Mancala World
Bag of Bones
Other Names:Bone Pile
Inventor: Joshua Conroy,
Ranks: Circle
Sowing: Single laps
Region: USA

Bag of Bones was designed by Joshua Conroy (USA) in 2011. The game was first called Bone Pile. It is a very unusual mancala game with hidden information and an interesting theme. The game was an entry of the October 2011 "Rest in Peace" game design contest of the Board Game Designers Forum.

"Moving a partially constructed skeleton can be quite strategic to guarantee completing multiple graves or to break up a skeleton that another player is close to completing."

Joshua Conroy


"You and your associates have been given the task of moving the remains from the local cemetery to a new location, but due to laziness, incompetence, and a general lack of morals, the contents have "shifted" during shipping and you're left with a big pile of bones. The families of the deceased have learned of your bungle and have agreed not to press charges against the first person to sort and put to rest the bones of their family members. Of course, being an unscrupulous lot, you've agreed that "mostly right" is good enough." (Joshua Conroy)


Players need 20 open grave cards, 16 closed grave cards (4 in each player color), 120 bone tokens (5 skulls, 5 bodies, 5 right arms, 5 left arms, 5 right legs, and 5 left legs in each player color), and a cloth bag.

Initially the 20 open grave cards are placed in a circle in the middle of the table. After that the bone tokens are put in the cloth bag, which is placed in the middle of the circle. The closed grave cards are given to the player of their color (two colors each for a two-player game).

During a player's turn they may do one of the following things:

  • Draw six bone tokens from the bag blindly and then choose an open grave. Then,

proceed either clockwise or counterclockwise without switching direction, place one bone token in each open grave.

  • Choose an open grave with at least one bone token in his color and remove

all the bone tokens. Then, starting with an adjacent open grave proceed clockwise or counterclockwise away from the emptied grave, place one bone token in each open grave.

Token placement restrictions:

  • A grave may not contain more than one of each type of bone token.
  • If a there are no legal bone tokens in a player's hand to place in an open

grave, that grave is skipped and placement continues with the next grave.

  • A player may not choose to skip a grave if they have a token in his hand

that could be placed in it.

  • Closed graves are skipped during placement.
  • Tokens cannot be removed from a closed grave.

When a grave contains one of each type of bone token, it is then closed. The player who has the most bone tokens of his color places a closed grave card on top of that grave. If players are tied for the most bone tokens, the owner of the skull token chooses which of the tied players claims the grave.

The game ends as soon as one player has five closed graves in his color. (five in either color for a two-player game)

The goal of the game is to be the first player to complete five skeletons in his color.

External Links


© Joshua Conroy
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.