How To Play Mancala

Are you bored of the games you usually play? Are you looking for a unique board game? Worry no more because this article will introduce you to a new board game - Mancala. This game originated from African and Asian countries. Here are important things that you need to know in playing Mancala:

You need the following:

  • Markers (Can be stones or marbles)
  • A Mancala Board (This is made up of two rows with six holes for each row)
  • Players


  • Do not use very small markers in order to prevent choking.
  • Keep away from toddlers.

Time Requirement:

  • 10-15 minutes


  • Player should win the most markers before the holes on his side are emptied.

How to play the game

  1. Set up the board game. Make sure that you place the board in the middle of the challengers. The rows should be horizontally placed. The rows that are closest to each challenger belogns to that player.
  2. Each challenger shall have a Mancala. The Mancala is the scoring cup. These large cups are positioned to the challenger’s right side. Make sure that before starting, each player has a Mancala.
  3. Place three markers for every hole. The colors of the markers do not matter.
  4. You may use a coin toss to determine who shall go first. Alternate turns will follow. 
  5. The game will start once one of the challengers picks up some markers from the holes.
  6. The game will continue with the challengers depositing markers in each hole. Stones will run out this way.
  7. If you think you will run out of markers, deposit one marker in your Mancala. If you come across your challenger’s Mancala, skip it.
  8. Calculate your movements so that you will land in your Mancala. If this happens, you will have a free turn.
  9. On the other hand, if your last marker is supposed to be deposited in an empty hole, retrieve that marker and get all the markers from your opponent's hole opposite the empty hole.
  10. Do not forget to keep your markers in your store.
  11. If the six holes on the side of the board are empty, the game is over.

How to determine the winner of the game

  1. Count all the markers left in the holes on your side.
  2. Tally all the markers in your Mancala.
  3. Add the number of markers from the holes to the number of markers in your Mancala.
  4. If you have more markers than your challenger, you win.

Techniques to win:

  1. Plan your moves. Make sure that your first three moves are carefully planned.
  2. Choose the fourth hole from your side. This will give you a free turn.
  3. Make sure that you know how to count. Lacking this skill will disqualify you from the game.

Now that you know the easy steps in playing Mancala, buy a Mancala board and keep enhancing your critical and creative faculties.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: