How to Win at Mancala

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Mancala is a game that people have played for centuries. People in Africa and many other countries first played Mancala by digging holes in the ground and using beans or stones to play with. Today, you can purchase a Mancala game or even play online. Follow these steps to win at Mancala.

Learn the rules of the game. There are usually 48 game pieces in Mancala. At the start of the game, four pieces are in each of the 12 small bins. You can also play Mancala with 36 pieces and three in each small bin.

Remember that the objective is to end the game with the most pieces on your side of the board and in your large bin. The players play the game until one player doesn't have any pieces left on their side of the board. They count the pieces in their large bin, and their opponent counts their pieces remaining on their side of the board and in their large bin. Whoever has the most pieces, wins the game.

Understand how to move your playing pieces. You can only move the pieces on your side of the board. Pick up all of the pieces in one small bin, and deposit one in each bin, including your large bin, moving counter clockwise, until they are gone.

Know that you can capture your opponent's playing pieces and add them to your large bin. During game play, if your last playing piece lands in an empty small bin on your side of the board, you get to capture your opponent's pieces located in the bin opposite. Place these pieces in your large bin.

Keep an eye on what your opponent is doing. Watch out for chances he has to capture your pieces. If he gets too many, he has a good chance of winning the game. In addition, know that often the person who empties their side of the board first loses because their opponent gets to keep all the pieces that are still in play on their side of the board. Unless, of course, your opponent went out first because you captured most of his playing pieces.

Tip

Practice playing Mancala often to improve your skills. You can play against a computer on the Internet for free.