Mancala World
First Description: Hem
Chandra Das Gupta,
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: India (Orissa)

Kánji-guti is a mancala game played in Orissa, India. The game was first described by Hem Chandra Das Gupta (*1878-1933), the first Indian professor of geology. The game is one of the most challenging Indian mancala games.


Kánji-guti is played on a mancala board, which has two rows, each one with seven holes. A player controls the six contiguous holes at one end of the board (three in each row). The two central holes (light grey in the diagram below) are neutral.

At the beginning each hole, which is controlled by a player, contains 12 pebbles. The neutral holes have one stone.


Initial Position

On his turn a player distributes the contents of one of his holes, one at a time, counter-clockwise into the ensuing holes (his own holes, those of his opponent and the neutral ones). In the opening move (the first half-move) the neutral holes are skipped.

After the last pebble was sown into a hole, the contents of the next hole following are picked up and are distributed in another lap ("Indian style sowing"), unless the next hole is a neutral one.

If the next hole is empty or neutral, the move ends.

A move may never start from a neutral hole, nor continued from such a hole. As a consequence, more and more pebbles will accumulate in the neutral holes.

If a player can't move, he must pass until he can move again.

If the last pebble is dropped into a hole, which is followed by an empty one that is followed by an occupied hole, the contents of the latter hole are captured.

The captures are removed from the board.

A capture can be effected anywhere, even from neutral holes.

The move ends after a capture.

The game ends when no one can play. The pebbles were either captured are are now in neutral holes.

The pebbles in the neutral holes are equally devided between the players. If the number of pebbles is odd, one stone isn't counted.

The player with most pebbles wins. If both players got the same number, the game is a draw.


Das Gupta, H. C.
Notes on a Type of Sedentary Games Prevalent in Many Parts of India. In: Journal of the Asiatic Society, Bengal 1924; 19: 71-74. (Republished in: Ray, N. & Ghosh, A. (Eds.). Sedentary Games of India. The Asiatic Society, Calcutta (India) 1999, 86-88.)
Deledicq, A. & Popova, A.
Wari et Solo: Le Jeu de Calcul Africain. Cedic, Paris (France) 1977, 91-92.


Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "Kánji-guti", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.