Traditional Board Games


This family of board games is played throughout most of Africa, some parts of the middle east, and further into south-east Asia. Boards consist of a grid of holes, usually in a grid of two, three or four rows. Pieces are seeds, beans or stones which are piled into the holes in varying quantities. Players do not have their own set of pieces, but instead each player takes control of a particular half of the board and all the pieces that fall into it.

Pieces are moved by picking up all in a hole and dropping them in adjacent holes, one at a time, along a predetermined course. In many games a player's turn is made from a number of "laps", where pieces are picked up from the hole the last piece was dropped in, and the turn continues.

Captures are made using a variety of methods, depending on the game; in some, you capture from the hole you drop your last piece into, in others, you sow only into your own half of the board and capture pieces opposite. Capture is usually determined by the number of pieces left in the hole into which you dropped your last piece.

Mancala is probably the most diverse family of games, with hundreds of different variants played by one tribe or other.


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