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How to play Mancala: What are the Mancala Rules?

Setting up

Before you begin to play, set up the game board.

The Mancala board consists of 2 rows. There are six small cups in each row, and a larger cup, the Mancala,  is located at either end.

Place the board between you and your opponent. The six small cups and the Mancala on your side of the board belong to you, and the cups and Mancala on your opponents side of the board belong to her.

You need a total of 48 game pieces or stones. They usually consist of colorful marbles or beads. Place four stones in each of the smaller cups, but not in the Mancalas,on both sides of the game board.


Now you’re ready to play. Decide who goes first (a 14 hour game of Monopoly is the editor’s recommendation,but you are free to determine the means among yourselves). On your turn, pick up all the stones in one of the smaller cups on your side. It does not matter which cup you choose. Moving counter clockwise, place the stones one by into the other cups on the board, one stone at a time. . Stones must be placed into your own larger Mancala cup, but not into your opponents. You can, however place stones in your opponents non-Mancala cups.

This process will distribute the contents of that first cup evenly among the next cups and leave an empty cup on your side of the board. Once you placed all the stones, your turn ends and your opponent repeats the process.

If the last stone placed on your turn  is placed into an empty cup, capture all of the stones in the cup across from it on your opponents side of the board  (the corresponding cup on  your opponents side).  Place all captured stones into your Mancala.


According to the Mancala Rules, the game is over when a player empties all six cups on his side. The winner is determined by counting stones in the Mancalas. The player with the most stones in their Mancala at the end of the game wins.

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