research artifacts. Before you jump to conclusions you should rather study the work of de Voogt who is the leading scholar about mancala games. 84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:33, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
it is not irrelevant for archaeological research when it comes to explaining why there have been no finds between the neothlithic period and now. If you accept a date of < 2000 years then it is necessary to examine possible links to games from China. I have read all of the online copies of boardgamestudies, while some of de voogts sources aren't all available online, there doesn't appear to be any assertion on the origins of mancala thAat he makes. He appears to take the position of avoiding speculation to its origins. While there are soft examples such as [5] it is very hard to give this credence as his view. Since he states some versions have been played for hundreds of yesrs implying less than 2 millenia but acknowledges that the traces are missing to support an earlier age. While I accept he is an expert on mancala I see little evidence that he has really studied the origins of the game. Another one of his interesting papers talks about early Kandi game boards [6]. However, the British Museum has on display in its Africa section in 2010 a board that was older than this.


It should also be noted that a later article describes versions of Mancala played on a 5x2 board in china that are played on the Silk-route. The boards are often drawn with chalk or lines. This is then identical to the game that Schadler as dismissing as not Mancala because of no holes.
Also he is an editor of the publication, it reduces the weight that the publication should be given.Tetron76 (talk) 17:34, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
The major editor of the magazine, which, btw, is the only scientific publicated dedicated to the research on board games, was de Voogt and Schädler did hardly do any editing. Again it's useful to have some real background information and not jumping to conclusions. Also it is "2x5", the first number is to be the number of rows, the second number the amount of pits per row. Saying "5x2" reveals that you aren't an expert on mancala games.
you are confusing specialisation with expertise. All co-ordinate systems for playing games go across by down the same as matrices based upon how the board is aligned for play. I have now read over 100 articles on Mancala as obtained via google with university access. While it may be true that I haven't studied the history of board games, there is no way that it can be regarded as a significant journal when compared with archaelogical journals. While their opinions have value they are both too closely connected to this online publication to be viewed as representing consensus from their articles in boardgamestudies.Tetron76 (talk) 16:19, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Other sources that want a more recent dates[edit]

Most sources give a qualifier of at least another paper that favours the newer range is:

  • African Mankala in Anthropological Perspective, 1979, Townshend [7]

Critically, this paper misquotes Murray for the upper range of the game. Similarly, much his argument is based upon the geographical origin of the game rather than the age. However, Townshend successfully shows that the game can remain unchanged for 100s of years without written rules. He also notes how the game is still played by scooping holes in the ground and on large board sizes.

