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Mancala is a game that has been around for centuries. Forms of this game were played in ancient Africa and Asia. There are many different names, boards and rules of play for Mancala. . . but most are played on wooden boards with beads, stones or glass game pieces. Children in Africa would play by scooping holes in the dirt to create a game board.
This version is one that you can make with a Styrofoam egg carton, two applesauce (or pudding cups) and dried beans. Of course, you can use anything for game pieces, beads, pennies, or anything small and easy to scoop!
You will need 48 dried beans to start the game - 4 in each cup. Two people play at a time.
Place the board between the two players so that the long sides face the players- and the two applesauce cups (Mancala cups) are on the right and left. You will have six cups of beans facing each player. Place 4 beans in each cup. Each player has a Mancala cup - which is the applesauce cup on their LEFT. This cup is where they put the beans they collect.
Object of the game:
Each player takes a turn and tries to collect as many beans as possible in their Mancala cup before the other player clears their side of the board.
How to play:
One player starts. In his or her turn, they pick up all of the beans from one cup on their side of the board- Then - going clockwise- they place one bean at a time in each cup- including their Mancala (collection cup) until they run out of beans.
If you go first and pick up all the beans in the cup on the far left- you would drop one bean in your Mancala (collection) cup and one bean each in the cups on the other side of the board. You must put one bean in each and every cup you pass over- EXCEPT for the opponent's Mancala cup. You just skip that cup.
If the last bean a player has drops into their Mancala cup, they get to go again! (Strategy here would tell you to start with the fourth cup from the left. . . which would let you drop your last bean into your Mancala. . . then you get another turn.
Also- in this version of the game, if you drop the last bean into a cup that already contains beans, you pick up all the beans in that cup and keep going. Your turn ends when you place the last bean into an empty cup! Then, it's the other players turn.
The game ends when one player has no more beans left in the cups on their side of the board. The player with the most beans in their Mancala cup wins!