Game: Mancala


Bibliographic Information:

Name- Mancala

Maker-Cardinal (various)

Model Number- 28001

Interest Age: 13 and up

Average game time: Depending on amount of moves, should average about 35-40 moves per game.

Annotation: Mancala is an ancient game that allows the player to use their strategy and counting abilities to try and defeat their opponent.

How to play:

Mancala features a board with 6 indentations on each side, and two long indentations (called the mancala) on either side. It also comes with 48 multi-colored stones. Players should place 4 stones in each indentation (not including the mancala). Each play is assigned the side of the board they are sitting by. The two players decide who goes first, by whatever method they choose to do so. The first player then chooses one of the indents to choose stones from and works to their left by dropping each stone in the next indents. For example, if there are 4 pieces in the indent you pick up, you will move to the left 4 spaces and drop all 4 of the stones (one by one) in the next indents. If the player comes to their opponents mancala (each players own mancala is on their right, so their opponents mancala is to the left), they must skip over it and put it in the next indent on the other side. Once they have moved the stones from their original spot, left and across their opponents side and they have reached their own mancala they must drop a stone in. If a player puts their last piece in an indent with stones, the player is to pick that pile up and continue playing. If they land in an empty one, their turn is over. If a player drops their last stone in their mancala, they may choose another indent from their side to pick up and begin dropping stones again. The game ends when one player no longer has any stones on their side of the board. The other player then puts the stones on their side in their own mancala. The player with the most mancala stones in their mancala is the winner (How to play…Mancala!!!, n.d.).

Critical Evaluation:

This game is really fun and perfect for a library to acquire probably 4-5 boards for their teen sections. This game is calm, and really allows the players to get one another while playing it. The rules are fairly simple and straight forward. They are not really meant to be changed, but there might be some confusion about what side a player can grab, and that is really up to the two players that are playing at the time. One aspect that might determine if a library purchases this game or not is the fact that it does come with 48 multi-colored stones that may get lost or stolen. But they can be replaced by any small object. Other than that, I think this would be a great addition to any YA collection and that’s why I included it in mine.

Challenging Issues:

I don’t foresee any issues being brought up about this game.


How to play…Mancala!!! (n.d.). Retrieved from


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