Traditional Board Games

Mancala Games

Mancala games originated in Africa, but were historically taken to many different parts of the world. They are characterised by a grid of holes, into which seeds or similar pieces are dropped.

Movement in a mancala game is by lifting all the pieces from a given hole, and dropping them one in each succeeding hole along a predetermined track, usually anticlockwise around the board. The ownership of pieces is determined by which part of the board they currently occupy. Capture of pieces is determined by different methods in different games.


Gabata is a three-rank mancala game from Ethiopia, first recorded in the nineteenth century. Players try to capture one another's pieces by lifting and sowing, as in other mancala games. It is characterised by a race at the beginning, players moving simultaneously until one player sows a piece into an empty hole. Pieces are captured when a piece is sown into an empty hole, all enemy pieces in that hole's column becoming captives. History of Gabata Mancala is a ... (read more...)


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 ... (read more...)


Mefuvha is a mancala game played in the Transvaal. It is one of the most impressive looking mancala games, or in fact one of the most impressive looking board games altogether. It has four rows of twenty-eight playing spaces, 112 in all, and the game starts with 218 pieces on the board! The object of mefuvha is to capture all of your opponent's pieces. Movement, as in all mancala games, is by lifting all the pieces from one playing ... (read more...)



Wari is a game from the mancala family, in which pieces are moved around the board by lifting and sowing, i.e. lifting all the pieces from one of the holes, and dropping them singly in consecutive holes around a given route. Pieces are not marked as belonging to players; instead, players own all the pieces on their own side of the board. In wari there are two ranks of six holes, each one having four pieces at the start ... (read more...)


One of our favorites is the Kalah version as originated in the United States in the 1960's. 

Mancala Games - 15:44, 13/02/2019

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