Mancala World
Bule Perga
First Description: Peter
J. Claus, 1986
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: India (South

Bule Perga (from Tulu: bule "ripe") is a mancala game of the Tuluva in Southern India. It was first described in 1986 by the ethnologue Peter J. Claus, professor at the State University of California at Hayward (USA).

According to Claus the game "parallels to the strategies in the competition in agricultural societies".


The board has 14 holes arranged in two rows and two larger hollows at either end used for storing captured seeds. Each player owns the store to his right.

Initially there are four seeds in each hole.


Initial Position

At his turn a player distributes the contents of one of his holes anti-clockwise, one by one, into consecutive holes. After the last stone has been sown, the contents of the next hole are taken and distributed.

If the next hole is empty, the move is over.

When a hole becomes filled with four seeds, the hole is "ripe" (bule) and its contents may be "harvested" by the player on whose side the hole lies. If a player doesn't see the "harvest", hesitates for too long or decides not to collect the seeds, his opponent may call "niru!" ("water") and then they must remain in play.

Claus didn't state when a game is over. It might be assumed that Bule Perga uses the same rule as Pallankuzhi (a similar game played in Southern India): If a player has no seeds left to make a move, the game is over and his opponent captures the remaining seeds.

The player who captured more groups of four wins.


Claus, P. J. 
Playing Cenne: The Meanings of a Folk Game. In: Blackburn, S. H. & Ramanujan, A. K. (Eds.) Another Harmony: New Essays on the Folklore of India. Oxford University Press, Oxford (England) 1986, 265-293.
Claus, P. J. 
Cenne (Mancala) in Tuluva Myth and Cult. In: Claus, P. J., Pattanayak, D. P. & Handoo, J. Indian Folklore II. Central Institute of Indian Languages Press, Mysore (India) 1987.


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