The Ancient Strategy Game from Africa

by University Games
Current Retail Price: $19.00
Not in stock

For thousands of years, people all over the world have enjoyed playing a simple game of strategy called Mancala. The oldest-known Mancala boards date back over 3,500 years. Ancient Egyptians even carved Mancala boards into blocks discarded from the Great Pyramid (some historians believe that the workers played the game on their breaks). From more than 450 documented ways to play the game, University Games has chosen three of the best: one from Egypt, one from Nigeria, and one from Ethiopia. All three are easy to learn, and all three use beads, just as in the original African games.


  • Wooden Mancala board
  • 48 glass beads
  • Illustrated Instructions

Object of the Game:

To collect the most beads in your Mancala (Mancalas are the large bowls at each end of the board).

How to Play Mancala:

Each player "owns" one row of small bowls and one of the larger Mancala bowls at the ends of the board. The two players take turns picking up all of the beads from one of their small bowls and moving around the board, dropping the beads one at a time into each next bowl. By choosing which bowl to scoop, players use strategy to collect the most beads in their own Mancala and win the game.

Egyptian Rules:

Use all General Rules. If a player drops the last stone from her/his hand into his mancala, she/he gets to move again. If a player drops the last stone into one of the empty bowls on his side of the board, he takes that stone, plus all the stones in the opponent's bowl directly across form his bowl and places them in his mancala. The game ends when one player no longer has stones in his small bowls. The other player (who still has stones on his side) places all remaining stones into his own mancala (it is not necessarily an advantage to be the first player to empty the six bowls).

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  The Original Original Game
Sincerelyornot of Oregon, 11/10/2011
Mancala is about the oldest game I've ever heard of. You can play it with or without strategy. You can play mancala with or without words. You can even play it without the board (although, its much easier with one, even an egg carton will do). This is the version I first learned on, the smooth golden wood, the bright playing pieces, definitely on my favorites list.