Mancala World
Graveyard Shift
Inventor: Isaiah Tanenbaum,
Ranks: Four by Four
Sowing: Single laps
Region: USA

Graveyard Shift was created by Isaiah Tanenbaum (USA) in 2011. It is a two-dimensional sowing game for two players, which won the October 2011 "Rest In Peace" game design contest of the Board Game Designers Forum (BGDF).


Igor! Igor! Come here quickly! I am desirous of choice materials for my latest… creation. Scuttle at once to the village cemetery and fetch me some spare parts. And if you see any other assistants shambling about, do what you can to interfere with their efforts. I shall be the first to prove that death… is temporary! Muahaha! Ahahahahaha! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!



Steer your cart through the graveyard, collecting the four body parts your master needs for his experiment. Be careful! Not only will parts fall off the rickety cart, but if another minion gets the drop on you he’ll make off with everything you’ve collected!


  • Game board: a 4x4 grid showing village cemetery; middle four squares have two-person mausoleums; corners (the entrances/exits) show cemetery gates with no graves
  • 2 player pawns (Igor with body cart); one beige, one black
  • 16 stackable, color-coded body part tokens (4 green brains, 4 red hearts, 4 tan chests, and 4 gray pairs of legs)


1. Take two of each kind of body part, shuffle them, stack them randomly, two each, in the center “mausoleum” squares.

2. Place the remaining eight body parts in the non-corner “grave” squares randomly, one per square

3. The player with the best reading of “yes, master” goes first, taking a pawn and placing it on the entrance (corner) of his choice

4. The second player places the pawn on a different entrance



Players take turns moving their pawns, as follows:

  • If your pawn is off the map, place him on the entrance of your choice.
  • If your pawn is on a square with no body parts, move him one square in any orthogonal (N/E/S/W) direction.
  • If your pawn is on a square with one body part, move him and the part one square.
  • If your pawn is on a square with multiple body parts, move him one space in a straight line for each body part in the stack. As you move, drop the bottom part on each square you leave after the first, until you hit the edge of the board, or are down to one part.


If you end your turn on the same location as another pawn, place your pawn and body part (if any) on top of his stack (if any) and take another turn immediately!


If you end your turn with a stack or single body part on any of the four entrances, deliver it to your master by removing it and your pawn from the board.

Your master takes ONE of the body parts (that he hasn’t already collected). Place it in front of you. Any other parts are placed back on the board, alternating between the other player and yourself until they’ve all been replaced. They can go on any legal spot, as per the original set-up. Keep your pawn off the map until your next turn, when you can place him at any entrance.

If your scientist has already collected all the body parts in your stack, replace them as above but do not remove your pawn.

Game End / Winner

As soon as any player has collected all four body parts, he wins! Soon, the world will know of your master’s power and knowledge, and they will tremble before his might! But first, there’s some fluids that need mopping up in the laboratory. See to that, will you?


  • Because rounds are very quick, it’s recommended that all loyal minions play three rounds.
  • If you want to get the drop on someone, you’ll have to think at least two moves ahead – where are they likely to go?
  • Planning ahead is also important after delivery -- make sure you have a plan to get from the corners to the parts-heavy mausoleums in the center of the board, and back!

External Links


© Isaiah Tanenbaum
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.