One should add that there are just two researchers who wrote a large number of articles on mancala: P. Townshend and Alex de Voogt. Everything they write is of special weight (whether we agree with them or not).84.175.207.44 (talk) 08:00, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Your premise that a large number of papers is all that counts. By far the most widely reported individual is Murray. If you dismiss him as an amateur you definitely have to dismiss Townshend too.Tetron76 (talk) 16:06, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Murray was an amateur. Your statements are ridiculous. Townshend wrote his Ph.D about a mancala game and conducted numerous field studies, while Murray never saw a single game of mancala played in their native countries.84.175.251.136 (talk) 07:37, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Your definition of amateur for HJR Murray is ill-founded. While he was not in the direct pay of a University at the time, his background from his father alone would be enough to give his research credibility.
I'll stop discussing with you, if yiu continue to spread this nonsense. "A backgriund from his father alone" means nothing. Academic reputation isn't inhereited but earned by studies.84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
I know full well that a academic reputation is established by reaction from other researchers. This can be assessed by looking at how often a work has been cited and how the authors react to the material. In this instance, the book has been cited over 170 times, but more importantly when cited it has never been dismissed. This is a fact that you appear to be ignoring. When it is also put in the context of history with regards to research because of the world wars there were far fewer people who followed a pure academic route at this time.
I assume that the case that you are trying to make is that Murray was not a field researcher. Therefore, despite him having access to extensive resources such as the Bodlean Library, Ashmolean and British Museum, that he is only gathering existing sources together. This means that he is not in a position to access the reliability of his sources and so may present unreliable information as fact.
I suspect that it is the Qurna Coptic graffiti that is your biggest issue [8]. It is a pity that the actual direct evidence is not available as the carvings could possibly allow for a more accurate dating than would otherwise be possible with an "open" artefact.
It is not as clear to me how the Ceylon 2 A.D. finds are being dealt with. But I am prepared to take the position that Schadler as a field archaeologist's opinion can be taken to supercede Murray, although, I don't fully agree with him.Tetron76 (talk) 17:26, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Townshend makes no attempt to age Mancala but cites Murray to give a range for its age [9]
  • He didn't make an attempt to date mancala, but gave a range because it is impossible to do so. Again learn from him and don't confuse speculations withs facts.84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
You keep referring to scientific approach and let me be very clear here. Townshend wrongly cites Murray in the link I provide above. Whether Townshend has an opinion on the range different to Murray or not is irrelevant. The range was not the point but the fact that he misquotes his range. Having not read all of Townshend's publications complicates this discussion but since Schadler requotes Townshend's misquote, it is only reasonable to treat this as Townshend not giving an upperbound.Tetron76 (talk) 17:26, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
which doesn't make him an academic researcher. Murray's expertise was mostly about finding sources in libraries, but he conducted no original research. His most important contribution was to compile a collection of sources and a description of countless games, often not well understood by him. 84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
  • Many others similarly give spectodayial note to Murray: "Board and table games from many civilizations" [11]
I see where you get your "knowledge". R. C. Bell is also just a hobby researcher (there seems to be a British tradition), but his books are also full of mistakes and very unreliable. 84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
No you apparently don't, I have now read every single mancala study and book that I could obtain for free digitally. In addition, to this I have read many related papers and webpages. These sources span well over 100 years of research and 7 languages. This still leaves about 5 key sources about mancala that I am unable to directly access. Murray is one these books. I am fairly sure I did speed read it once but this was for a completely different area of game research. The only pages of his Mancala section I can obtain are 158-159 [12]. The other articles I could not access are not that significant to the debate. The only other sources that you might have seen is the PhD's themselves but these don't count as mainstream published.Tetron76 (talk) 15:58, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Your claim you make is also unverifiable as to Murray having never seen Mancala played in its native country but more importantly irrelevant. There are other areas of research than anthropology that are to do with the date of artefacts. Townshend, de Voogt make no attempt to date the game merely catalog findings and rules. There are oral histories in African tribes that can go back well over a thousand years while inaccurate in the dating of events, they are very important to log if you are interested in the age of the game. There is also a complete lack of dating the materials using techniques such as carbon dating, etc... being reported by them.
Townshend gave an age range which is very different to Murray's statements (which, btw, were partly based on manipulated drawings to make some boards look more "mancala-like") and de Voogt who I know in person doesn't believe in the neolithic findings and even said that the "Roman Mancala" wasn't necessarily a mancala game in his latest publication about Mancala in Palmyra.84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
While http://www.dm.unipi.it/~favilli/Ethnomathematics_Proceedings_ICME10.pdf#page=135 this paper does single out the names you list as doing PhD s in Mancala the author misses a great many papers and researchers at the time.
One of them wanted an African origin and is linked to de Voogt's department: [13] the fact that he includes the Neolithic game boards in this is clearer from [14].Tetron76 (talk) 17:05, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
van Binsbergen is a very special case. While he is an advocate of the neolithic origin of mancala, his position (not just in regard to mancala) is very isolated in the scientific community. His work related to mancala is very hypothetical and not widely acknowledged (you won't find many mancala researchers quoting him - for good reason). 84.175.227.208 (talk) 09:30, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
This is where my second problem arises having now read large number of google scholar articles, his opinions may not be correct but there is little evidence to suggest that opinions that you support are cited more than his. I find little evidence that there are "many" mancala researchers to quote anybody at the moment. It becomes fewer still who publish in either a University Press or print journal. The policy is that in the case of conflicting opinions at a similar level you should normally give both.Tetron76 (talk) 16:18, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

