Mancala World

Kotu-baendum → German.

First Description: Henry
Parker, 1909
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Sri Lanka

Kotu-baendum ("tying up the enclosures") is a mancala game, which is played in Sri Lanka. The game was first described by Henry Parker in 1909. It is almost exclusively played by women, especially at the season of New Year. An average game takes about 30 moves. Perhaps, Kotu-baendum was influenced by Layli Goobalay as in the opposite direction the Somali game of Bosh probably derived from Indian mancala games.


The board called olinda-poruwa has 14 holes (wala) arranged in two rows (pila). Between them are two rectangular hollows serving as stores for the captures.

Initially there are four seeds (indiya, pl. indi) in each hole, usually from the Olinda creeper (Abrus precatorius).


Initial Position (end holes are grey)

On his turn a player sows (ihinawa) the contents of one of his holes one by one into the following holes. The direction of play (clockwise or anti-clockwise) is decided by the first player and then adhered to throughout the game by both players.

The first turn of the game must be commenced from one of the two end holes.

A seed may not be placed into a hole containing three seeds except it is the last one sown.

If the last seed falls into a non-empty hole (any number but three), its contents are picked up and distributed in another lap.

If the last seed is dropped into a hole containing three seeds, its contents including the last seed sown are "eaten" (innawa) and the turn ends. The captures are collected in the store.

If the contents of an end hole are captured, this hole is said to be "tied" (baenda). A baenda is owned by the player who effected the capture. A move or lap cannot start from a tied hole. When a player sows his last seed into a baenda, his turn ends and the player "sits down". Any seeds sown into a tied hole are owned by the player who made the baenda.

The game is finished when a player has nothing to move with at the start of his turn. The remaining seeds that are not yet captured or trapped in a baenda are won by the player who could move last.

The game is won by the player who won most seeds.


Parker, H. 
Ancient Ceylon: An Account of the Aborigines and of Part of the Early Civilisation. Luzac & Co., London (UK) 1909, 598.


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