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Game Review


Ages 6 and up
Game copyright 1995 Cardinal Industries, Inc.
Mancala in play
Uncle's Games link

2 Players30+ minutes


Mancala is a generic name for a group of games from Africa and Asia. Names, Boards and rules differ among regions, but the strategy is basically the same. This copy of the game includes one way to play: As stones move around the board. Each player attempts to capture as many as possible before his/her side is cleared of stones. move rocks


The long cups at the ends of the board are called mancala -- each player owns one of them. Players alternate turns. During a turn, a player removes all of the stones from one cup, and then places them one by one in the cups around the board in a clockwise direction. When placing stones around the board, a player will place a stone in his/her mancala (if possible) but not in his/her opponent's mancala. The only other way to capture stones is to place the very last stone of your turn into an empty cup on your side of the board -- all stones that are directly across on your opponents' side are then captured and placed in your mancala.

The game ends when one player has no stones on his/her side of the board. The oppenent then places all stones that remain on their side in their own mancala.

Mancala in play

Winning Conditions:

  • The player whose mancala has the most stones at the end of the game wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Down! The Baroness and I bought this game out of curiosity. This game was in all of the toy stores, and it seemed to be the latest Christmas time game fad.

When we opened the box, the game board was nicely made and the stones were pretty. The rules however were a single badly photocopied page of text that described basic play in a very difficult to read format.

Initially, when the rules are read, the basic movement of the stones seems adequately covered, but as play commenced, we found that clarifications were needed. Since all of the rules were compacted into a single paragraph, it is hard to find the exact rule that you want to inspect. The brevity of this paragraph left us angry. We needed to compose a house rule or two to make up for the inadequacies of the packaged rules.

As for the gameplay, we did enjoy the basic style and strategy of the game -- perhaps a different manufacturer of the game has better rules. We were grateful that the game was cheap, the lack of well written rules really hurt this game.

Where to buy:

Any local toy store -- Our copy was from a Target and cost about $5.

Uncle's Games link

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