Mancala World
10 Mighty Men
Inventor: Ken Maher, 2009
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Canada

10 Mighty Men is a spiced-up game system based on the Nigerian game of Ayoayo. It was invented by Ken Maher from Canada in 2009.


10 Mighty Men is played on a board of two rows, each consisting of six pits that have a large store at either end. Each pit contains four seeds at the start. A player owns the row closest to him and the store to his right.


Initial Position

Basic Rules[]

At his turn a player takes the contents of one of his smaller holes and distributes it, one by one, counterclockwise into the following holes, but not in the stores. A move ends after a single lap.

If the emptied pit contains twelve or more seeds, it will be skipped.

If the last seed falls in an empty hole on the player's own side, the seeds in the opponent's hole directly across from it will be captured and placed into the store.

Note: The author of the game doesn’t write what happens what happens to the seed effecting the capture, but usually it is captured as well.

When the opponent has no seeds in his holes, the game is over. The remaining seeds are captured by the player who moved last.

It is not permitted to make a capture the last pieces of the opponent's row unless it is the only move that can be played.

The player who captured most counters wins the game.

Special Rules[]

The “10 Mighty Men” are ten special pieces that add flavor to the game. They have a distinct color to distinguish them from the regular pieces, which should be neutral and uniform. The special pieces can be used one at a time or several (even of the same type) may be used together in a game and substitute the regular ones. Their powers should be resolved after the sowing has been completed (except for the Hunter and the Trickster), but before anything has been captured.

The 10 Mighty Men:

  • The Farmer (Green): When the Farmer was dropped into an occupied pit, its contents are distributed in an “arc”. The first seed is put into the following pit, the next one into the pit directly across the following pit, the next two into the two pits following counterclockwise on the opponent’s side. The next seed is dropped into the pit preceding the emptied one and the remaining seeds are placed into the pit where the Farmer effected this special action. Maher didn’t state what happens when the Farmer lands in the ultimate pits of the board, but perhaps the “arc” is just shortened.
  • The Shepherd (White): The Shepherd may rearrange the pieces in the three pits made up of his pit, the preceding pit and the following pit in any way he wishes.
  • The Hunter (Brown): The Hunter may move up to n pits in addition to the pit where he normally would be dropped; n being equal to the number of other pieces lifted with it.
  • The Warrior (Red): The Warrior prevents the contents of his pit being captured, unless the capture is effected by another Mighty Man.
  • The Chieftan (Gold): When the Chieftan is dropped into a pit, he acquires the special powers of any Mighty Man in an adjoining pit and is then treated for that play as if it were that Mighty Man.
  • The Wise Mother Silver (Silver): Also known as the Wise Woman, she cancels any special actions (but not a regular sowing), if it would change the piece count in her pit.
  • The Witch Doctor (Blue): If the Witch Doctor is placed into an empty pit, three pieces, which had been captured by the opponent, are liberated by moving them into his pit.
  • The Trickster (Purple): The Trickster moves only backwards up to n pits, where he normally would be dropped; n being equal to the number of other pieces lifted with it.
  • The Assasin (Black): If an Assasin is captured, his pit is said to be “poisoned”. It is closed with a stick and no longer used in the game. During sowings poisoned pits are skipped.
  • The Spy (Orange): The Spy removes any special powers of a Mighty Man, which has already been in the pit into which it fell. Such a Mighty Man is reverted back to a regular piece. A Wise Mother, however, is immune and cannot be reverted.

Maher suggested to let one player decide where the Mighty Men will be placed, while his opponent then decides which side of the board they will take. After that the other player moves first.


Ralf Gering suggests the following rules to make the game less chaotic:

  • A Mighty Men exerts his power only if he is the last piece sown.


  • A Warrior protects his pit without being sown.
  • A Trickster must be sown first.

External Links[]


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