Mankala is like most mancala games share a common general game play. Players begin by placing a certain number of seeds, prescribed for the particular game, in each of the pits on the game board. A player may count their stones to plot the game. A turn consists of removing all seeds from a pit, "sowing" the seeds (placing one in each of the following pits in sequence) and capturing based on the state of board. This leads to the English phrase "count and capture" sometimes used to describe the gameplay. Although the details differ greatly, this general sequence applies to all games.
Mancala is a classical board game. Also knows as Mankala, Kalah, Naqala, Bao la Kiswahili, Congkak, Oware, Awalé, Awélé, Toguz korgool and Toguz kumalak.
The objective of most two- and three-row mancala games is to capture more stones than the opponent; in four-row games, one usually seeks to leave the opponent with no legal move or sometimes to capture all counters in their front row.
At the beginning of a player's turn, they select a hole with seeds that will be sown around the board. This selection is often limited to holes on the current player's side of the board, as well as holes with a certain minimum number of seeds.
In a process known as sowing, all the seeds from a hole are dropped one-by-one into subsequent holes in a motion wrapping around the board. Sowing is an apt name for this activity, since not only are many games traditionally played with seeds, but placing seeds one at a time in different holes reflects the physical act of sowing. If the sowing action stops after dropping the last seed, the game is considered a single lap game.
Multiple laps or relay sowing is a frequent feature of mancala games, although not universal. When relay sowing, if the last seed during sowing lands in an occupied hole, all the contents of that hole, including the last sown seed, are immediately re-sown from the hole. The process usually will continue until sowing ends in an empty hole. Another common way to receive "multiple laps" is when the final seed sown lands in your designated hole.
Many games from the Indian subcontinent use pussa kanawa laps. These are like standard multilaps, but instead of continuing the movement with the contents of the last hole filled, a player continues with the next hole. A pussakanawa lap move will then end when a lap ends just prior to an empty hole. If a player ends his stone with a point move he gets a "free turn".
Depending on the last hole sown in a lap, a player may capture stones from the board. The exact requirements for capture, as well as what is done with captured stones, vary considerably among games. Typically, a capture requires sowing to end in a hole with a certain number of stones, ending across the board from stones in specific configurations, or landing in an empty hole adjacent to an opponent's hole that contains one or more pieces.
Another common way of capturing is to capture the stones that reach a certain number of seeds at any moment.
Also, several games include the notion of capturing holes, and thus all seeds sown on a captured hole belong at the end of the game to the player who captured it.
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