Make Your Own Mancala
Many years ago I created some education resources for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia. They have a fantastic collection of African art and artefacts - including some Mancala boards. This is a revised text plus my own images so that you can make a Mancala too.
Mancala is one of the most popular board games to come out of
Wherever you go in Africa you will see this
game being played. There are some differences in the name and in the rules, but
these are very small. It is often played using pebbles with hollows dug out of
the earth. However, the board for the game is also carved out of wood.
To make your own Mancala board you will need:
- 1 carton for a dozen (12) eggs
- 36 counters or marbles
- Stapler and staples
- Paints and paintbrushes
Making Your Mancala
Remove the lid of the egg box by carefully cutting along the hinge. Also cut out the small bit on the other side of the egg box that helps keep the lid closed. Put this bit in your recycling bin.
Cut the lid exactly in half.
The idea of the game is to move all of the marbles from the small cups into one of the trays that you have created. Your (and your opponents) tray will be on the right-hand side.
- Place the Mancala board between you and your opponent lengthways.
- Put three marbles or counters in each of the cups where the eggs went.
- Choose a player to go first.
- That player must now take all of the marbles from one of the cups and, moving to the right, drop them one at a time in each cup. If you reach your tray then place one marble/small stone in the tray. If you still have some marbles in your hand then carry on placing them in your opponent’s cups one at a time.
- Remember – you cannot place a marble or marble in your opponent’s tray.
- If you place your last counter or marble in your tray then you get to have another go. If you don’t then it is your opponent’s go.
- If you drop your last marble/small stone into an empty cup then you can take all of the counters or marbles from the cup that is directly opposite. These all then go into your tray.
- The game ends when all of the cups on your (or your opponents) side is empty. You or your opponent should then place all the remaining counters or marbles in your trays. Count them up and whoever has the largest number has won.