How to Play Mancala: A Beginner’s Guide

Are you looking for a new game to play with your friends and family? Have you heard of Mancala? It’s a simple but strategic game that has been played for centuries in Africa and the Middle East. In this article, we’ll teach you how to play Mancala and provide some tips for winning. Let’s get started!

The Basics

Mancala is played on a board with two rows of six small pits, or cups, and a larger pit on each end called a “mancala.” The pits are filled with small stones or seeds, usually 48 in total. Each player has a row of pits in front of them, and the mancala on the right-hand side belongs to them as well. The goal of the game is to collect the most stones in your mancala by the end of the game.


To set up the game, place four stones in each of the twelve small pits. The mancalas should be empty at the start of the game. The player sitting on the right side of the board goes first.


On your turn, you will take all of the stones from one of your pits and distribute them one by one into the pits around the board, moving counterclockwise. You will skip your opponent’s mancala, but not your own. If the last stone you drop lands in your own mancala, you get to take another turn. If the last stone lands in an empty pit on your side of the board, you capture that stone and any stones in the pit directly opposite it on your opponent’s side of the board, placing them in your mancala. The game ends when all of the pits on one side of the board are empty.

Tips for Winning

1. Pay attention to your opponent’s moves. Try to predict where they will move next and block them from getting extra turns or capturing your stones. 2. Focus on capturing stones whenever possible. This not only adds to your own mancala, but also takes away from your opponent’s potential score. 3. Keep your mancala in mind. Remember that the goal of the game is to have the most stones in your mancala at the end, so make sure you are taking steps to achieve that goal. 4. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice some stones for a better position on the board. Sometimes it’s worth it to give up a few stones in order to set yourself up for a bigger capture or to prevent your opponent from capturing your stones.


Mancala is a fun and challenging game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you’re playing for fun or for competition, these tips should help you improve your game and increase your chances of winning. So gather some friends and give Mancala a try – you might just discover a new favorite game!Until next time, happy playing!