MANCALA games are some of the most intriguing and oldest two-player strategy games in the world. One version of these games, Kalaha, was played more than 7,ooo years ago throughout Asia and Africa. Ancient boards for Kalaha can be found carved on the base of the columns of the Amon Temple at Karnak in Egypt and in the rock ledges along the ancient caravan routes. This provides clues as to how the game probably spread throughout the world.

Although the name and rules may vary from country to country, the boards and the strategy of the various Mancala games are closely related. All have simple rules to learn, but the strategies involved in winning the games are quite challenging!

Traditionally, Mancala games are played on a board carved out of wood with two rows of six playing cups each and two scoring cups. But the game is still played in some rural areas of the world by chilĀ¬dren and adults with simple pits scooped out of the ground. Perhaps the simplicity of Mancala boards partially explains why these games are so universally popular.


  • OBJECTIV Each player attempts to capture as many of the “seeds” or playing pieces as possible.
  • MATERIAL A playing board of two rows of six pits, two larger bins (Kalahas) at each end of the board, and 36 playing pieces or seeds.