How to Play Mancala
Mancala is a two-player turn-based strategy board game where you have to capture the most pieces of the opponent. It's one of the most ancient board games that dates back to the 6th. century. This article will show you how to play the Mancala game and some tips to win the game.
How to Play Mancala Game
Folding Wood board with 2 rows of 6 pits (holes)
48 colored stones
Each player sits on the opposite side of the game board from the other player. Two rows of six holes or pits make up the Mancala board. You get the six small holes on your side of the board.
Each player puts four stones of each color in each of his six holes.
Your mancala scoring cup or store is to your right.
The Goal of the Game
Have the most stones in your mancala after all the stones on one side of the game board have been taken.
The first player picks a pit on his side of the board and takes all of the stones from it.
Now, the player puts one stone in each pit in a counterclockwise direction.
If you drop a stone in your own store, you can put it down and it will be safe. If you come across your opponent's store, don't stop there.
If the last stone you drop ends up in your own store, you get a free turn.
If the last stone you drop goes into an empty pit, you take those stones and any stones in the pit directly across from them on your opponent's side of the board.
If you catch stones, you should put them right into your Mancala (store).
Your turn is over when you drop all of your stones or capture any stones. The game keeps going, with each player taking a turn.
The game is over when all six pits on one side of the board are empty. The player whose side of the board still has stones will take all of those stones.
Now, each player counts how many stones are in their mancala. The winner is the player with the most stones.
How to Play Mancala Game
Mancala game is easy to play. Choose who will go first, and let that person take any four stones from any pocket. Then, they have to go counterclockwise around the board, dropping one stone in each pocket or store along the way. From there, you can make things as easy or hard as you want. We'll tell you the most basic rules so that everyone can enjoy the game. Players skip their opponent's store as they drop stones along the path (or mancala). If the last stone falls into a pocket on either side of the board that is empty, you lose.
If, on the other hand, your last stone falls into a pocket with more stones, you can pick up those stones and keep going. If you drop your last stone in your own mancala, you can choose any pocket and keep going. Confusing? When you're not playing, it seems that way. But if you have a board and some stones, it can feel a lot easier. Remember that there are other rules you can use if the game gets too easy. If it seems too hard, you could even take some away.
How to win Mancala
There are lots of things you can do to help you win. One way to get off to a good start is to start on the third hole. This way, your last stone will land in your store, giving you a second move. Your next move is just as important from there.
Choose the first or second closest pocket so you can put the last of your four stones in a pocket that is already full and keep playing. After that, it's always just a matter of thinking and counting quickly. When it's your turn to scoop more stones to play, always look for pockets with enough stones to drop into your own store or move you to even bigger pockets.
Games of mancala are often won by the narrowest of margins. With just one more stone in your mancala, you can win or lose.
As the first player, your first move should be to the third hole, since your last stone is now in the mancala. This gives you not only a point but also a second move.
Now, play from the hole to your right or the hole right next to it. Either of these moves will drop a stone into your opponent's third hole, making it impossible for him to make the same first move.
Think about your Mancala
Try to make moves that get as many stones as possible into your Mancala. When you put a stone into your Mancala, you can't take it out again with your next move. This lets you score points.
Your first move in each turn should always let you move again. So, your last seeding stone has to land in your own Mancala. But be careful, this may not always be the best move because it will clear your side of the board too quickly.
Use your Rightmost Pit a lot
I often try to get rid of the ball in my rightmost hole as soon as possible. Then, if I get a pebble in it, I put it in the mancala on my next move, whether it's my turn or not. This speeds up the process of adding pebbles to the mancala and keeps you from having to give pebbles to your opponent if more than one pebble ends up in the rightmost hole.
If you can't move where your last mancala stone is, you should always try to take the stones on the other player's side of the board.
If you can't capture your opponent's stones, make a move on your turn that keeps your pieces from being captured by moving stones into their empty pit. This won't help you get the most stones into your own mancala, but it can prevent your opponent from taking your stones.
You should also try to stop your opponent from moving more than once during his turn by dropping a stone in the hole that would have let him end his turn in his mancala.
Empty your own pits in a smart way
To take your opponent's stones, you need to make holes on your side of the board that is empty but your opponent's hole is not.
As soon as you can, empty the hole on your right, which is right next to your mancala zone. Whenever you use your move to pick up a single stone from that hole, you get a point and another move. You should drop a stone into your mancala to get another free point and then move again.
Plan ahead and watch your back
The most important thing to do to win at Mancala is to plan ahead. It's kind of like chess in that you have to know what you'll do a few moves ahead of time based on what your opponent does. Know that timing is very important in this game.
But you should also keep an eye on your opponent's moves behind you. If one of your full holes is threatened, you could either fill the empty hole or play the stones from your full hole as a defensive move.
Adjust your strategy
Keep the number of stones in each bin below or equal to the number of stones I need to hit my own mancala. This lets you starve your opponent, but it also puts you in a position on the board where you can use different strategies depending on what your opponent does next.
Set up baits
Some of your stones being taken is sometimes a good thing. This happens when your opponent will have to pay more in the future than the stones he was able to capture. Always compare the costs to other options and the benefits of both.
Strategy for Hoarding
When someone hoards, they put several pebbles in one hole and use it as a store. This can help you keep more stones on your side so that when the game is over, you can take all of those stones. It also cuts down on the number of stones your opponent can use.
So that is how to play Mancala game and some strategy tips to help you easily win the game. If you have any questions about the game rules, just leave a comment below and we will help you out!