How to Play Mancala

Math skills and strategic planning are essential to winning this ancient African game.

You will need

  • A mancala game board
  • Two players
  • 48 game pieces u2013 or
  • "stones

Step 1 Set up Place the mancala board lengthwise between two players and put four stones in each of the 12 small cups on the game board.

Step 2 Pick up stones Pick up the stones in any of your six playing cups.

Step 3 Position pieces Drop your stones one by one into sequential playing cups, moving counterclockwise around the board. Include your mancala, but not your opponent’s mancala.

Step 4 Alternate moving stones Take turns moving stones around the board. If your last stone falls into your mancala, you get another turn.

Step 5 Capture stones If your last stone falls in an empty cup on your side, take all the pieces from the player’s cup directly opposite.

Step 6 Pass out all of your stones Whoever runs out of stones on their side of the board loses the game. The player with remaining stones puts them in their mancala.

Step 7 Count the stones The player with the most stones in their mancala wins the game.