What Are the Rules of Mancala?

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At the start of a game of Mancala, each of the six holes on the two rows of the Mancala board has four stones or marbles. On each end of the board is a pit or store, one for each player. The first player to take a turn starts the game by picking up all the pieces in one of the six holes on her side of the board.

Moving in a counter-clockwise direction, the player whose turn it is places one stone into each hole she encounters until she runs out of stones. If the player passes her own store, she places one stone into it, but she skips the store of her opponent. If the player places the last stone in her own store, she receives another turn. If the player places the last stone in an empty hole, she captures that stone and all the stones in the hole opposite of the empty spot. The player places each captured stone in her own store.

Once all six holes on one side of a Mancala board are empty, the game is over. The player with pieces still left in the six holes on her side of the board captures all the remaining stones. Each player then counts the number of stones in her store, and the player with the most stones wins.

An empty egg carton may substitute for a Mancala board.