Mancala World
Ali Guli Mane
Other Names: Aligulimane
First Description: Anonymous,
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Pussa Kanawa
Region: India (Karnataka)

Ali Guli Mane ("block of wood with holes") is a popular mancala game native to South India, especially Karnataka. The game is played by the young and the old alike. Its concept is sowing and reaping - an integral part of rural life all over India.

The game board is made out of wood and sometimes of metal. In earlier days, boards were even carved into stone slabs on veranda floors.

Gulaganji (circassian seeds, coral wood or red wood seeds), hunase beeja (tamarind seeds), kavade (small cowrie shells) are used as game pieces.

On June 7, 2009, there was a one day tournament organized by the cultural organisation Chintana Balaga at Sri Vidya Shankara Kalyana Mantapa in front of Gun House, Mysore.


The board called "ane" consists of two rows, each with seven holes.

At the start of the game each hole contains five seeds.


Initial Position

On his turn a player picks up the counters of one of his holes and distributes them into the following holes one by one anti-clockwise.

After the last counter was dropped into a hole, the contents of the following hole are distributed in another lap as usual in India.

The move ends when the following hole is empty. This is called "saada".

If the hole was empty, the player captures the contents if any of the succeeding hole. In addition, he captures the contents of the hole opposite to that hole.

Each turn a player may move twice, if he captures in his first move. Then his term ends after two "saadas".

A player must move unless he has nothing to play with.

The game is finished when when all counters are taken.

The player who has collected most counters wins the game.

In the next round, each player tries to fill his holes with five counters from his winnings. These holes which cannot be filled are marked with a pebble or a twig and are avoided for further play. The match is continued until one player is unable to fill even one hole.

The loser is often humiliated with songs, or he has to run around with the board on his head. In Chamrajanagar, the rules are that the 14 holes are filled with ash, and the loser has to blow them away.

External Links

See also


What is Ali Guli Mane? (archived website of Bangalore (India) 2001.
Luca, C.
Ali guli mane. In: Il Fogliaccio degli Astratti 2007; 40 (February): 8.


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By: Ralf Gering
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