Mancala World
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Description of the characteristics of the games of the Mancala family

Version 2.0, 2018

Copyright (C) Andrey N. Efremov, 2018, efremovzone@gmail.com

The first version of the description was developed in Russian in 2015 for personal use.

This description is the second version created in 2018, which laid the principle of universality for understanding and use by a native speaker of any language.

I hope those who are immersed in mancala will understand the usability and take them into service.

Recording the characteristics of the game (description) allows you to quickly assess the alleged capabilities of a particular mancala. Also, the description can serve for the selection of games with any identical properties and their further analysis.

Each information block of certain characteristics of the game is enclosed in parentheses. All descriptions and information blocks are written without spaces.

(Board dimension; storage holes; special holes; number of cycles)(Sowing type; seeding direction)(Direction of hole counting; number of holes per player)(Number of stones)(Number of players)

Rank (row).

The number of rows on the board can be from 1 (for example, Chuka Ruma) and up to N (for example, Laomuzhuqi Nx5).

The number of rows on the board determines the rank of the mancala. There are three main types of game: two ranks (holes in two rows), three ranks (holes in three rows) and four ranks (holes in four rows).

Cyclicity and number of cycles.

A feature of most games of the Mancala family is the cycling of the seeding, that is, the distribution of stones in the holes along a certain path.

The number of cycles is how stones are distributed during sowing. Usually, two-row and three-row mancals have one cycle, which covers the entire board, both on their side and on the opponent’s side, that is, during sowing, the stones are distributed not only into their holes, but also into the opponent’s holes.

Four-row mancals or, for example, six-row ones, as a rule have two separate cycles, each of which affects only a part of the board belonging to one of the players, that is, during sowing, stones are distributed only in their holes, and stones are captured on the opponent’s side under special conditions .

It is recorded in the first information block (Board dimension) after the description of special holes and is separated by a forward slash (/), if no cycles exist, then zero (0) is set, if the cycles are non-standard, for example, partially overlapping or several overlapping, then the tilde sign (~). It is acceptable, but not necessary, to indicate the number of such non-standard cycles after the tilde sign (~).

Examples:

Oware - (2x6+2~/0/1) - one cycle. Bao la Kiswahili - (4x8+0/1C[12]/2) - two cycles. Diffusion - (2x6+2/0/~) - non-standard cycles.

The number of holes.

The number of holes in one row can be from 2 or more, for example, Tshuba - 22 holes.

Hole drive.

A storage hole is typically used to store captured stones.

The storage hole (barn, kalah, etc.) is usually larger in size than the main game holes, and are traditionally located along the edges or in the center of the board, and are missing in some models.

The dimension of the board.

A board with holes - 2x6+2, reads: two rows of six holes and two storage holes; 4x8+0, reads: four rows of eight holes (2 rows of 16 holes for one player and the same number for the other), no accumulative holes.

If a variable number of holes is allowed in a mancala, it is written as follows: (2x6-10+2) and reads: two rows from six to ten holes and two storage holes, or (2x6-10+0) - two rows six to ten holes without storage holes.

If the number of holes is variable, but not sequential, then it is written as follows (each inconsistent dimension is indicated by a colon): (2x5-8:12:16+2).

If there are several variations of the game, then to determine the main accepted version, the D symbol is added after the number of holes (from the English dominant), for example, (2x5D-8:12:16+2) or the same record, but the main version is six holes - (2x5:6D-8:12:16+2).

If initially the dimension of the board is not known, then instead of the dimension the symbol N is put, for example, Laomuzhuqi Nx5 - (Nx5+0).

However, it is easier to record each individual dimension with a new description, for example, (2x5+2), (2x6+2), (2x7+2), (2x16+0), since not only the dimension of the board will change, but also the number of stones.

In some dummies, storage wells are an optional element, for example, as in Oware, then after the number of storage holes is indicated, the tilde sign (~) is indicated, indicating the optionality of storage holes (for example, 2x6+2~).

Special hole.

