Mancala World

Luuth → German.

First Description: Richard
Pankhurst, 1971
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Western Ethiopia,
South Sudan

Luuth is a mancala game, which is played by the Nuer in the far west of Ethiopia and also on the Sudan side of the frontier. It is mainly the relaxation of menfolk, young and old alike. The game is rather unusual as only multiples of four seeds are moved.

The game was first described by Richard Pankhurst in 1971 (as Game 100) who learned it from James Tut, at this time a student in Addis Ababa.


The game is played on two rows each of seven holes called wang, literally eye. Initially there are four seeds in every hole.


Initial Position

The first player starts anywhere on his row by picking up the entire contents of one of his holes. If he did so from his middle hole he could place them in any hole, either on his own side or his opponents. If he took the contents of any of his other holes, he could place them in any hole except his opponents opposite hole.

Thereafter players alternately move either in a clock-wise or anti-clockwise direction by distributing their seeds always in groups of four.

  • A group of four seeds can be moved to an adjacent hole only on the same side of the board.
  • A group of eight or more seeds can be distributed on the basis of four seeds per hole in successive holes on one side of the board or another.

If the last four seeds fall in an empty hole, the player captures the contents, if any, of his opponents opposite hole. The captured seeds are removed from the board. Then the player is entitled to continue his move by picking up the contents of any of his holes with which to play.

The player gaining the largest number of seeds is accounted the winner. The game is won in a single round.


Pankhurst, R. 
Gabata and Related Board Games of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. In: Ethiopia Observer 1971; 14 (3): 204.


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