Mancala World

Lamlameta → German, Italian, Polish.

First Description: Richard
Pankhurst, 1971
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Central Ethiopia

Lamlameta is a mancala game played by the Konso, a people living in Central Ethiopia near the village of Olanta. It is the recreation of adult males, and to a lesser extent boys and youths. The game is played on wooden boards with seeds in the open air or, during rains, in houses or just outside them in the shelter of the roof. The name of the game literally means "grouped in pairs", a word related to lama, the numeral two in the Gallinya language. The game was first described by the ethnologue and renowned mancala games expert Richard Pankhurst in 1971.


The board, called toma tagéga, has 2x12=24 pits (awa). Initially each pit contains two seeds known as tagéga.


Initial Position

At his turn a player takes the contents of one of his pits which are then sown in a counter-clockwise direction into consecutive holes. Although Pankhurst stated that the opening move starts with the hole on the player's "extreme right or more preferably penultimate right", these moves appear to be just common openings observed by him.

If the last seed falls into a non-empty hole, its contents are picked up together with the last seed, and continued to be distributed.

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

It is not permitted to drop a seed into opponent's holes which contain two seeds except in the very first move. Later these holes are jumped.

If the last seed falls into an empty hole of your own facing an enemy hole containing two seeds he captures this pair, as well as any other groups of two seeds on his opponent's row.

Play comes to an end when one of the players can no longer move. The remaining seeds are won by his opponent. The player who captured more pairs is declared winner.

See also

  • Mbothe, a related game of the Pokomo in Kenya


Pankhurst, R.
Gabata and Related Board Games of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. In: Ethiopia Observer 1971; 14 (3): 187-188.
Russ, L.
The Complete Mancala Games Book: How to Play the World's Oldest Board Games. Marlowe & Company, New York (USA) 2000, 36-37 (second edition).


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By: Ralf Gering.
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