Some mancals have special holes with special conditions during the game, which may differ in shape (for example, in Bao la Kiswahili (one of the holes is square) or in account, for example, in Omweso 1st, 2nd, 15th, 16th holes.

Special holes can be either permanent (for example, Omweso), or created during the game (for example, Selus, Toguz Kumalak).

The location (address) of the special holes created during the game in the currently existing mancala cannot be fixed in a description, however, no one guarantees that in the future modern types of mancals will be developed in which a particular hole will change its capabilities upon occurrence special conditions (for example, hitting 13 stones on the opponent’s 6th hole makes it a special hole).

Permanent and newly created holes are recorded in the information block after the dimension of the game board and are separated from the dimension by a direct slash (/), the location of the holes is recorded inside square brackets ([]).

The following elements are defined:

C - constant

N - newly created

h - a special hole on its side (English home)

r - special hole on the opponent’s side

~ - indicates an unlimited number of newly created special holes; written before a specific element.

[1-2;15-16] - location of special holes.

If the location of the special holes is the same, then you can not specify which side they belong to.

If the location of special holes is unequal, then its own side and the opponent’s side are recorded in a separate block and separated by a semicolon (;), for example, (4x8+0/2Ch[1-2];4Cr[2-3;5;7]) - two permanent special holes on its side under the numbers 1; 2 and four permanent special holes on the opponent's side under numbers 2; 3; 5; 7.

Examples:

- (4x8+0/4C[1-2;15-16]) - Omweso; (4x8+0/4C[1;8;10;15]) - Igisoro (Igisoro). Four permanent special holes are present both on their side and on the side of the opponent.

- A special hole created only on the side of the opponent, respectively, and the opponent can create a hole on your side: (2x9+2/1Nr) - Toguz Kumalak.

-

- An unlimited number of newly created special holes both on the opponent’s side and on their side, respectively, and also on the opponent’s side: (3x6+2/~N) - Selus.

- Hypothetical record - two newly created special holes only on their side: (3x6+2/2Nh).

- A hypothetical record - two permanent holes on its side and the side of the opponent, and three newly created special holes only on the side of the opponent: (3x6+2/2C[2;4];3Nr).

- A hypothetical record - two permanent holes on its side and the side of the opponent, and three newly created special holes on both its side and the side of the opponent: (3x6+2/2C[2;4];3N).

Sowing.

The distribution of stones in the holes can be in all holes, including the opponent’s holes, and only in their own.

Sowing is a player taking from any hole, usually on his side, all stones and distributing them to neighboring holes, one stone per hole.

In two-row games, seeding affects the holes of the entire board. In four-row games, it is limited to the holes of two rows belonging to the player making the move.

Multiplicity of sowing.

Sowing can be simple (one-time, in English - single laps), that is, the course ends when all the stones taken from any hole are placed one at a time in the holes.

Sowing can be cyclical (multiple, in English - multi laps), that is, if the last stone is placed in a hole that already contains stones, then the player again takes all the stones from this hole (where the last stone fell) and continues to sow further, and so on until the last stone falls into an empty hole. Multiple types of seeding can lead to very long strokes and completely change the situation on the board.

In some types of mancals, for example, Indian ones, such as Ali Guli Mani, cyclic sowing does not use stones from the hole where the previous cycle (initial sowing) was completed, but with the next one this rule is called Pussa Kanawa).

The following elements are defined:

S - single sowing (English single laps).

Sf - is a one-time sowing starting from the initial hole, that is, the first stone is put into the hole from where all the stones were taken (English single laps first hole), for example, Bechi.

M - cyclic sowing (English multi laps).

Mpk - cyclic seeding according to the rule of Pass Kanawa (English multi laps pussa kanawa).

~ - indicates the special conditions for sowing, it is necessary to look at the rules; written before a specific element. For example, in Toguz Kumalak - (2x9+2/1Nr/1)(~Sf:CCW) sowing once (S), going counterclockwise (CCW), if the hole selected for sowing contains more than one stone, then the first stone is put back into the same hole (f), but if the hole from which sowing is carried out contains only one stone, then it is transferred (sowed) to the next hole - these are special conditions (~).

