Mancala World
Bao la Kimasai
First Description: Martin
Klamroth, 1911
Cycles: Two
Ranks: Four
Sowing: Single laps (!)
Region: Tanzania

Bao la Kimasai is played by the Masai in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania. The game was first described by the German Lutheran missionary Martin Klamroth in 1911 who oberved it near the village of Mpapua.

The game might be related to Chisolo II.


Bao la Kimasai is played on a board, which has four rows of twelve holes. Each player controls the two rows on his side.

At the beginning there is one stone in each hole except for the leftmost holes of the players' front rows, which are empty.

Bao kimasai 4.jpg

Initial Position

Players take turns to move.

At his turn, a player moves a singleton in the ensuing hole, but only in the counterclockwise direction and only if that hole is empty.

If this stone fell into a hole of the front row and the opponent's hole opposite is occupied, the stone of this hole is captured and removed from the game. If the hole in the back row is occupied too, its stone is also taken.

A player wins when he captures all stones of his adversary.

The game is a draw, when the board position repeats.


Klamroth, M.
Afrikanische Brettspiele. In: Archiv für Anthropologie: Zeitschrift für Naturgeschichte und Urgeschichte des Menschen 1911; 10: 196-202.


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