Mancala World

Ünee Tugalluulax → German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese.

Ünee Tugalluullax
First Description: N.
Namzhildorzh, 1963
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Mongolia

Ünee Tugalluulax (Mongolian: Үнээ тугаллуулах, "let the cows calve") is a mancala game played by Kazakhs in western Mongolia near the Chinese border. It was described for the first time by N. Namzhildorzh in 1963. Games are played on very small boards and usually take more than 150 moves. In June 2009, Jörn Eichler from Hannover, Germany, discovered repeating board positions.


The game is played on a board (khölög) of 2 x 3 = 6 holes. Initially each hole contains six dung balls (khorgol), excrements of camels, goats and sheep are recommended.


Initial Position

At his turn a player distributes the contents of one of his holes, one by one, in a clockwise direction (viewed as the male direction in Mongolia). The first ball must be dropped into the succeeding hole.

If the last ball is dropped into one of your own holes which then contains four balls, you capture the contents (four balls).

The game ends when a player cannot move or the board position repeats.

A cyclical position discovered in 2009 by Jörn Eichler, Hannover (Germany) - South to move. Note: Capturing loses!

If a player cannot move, the remaining balls are captured by the player who was able to move last. The player with most balls wins.

The traditional rule for what happens when the board position repeats is unknown. In other mancala games, counters that continue to circulate around the board are either divided between the players (Oware) or they are not counted (Cross-Wari). It is also possible that the game is considered to end without result (Aw-li On-nam Ot-tjin).

Some Specific Terms

  • A hole with one ball: ünee ("cow")
  • A hole with two balls: bux ünee khojor ("cow and bull")
  • A hole with three balls: ünee delegnene ("cow with inflated udder")
  • A hole with four balls: ünee tugalsan ("cow which has calved")

External Links


Namzhildorzh, N.
Mongolyn Togloom. Ulan Bator (Mongolia) 1963 (Volume I.): 85-102.
Popova, A.
Analyse Formelle et Classification des Jeux de Calculs Mongols. In: Études Mongoles 1974; 5: 7-60.


© Wikimanqala.
By: Ralf Gering
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.