Mancala World
Bao 6x2
Inventor: Xevi Noè i Nogueiras,
Variant of: Bao la Kiswahili
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Spain

Bao 6x2 was created by Xevi Noè i Nogueiras, a Catalan from Spain, in December 2006. He published the rules in the mailing list Jocsalparc. It is a very unusual Bao variant played on an Oware board. Xevi Noè i Nogueiras is also co-author of the two-dimensional sowing game Nanele.


The game board consists of 2x6 holes. Initially there are four seeds in each one of them. A player owns the row on his side of the board.


Initial Position

At his turn a player picks up the all the seeds of one of his holes and distributes them, one by one, as he wants (i.e. either clockwise or counterclockwise) into the following holes.

If the last seed falls into an occupied hole, its contents are distributed in another lap, if it wasn't an occupied hole on the player's own side that was opposite to a non-empty hole of his opponent.

If the last seed of the first lap falls into an occupied hole of the player's own row and the opposite hole of the opponent's row is also occupied, the player captures the seeds, which are in that hole of his opponent. This is done as follows:

  • First he empties the opponent's hole.
  • Then he puts one of these captured seeds aside (these are stored somewhere until the game has ended).
  • If there are still seeds left after that, the remaining seeds are re-introduced into the game by sowing them towards the center.
    • If the seeds were captured from one of the four holes in the center of the row, the first one is dropped into the endhole, which is in the direction from where the player came (which means that the direction of sowing remains unaltered).
    • If the seeds were captured from an endhole, the sowing is started in that endhole.

If the first lap of a move is without capture, nothing is captured in the full move. On the other hand, if the first lap captured, multiple captures are possible, even if they are interrupted by non-capturing laps.

Capturing moves aren't compulsory. Contrary to Bao la Kiswahili, players are permitted to play non-capturing moves, even if they could capture with another move.

If the player is sowing 12 or more seeds, the starting hole is skipped.

Sowing in laps or capturing continues until the last seed falls into an empty hole.

There is, however, one exception from this rule:

  • If a non-capturing lap or a capture would result in leaving the opponent without a valid move, the sowing can be stopped in an occupied hole (without anything being captured). This is optional, depending on the player's choice.

The game ends when a player is unable to move or the board position repeats.

The remaining seeds are divided between the players as follows:

  • If the player who moved last couldn't prevent his opponent to run out of moves in the following turn, each player gets the seeds on his row.
  • If the player could have prevented it, each player receives the seeds that are in their opponent's row.
  • If the position repeats, everyone wins the seeds in their respective rows.

The player who won the most seeds is declared the winner of the game.


The name of the game is misleading since the first number usually indicates the number of rows and the second one the number of holes per row. A better name might be Bao la Kikatalani (i.e. Catalan Bao).

External Links[]


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