Mancala World

Chisolo II → Italian.

First Description: Edwin William
Smith & Andrew Murray Dale, 1920
Cycles: One
Ranks: Four
Sowing: Single laps (!)
Region: Zambia

Chisolo II is a "chisolo" (mancala game) of the Ila people in Zambia. The game is a variant of Spreta. Murray's description is incorrect like so many other of his book, while the original description by Smith & Dale appears to be incomplete.


Chisolo II is played on a board with four rows with seven holes per row, each containing a singleton.


Initial Position

At their first turn each player captures two opponent's stones of the same file (one from the inner row, one from the outer row) opposite to an occupied hole of his inner row and then "snatches" another stone from the opponent. No stones are moved in the opening stage of the game.

Although not explicitly stated, stones are afterwards "sown" into empty holes only. This can be concluded by comparing this "chisolo" to Spreta and from Smith' & Dale's rather cryptic statement: "As there is no empty hole to act as the goal ...". For that practical reason every move is, in fact, single lap! Sowing is counterclockwise.

If the stone is moved to a hole of the inner row and the opponent's inner hole opposite to it contains a stone, the enemy stone is captured and removed from the board.

If there is another stone in the same file in the opponent's outer row, it is also captured.

In either case, the player "snatches" another enemy stone.

The game ends when a player has no stones left.

The player who at the end has still stones in his holes wins the game.

Draws and ties cannot occur.


Murray, H. J. R.
A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford University Press, Oxford (England) 1952, 210.
Smith, E. W. & Dale, A. M.
The Ila-speaking Peoples of Northern Rhodesia. Macmillan and Co., London (England) 1920, 237.


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