In some mancals, sowing can be, as a variation of the same game, either cyclical or one-time, then it is recorded through a forward slash (/), first the main option is then additional. For example, Jekinje (Je ki n je) - (2x6+0/0/1)(M/S:CCW).

Sowing direction.

In what direction is the sowing (distribution) in the wells. It can be clockwise, counterclockwise, or in other directions.

There can be one-sided sowing in only one direction and reverse, which reverses the direction of sowing. A change of direction in reverse sowing may depend on which hole the sowing starts from or when any conditions occur.

There can also be a counter sowing (cross-sowing), that is, when a player who starts sowing chooses his direction, and his opponent must sow towards him.

The following elements are defined:

CW - clockwise.

CCW - counterclockwise.

~ - indicates the special conditions for sowing, it is necessary to look at the rules; written before a specific element.

The information block is written as follows: (M:CCW/~CW) and is read as, sowing counterclockwise, also clockwise, but with special conditions for this game.

Examples:

Omweso - (4x8+0/4C[1-2;15-16]/2)(M:CCW)

Igisoro (Igisoro) - (4x8+0/4C[1;8;10;15]/2)(M:CCW/~CW)

Giuthi (Giuthi) - (2x5:6D-8:10+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW), or by separate descriptions: (2x5+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW); (2x6D+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW); (2x7+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW); (2x8+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW); (2x10+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)

Selus - (3x6+2/~N/1)(M:~CCW)

Imbelece, Wagenia - (3x6+1/0/1)(M:CCW)

The number of holes.

Number of holes per player, direction and numbering of holes. In most cases, the direction of counting the holes coincides with the direction of sowing, however, this information block is introduced to uniquely interpret the direction of counting and numbering of the holes.

The following elements are defined:

L - count holes from left to right (English left)

R - count holes from right to left (English right)

For example, for a four-row mancala (L:16), that is, the holes of the first row are from left to right from 1 to 8, then the holes of the second row are from right to left from 9 to 16.

For example, for Gabata, Selus (L:9), i.e. 6 holes in the first row from left to right and 3 holes in the second row from right to left.

Examples:

Omweso - (4x8+0/4C[1-2;15-16]/2)(M:CCW)(L:16)

Igisoro - (4x8+0/4C[1;8;10;15]/2)(M:CCW/~CW)(L:16)

Giuthi - (2x5:6D-8:10+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:5-8;10)

Selus - (3x6+2/~N/1)(M:~CCW)(L:9)

Imbelece, Wagenia - (3x6+1/0/1)(M:CCW)(L:8)

The number of stones.
Each sub-block is written according to the principle of recording the dimension of the board (see. Dimension of the board) and is separated from the other sub-block by a direct slash (/). Each option in the subblock is separated by a colon (:).

4/24/48 - it reads: the initial position of 4 stones in each hole, 24 stones for each player, in total - 48 (i.e., the dimension of the board is 2x6).

4/24+1/50 - it reads: 4 stones in each hole, 25 stones (24 + 1) for each player and one stone differs, for example, in size or color, in total - 50.

2:4/16:24/32:48, it reads: for two or more versions of the game, 2 or 4 stones in each hole, 16 or 24 stones per player, in total - 32 or 48.

2-6/16-36/32-72, read as: from 2 to 6 stones in each hole, from 16 to 36 stones per player, in total - from 32 to 72.

2-4:7/16-24:42/32-48:84, read as: from 2 to 4 stones in each hole of the first option or 7 stones of the second and subsequent options (if any), from 16 to 24 stones per player or 42, in total - from 32 to 48 or 84.

2-3:5-7/12-18:30-42/24-36:60-84, read as: from 2 to 3 stones in each hole of the first option or from 5 to 7 stones of the second and subsequent options (if any there are), from 12 to 18 stones per player or from 30 to 42, in total - from 24 to 36 or from 60 to 84.

