Mancala World
First Description: Vernon
A. Eagle, 1995
Ranks: Four
Sowing: Pussa Kanawa
Region: China (Yunnan)

Dongjintian (動金田 "moving in the golden fields") is a game, which is played by male Hani in Simao Prefecture, Mojiang County, Julian Town in southern Yunnan, China.


The game can be played by two or four people. If two people play, the board has two rows each with five pits. When played by four players, the game is rather unusual and its board has four by five pits.

Each pit contains five stones at the start of the game.


Initial Position (Four Players)

On his turn a player picks up the contents of any pit he wishes. Then he drops the first counter into an orthogonally adjacent pit. Subsequently counters are distributed, one at a time, forward, left or right, but may not double back.


Distribution Path

After the last stone was dropped, the player lifts the counters of the neighboring pit in the opposite direction from the pit in which the penultimate stone fell and then distributes them in another lap. This type of relay sowing is called after Indian mancala games "Pussa Kanawa" sowing.

If this pit is empty, the contents of the pit beyond, if any, are captured.

The move ends after a capture or when no relay sowing is possible.

The game ends when no more captures can be made. It seems logical that the remaining stones are neutral (ie. not counted) as pits are not owned by a particular player.

The player who captured most stones wins.


Eagle, V. A.
On Some Newly Described Mancala Games from Yunnan Province, China, and the Definition of a Genus in the Family of Mancala Games. In: Voogt, A. J. de (Ed.). New Approaches to Board Games Research: Asian Origins and Perspectives. Working Paper Series 3. IIAS, Leiden (Netherlands) 1995, 48-61.


Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "Dongjintian", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.