The final group that support a much later date tend to be non-scientific works often speculate that the game would have started out as an accounting system. The indication is that games develop long before complex monetary society. For example, compare Linear B with Senet

When is a game a particular game?[edit]

Most ancient games are considered to have evolved. There are several possible benchmarks that are used to date a game. The rules being written down, the mechanism to win the game, common board design or pieces. Mancala is defined by the sewing action. Any game that involved placing multiple pieces one at a time onto different squares or into holes would count as Mancala. An example would be a row of holes and guessing what the remainder would be from a handful of pieces. This is remarkably close to action of planting crops without tools. This means a structure such as found Jordan is almost certainly a game board.

The only thing you found in Jordan were rows of holes, which didn't even look like a mancala board. You didn't found any counters. Everything else is just speculation. 84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:56, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
It may be speculation but it is not my speculation that the find in Jordan is a game board. This is the point that is being missed. I think what you may lack is how archaelogical finds beyond a certain time period are assessed. It is almost always pure speculation the question is whether the claims seem plausible. In this case the paper seems to be unchallenged by anyone who has cited it with the exception of Schadler. What is missing without this is from where did the game originate? While it could have developed in Africa a few hundred years ago where were the other games that preceded it in the region?
It may indeed not be as old as this but there have even been claims that Senet belongs to the Mancala fsmily. I share Townshend's position in this instance. However, most reliable sources go much ealier the position adopted by the boardgamestudies group. Tetron76 (talk) 17:07, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
There is no "boardgamestudies.group" (they are all independent researchers) and any claim that senet might have be a mancala game is a bad joke.84.175.251.136 (talk) 07:41, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I had confused a point that Schadler was making with regard an authors claim to a specific claim. It should be noted that I assumed that the claim was being made with regard to the wall paintings and not the sets.Tetron76 (talk) 15:25, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

If Mancala is being played as observed by nomadic people in Africa, then it is very rare that there will be any archaeological artifacts to be found. Indeed, the earliest wooden boards are from the 1700s, yet, it is undisputed that Mancala is older than this. I think that the article should accept the view that the archaeological finds are game boards and hence allow the use of the reliable sources that make this claim.Tetron76 (talk) 15:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Of course, you can mention these speculations, but not as a generally accepted "fact".84.175.207.44 (talk) 07:56, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I will try to word it better, but I was not using my words but merely quoting a source.Tetron76 (talk) 14:39, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

History Section[edit]

At this point I believe the correct step is to try to proceed with re-writing the history section. As it stands it is almost unreferenced and misquoting its sources at more than one occasion before you consider adding extra sources too. To avoid the conversation that require original research and would be best dealt with through publication, I will take the most conservative approach with representing the sources but will include the possible facts from all of them. I will add my first draft soon when I have more time.Tetron76 (talk) 17:36, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Bantumi[edit]

Bantumi redirects here, I had this game on a mobile phone, it was named bantumi, article doesn't mention bantumi or phones/computers, doesn't need to be long description, one or two sentances should be enough. Bantumi doesn't appear in the list of Mancala games either. Carlwev (talk) 09:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

I am not familiar with the game. Picture ? Rules ? Try adding your own information, in the article or here. Wizzy 10:27, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It is a commercialized variant of Kalah. I corrected the redirect.-84.175.180.158 (talk) 11:32, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Variants[edit]

Nobody knows the exact number of variants. A wiki site dedicated to mancala games lists more than 800 names of traditional mancala games from 97 countries, and almost 200 invented games. However, some names denote the same game, while some names are used for more than one game. --84.175.180.158 (talk) 12:56, 6 December 2012 (UTC))