Mancala World

Daramutu → German, Italian.

Other Names: Ellaewala-
First Description: Henry
Parker, 1909
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Sri Lanka

Daramutu ("row of pearls") is a mancala game, which is played by village women in Sri Lanka with astonishing rapidity. The game was first described by Henry Parker in 1909. He notes about them:

"Without counting the seeds (...) they seem to know instinctively, perhaps as the result of long practice, at which hole it is best to begin in order to effect captures. An inexperienced person has no chance of beating them."


Olinda Board (Parker 1909)

The board called olinda-poruwa has 14 holes (wala) arranged in two rows (pila). Between them are two rectangular hollows serving as stores for the captures.

Initially there are four seeds (indiya, pl. indi) in each hole, usually from the Olinda creeper (Abrus precatorius).


Initial Position

On his turn a player sows (ihinawa) the contents of one of his holes, one at a time, into the succeeding holes. The direction of play (clockwise or anti-clockwise) is decided by the first player and then adhered to throughout the game by both players.

When the last seed falls into an occupied hole, which contained three or more seeds, its contents (including the last dropped seed) are sown in another lap.

A singleton is called puta ("son"), a hole containing two seeds naga ("daughter").

If the last seed falls into an empty hole, a puta or a naga on either side of the board, the contents of the opposite hole are "eaten" (innawa). The captures are collected in the store.

If the opposite hole is empty, nothing is captured.

A turn always ends by dropping the last seed in hand into an empty hole, a puta or a naga.

The game is finished when a player has nothing to move with at the start of his turn. The remaining seeds that are not yet captured are won by the player who could move last.

The game is won by the player who captured more seeds.


Parker, H. 
Ancient Ceylon: An Account of the Aborigines and of Part of the Early Civilisation. Luzac & Co., London (UK) 1909, 599.


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