Make Your Own Mancala Board

Mancala games have been played for hundreds of years. Learn how to make your own board.

February 01, 2013


What You Need

cardboard egg carton


acrylic paints and brush (optional)

48 dried beans, pebbles or beads

2 small glass jars

What to Do

1. Carefully tear or cut the lid from the carton. Throw the lid away.

2. If you wish, paint and decorate the carton. Wait for the paint to dry.

3. Place 4 beans in each of the 12 cups. Place a jar at either end of the carton. Called a kalaha, it is where you will store any captured beans. Find a friend and get ready to play.

How to Play

Object of the Game: To finish with the most beans

1. Set the mancala board on a table so that six cups face you and six cups face your opponent. The cups nearest to you are yours. You can move any of the beans from your side, but you may not move your opponent’s. The kalaha on your right is yours as well.

2. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Player A scoops all the beans from any one of the cups on her side. Moving counterclockwise to the right, she goes down the board, dropping one bean into each cup. If she reaches her kalaha, she drops a bean in it as well. If it’s her last bean, she gets another turn. Otherwise, it’s Player B’s turn.

3. Play continues with the following rules.

- A player cannot drop a bean into the opposing player’s kalaha.

- When the last bean a player drops falls into an empty cup, that player gets to take that bean and all the beans from the cup directly opposite.

4. The game ends when a player runs out of beans in the cups on her side. When this happens, the opposing player takes the remaining beans. The winner is the player with the most beans in her kalaha.

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