~/32/64, read as: 32 stones for each player, in total - 64, tilde (~) denotes special conditions for the initial location of stones for which you need to look at the rules of a particular game (for example, four holes in all holes, and five in the last stones).

The number of players.

Some mancals are played by more than two players, for example, Kara - from 2 to 4 players; Kuoless - from 2 to 10 players; Um Laarais - 3 players.

The information block is written as follows: (1) - 1 player (mancala-solitaire); (2) - 2 players (most mancals); (2-4) - from 2 to 4 players; (2-N) - from 2 to an indefinite amount.

Descriptive examples.

Oware - (2x6+2~/0/1)(S:CCW)(L:6)(4/24/48)(2)

Bao La Kiswahili - (4x8+0/1C[12]/2)(M:~CW/~CCW)(L:16)(~/32/64)(2)

Omweso - (4x8+0/4C[1-2;15-16]/2)(M:CCW)(L:16)(~/32/64)(2)

Igisoro - (4x8+0/4C[1;8;10;15]/2)(M:CCW/~CW)(L:16)(~/32/64)(2)

Alemungula - (2x5+2~/0/1)(S:CCW/CW)(L:5)(5/25/50)(2)

Giuthi:

- full recording - (2x5:6D-8:10+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:5-8;10)(4:6/20:36:42:48:60/40:72:84:96:120)(2)

- a separate description for each option:

- (2x5+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:5)(4/20/40)(2)

- (2x6D+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:6)(6/36/72)(2)

- (2x7+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:7)(6/42/84)(2)

- (2x8+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:5)(6/48/96)(2)

- (2x10+0/0/1)(M:CW/CCW)(R:10)(6/60/120)(2)

Selus - (3x6+2/~N/1)(M:~CCW)(L:9)(3/27/54)(2)

Imbelece, Wagenia - (3x6+1/0/1)(M:CCW)(L:8)(~3/24/48)(2)

Kara - (2x6+1/0/1)(S:CCW)(L:6)(7/42/84)(2-4)

Kuoless - (2x10+0/0/1)(S:CCW)(L:10)(4/40/80)(2-10)

Toguz Kumalak - (2x9+2/1Nr/1)(~Sf:CCW)(L:9)(9/81/162)(2)

Bechi - (2x3+0/0/1)(Sf:CW/CCW)(L:3)(6/18/36)(2); (2x4D+0/0/1)(Sf:CW/CCW)(L:4)(6/24/48)(2)

Descriptive read examples:

Oware - (2x6+2~/0/1)(S:CCW)(L:6)(4/24/48)(2)

Two rows of six holes; two storage wells, which are optional elements of the board; special holes are absent; number of cycles - 1; sowing one-time counterclockwise; the holes are counted from left to right; at the beginning of the game, there are 4 stones in each hole, 24 stones for one player, a total of 48; number of players - 2.

Bao La Kiswahili - (4x8+0/1C[12]/2)(M:~CW/~CCW)(L:16)(~/32/64)(2)

Four rows of eight holes; storage wells are absent; one permanent special hole under the 12th number, both on the one hand and on the other; number of cycles - 2; sowing is cyclical, both clockwise and counterclockwise with special conditions (you must see the rules); for one player there are 16 holes, which are counted from left to right; at the beginning of the game in each hole an undetermined number of stones (you must look at the rules), for one player - 32 stones, total - 64; number of players - 2.

Toguz Kumalak - (2x9+2/1Nr/1)(~Sf:CCW)(L:9)(9/81/162)(2)

Two rows of nine holes; two storage wells; one special newly created hole on the enemy side; number of cycles - 1; sowing one-time counterclockwise, starts from the same hole where the stones were taken from, however there are special conditions for sowing - you need to look at the rules; the player has nine holes, which are counted from left to right; at the beginning of the game, there are 9 stones in each hole, 81 stones for one player, 162 in total; number of players - 2.

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