Mancala World
First Description: R.
Davies, 1925
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Sudan

Kâra is a mancala game, which is played by the Bagara in Kordofan Province, Sudan, primarily during the fasting month of Ramadan. It was first described by R. Davies in 1925.

The counters are generally small balls of dried clay, called tûb ("bricks"). A hole can become very full of balls, with the result that it is difficult to foresee the effect of moving its contents.

According to Davies:

this explains an otherwise obscure allusion to the celebrated Sheikh Musa Mâdibbo, late nazir of the Rizeigat tribe, as bahr Kâra gharîg - "a deep sea of kâra". The nazir's reputation was that he would sit in council with his sheikhs and elders, and would listen to all their opinions, but would not disclose his own, so that the result of the "meglis" was as unpredictable as that of moving the contents of a very full house at kâra.


Kâra is rather unusual since it can be played by any number of players and seems to work very well when played by four. Each player owns three consecutive holes (called "houses") and one store hole called makkâla (plural: makâkîl). The playing holes are arranged in a circle with the makâkîl in the center.

Each house has seven balls at the beginning of the game.


Initial Position for Four Players

The game is played in single laps and in a counter-clockwise direction.

If the move ends in an opponent's hole or in your own right-hand one, the player "eats" the contents of all enemy holes containing 2, 4 or 6 balls.

If a player can't move, he passes.

The game ends when nothing can be ever captured again. The winner is the person who captured most balls.

Although not stated by Davies, according to Ralf Gering it might be a good idea that diagonally opposite players must form a team to prevent unfair coalitions during the game.


Davies, R. 
Some Arab Games and Puzzles. In: Sudan Notes & Records 1925; 8: 137-152.


© Wikimanqala.
By: Ralf Gering.
Under the CC by-sa 2.5.