Mancala World
Mancala Spellorama
Inventor: Tracey Wood, 2005
Variant of Sungka
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Canada

Mancala Spellorama was invented by the Canadian educator Tracey Wood in 2005. This mancala game is a spelling game for children, the first of its kind. The game is related to Kalah.


The game board is drawn onto a piece of cardboard or poster paper. It consists of 12 rectangles (or "compartments") in two rows of 6. There is also a bowl or lunchbox at either end called "home bowl" (or "home"), which will serve as stores.

The teacher writes 24 words on 24 small pieces of paper which are then rolled up. Initially there must be two words in each rectangle.

The players sit at the short end of the board directly in front of the bowls facing each other.


Initial Position

At his turn a player distributes the contents of any rectangle, one by one, into the succeeding rectangles and his home bowl, always going clockwise.

If the last word falls into a non-empty rectangle, its contents are distributed in another lap.

The move ends when the last word falls in an empty rectangle or his home.

A player is not permitted to pass his move unless he has nothing to play with.

The game is finished when all rectangles are empty.

After the game has finished, the players count the words in their homes without opening them and then pass their pile to the other player.

Next, players take turns reading the words out loud for their opponent to spell. Each correct spelling is scored 1 point. The teacher acts as a referee. He should be more tough on older children, not giving them a second chance, while younger children may even be allowed to help each other out.

The player who achieves the highest total score wins the game.

Several variants exist:

  • Mancala Spellorama can be used for learning the vocabulary of foreign languages.
  • The game can be spiced up with special instructions (replacing a few words), such as "Give yourself two points", or "No spelling = score 0", or "Lose 1 point".


Wood, T. 
Teaching Kids to Spell for Dummies. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ (USA) 2005, 264-265.


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