Directions for Mancala

By Sarah Clark

Mancala is a board game for two players utilizing 48 stones and one board with 14 wells. The stones are equally distributed into the wells and then moved around the board. The object of the game is to collect the most stones by moving them into the large wells at the ends of the board and by capturing the opponent's pieces. Variations of Mancala are played throughout Africa, South America, the West Indies and Southeast Asia.

Sit opposite of your opponent. The Mancala board should be facing you lengthwise, with six shallow wells in front of you.

Evenly distribute 24 stones into each player's six wells on his side of the board, so that there are four stones to a well. Leave the two large wells at either end of the board empty. The large well on your right side belongs to you.

Choose which player will go first. Choose a well on your side of the board from which to pick up all of the stones. Drop one stone in each cup, moving in a counter-clockwise direction. You can put stones in your own large well, but not your opponent's. If you have enough stones to reach your opponent's wells, you continue distributing them until you run out and your turn ends.

Capture your opponent's stones if the last stone you distribute lands in an empty well on your side of the board. Take all of the stones in your opponent's well directly opposite your empty well, as well as the last stone you distributed. Put all of the captured stones in your large well.

Collect the most stones to win the game, which ends when all of the small wells are empty on either side of the board. Count all of the stones in each large well. The player with the most stones wins.

About the Author

Sarah Clark has been writing since 1997, with work appearing in Northern Arizona University's "Student Life Organization Newsletter." She holds a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in art history from Northern Arizona University.