-  Mancala Rules  -

Mancala Rules.


Place 4 stones into each of the 12 cups. Mancala sets come with a total of 48 stones or marbles. Divide these between you and your opponent so that each of you has 24 stones. Place 4 of your stones into each of the 6 cups on your side of the board and have your opponent do the same. Don’t put stones into the mancalas (home cups) at the ends of the board.


Pick up the stones from 1 of your cups on your turn. To start the game, choose someone to go first. You can do this by tossing a coin or let the youngest player go first. On your turn, pick up the stones in 1 of the cups on your side of the board.


Never pick up stones from your opponent’s side of the board to start your turn. You must start your turn by emptying one of your cups on your side of the board.​


Place 1 stone into each of the cups to the right of that cup. Redistribute the stones into the cups to the right. Move counter-clockwise around the board to redistribute any remaining stones. Only put 1 stone into each cup. When you reach the end of your row, place 1 stone into your mancala, but don’t put a stone into your opponent’s mancala if you pass it.

Take turns to continue playing the game. After you finish placing all of your stones into cups, your turn is over. Allow your opponent to do the same on their turn. Alternate turns with your opponent until someone wins the game.​


End the game when all the cups on 1 side of the board are empty. It does not matter if you or your opponent is the first player with empty cups on their side. When 1 of you has no stones in any of the 6 cups on your side, the game is over. Stop taking turns at this point.


For example, if you empty the last of your cups on your turn, then the game would end right after your turn. Play would not pass to your opponent.

Count your stones to see who has the most. The player with the most stones is the winner, so count your stones and have your opponent do the same. If you have the most stones, then you win. If your opponent has the most stones, they win. It does not matter how many more stones you have than your opponent or vice versa.[

For example, if you have 26 stones and your opponent only has 18 stones, then you win the game. But if your opponent has 21 stones and you have 20, then your opponent is the winner.​


Note that there will still be stones on the board when the game is over. Only 1 side of the board needs to be empty to end the game. Any stones that remain on the board will not count towards either player’s points. For example, say your opponent ends the game by clearing the stones from their side, but you still have stones on your side. These stones do not count towards either of your points. The person with the most stones in their mancala is the winner.

  • For example, if you have 21 stones in your mancala and your opponent has 20 stones, then the other 7 stones still on the board are neutral. You would be the winner because you have the most stones.