Mancala World
First Description: Nevill Edward
Parry, 1932
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Pussa Kanawa
Region: India (Assam), Myan-

Longbeu-a-cha is a mancala game of the Lakhers, a head-hunting people in southern Assam, India, and western Burma. It was first described by Nevill Edward Parry in 1932. The game is played by men only. Its name means: "Stone, hole, game". Longbeu is also an edible clay. The board is scratched on the ground.

The game is similar to Pachgarhwa.

"Considerable skill and observation are involved in working out the distribution of stones so as to end up with an empty hole in front of a hole with a large number of pebbles."

Nevill Edward Parry (1932)


The board consists of two rows, each one with five holes called a.

Initially there are five pebbles in each hole.


Initial Position

Each player controls the holes on his side of the board.

On his turn a player takes all the pieces from any hole on his side of the board and sows them in an anticlockwise direction, one in each hole. After the player has distributed all the counters, he takes those in the next hole and continues the move by sowing them.

The turn ends when the last stone is put into a hole, which is followed by an empty one.

If the hole following the empty one is not empty, after a player has finished sowing, he captures its contents.

If after removing the stones from one hole the player finds there is an empty space in front of that hole, he can take the stones in the hole in front of that empty hole also. Therefore, in rare circumstances, multiple captures of the contents of two or more holes are possible.

The player who has acquired most stones wins.

According to Parry "the game goes on till all the stones have been annexed by the players". This is indeed possible, although it is a rather unusual ending. He failed to explain what would happen if a player has no pieces to distribute, while his opponent has still pieces left in his holes. Similar games (e.g. Walak-pussa, Bay Khom) include the following rule:

The game ends when a player has no legal move and the remaining pieces are captured by his adversary.


Parry, N. E.
The Lakhars. Macmillan and Co., London (England) 1932, 190-191.


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