Mancala World
En Dodoi
Other Names: Endodoi
First Description: Moritz
Merker, 1904
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Tanzania

En Dodoi (plural: En Dodo) is a mancala game, which is played by the Loitha and Kisonga Masai in northern Tanzania. The Masai use about two feet long wooden boards and the seeds of Caesalpinia bonduc as counters. It is usually played by boys, rarely by warriors who prefer En Gehé and never by women.

The first European to describe En Gehé was the German Moritz Merker (1867-1908) of the Imperial Protection Troops (Kaiserliche Schutztruppe) of German East Africa in 1904. He is also regarded to be the first ethnologue of the Masai.


En Dodoi Board (2x5!) and "ol alai" markers

En Dodoi is played on a board, which has two rows of 6 - 10 holes each. The holes are called "en gurtóto" (Plural: "'n gurtót"). Each player controls one row (sing.: ol mátua; pl.: el mátuan).

At the beginning each hole contains four counters (sing.: os soid; pl.: es soido).


Initial Position (most challenging set-up)

On his turn a player distributes the seeds of one of his holes, one by one, in counterclockwise direction into the succeeding holes.

If the last seeds falls into a non-empty hole, its contents are distributed in another lap.

The move ends when the last seed is dropped into an empty hole.

Endodoi board

If the last seed is dropped into an empty hole of the players's own row, the contents of the opposite hole of his opponent are captured. The seed, which caused the capture, is also taken.

The game ends when a player can't move.

The seeds that are still on the board, are captured by the player who moved last. [Merker gave no information about the endgame, but other Mancala games of the Masai such as Enkeshui have this rule.]

The player who captured more seeds wins the game.

If both players captured the same number, the game is a draw.

Usually several games are played until a player has won an agreed number. The actual score is remembered with the help of ivory markers, which are called "ol alai" (Plural: "el ala").

See also


Merker, M. 
Die Masai: Ethnographische Monographie eines ostafrikanischen Semitenvolkes. Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohlsen), Berlin (Germany) 1904, 36-37 & 272.
Russ, L. 
The Complete Mancala Games Book: How to Play the Worlds Oldest Board Games. Marlowe & Company, New York (USA) 2000, 26-28.


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