Mancala World

Mandoli → German.

First Description: Jean-Etienne
Liotard, c. 1740
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Greece (Cyclades)

Mandoli ("almonds") was played in the Cyclades, Greece, in the second half of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century.

A mancala game played in the Levantine was shown by the Swiss miniaturist Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) in his painting "Deux dames grecques ou franques assises sur un divan et jouant au mankala'h" (Sanguine et pierre noire (14,8 cm x 21,7 cm)), c. 1740. Later the Scottish traveller John Galt observed Mandoli on the Greek island of Hydra in 1810.

The game appears to be influenced by other mancala games played in the Ottoman Empire, such as Halusa and Mangala.


The rules that have survived are incomplete. The only source still remains the account by John Galt given below.

"There is, however, a tolerably decent coffee-house; and in winter, even at present, card and chess players may be always found in it. I saw there to-day a game, which, not having seen elsewhere, I give you a description of. The Idriots call it Mandoli, or the almonds, and it is played at a board by two persons. Twelve hollows are scooped in the board, in two rows of six each: in each hollow six balls are placed, and the opponents take each a row. The game is commenced by the first player taking out the balls from any one of the hollows, and distributing them, one by one, successively, round the board. In the first round no balls can be captured, but in the second the contest becomes serious. The skill of the player consists in so managing his distribution, that his last all shall either fall in a hollow where there is only one, or three, or seven, or nine &c. which, by the addition of his ball, are made even numbers, and in consequence become prizes. If in the distribution he makes even numbers in the two last hollows, he takes the contents of both. This is considered a great stroke. The victor is, of course, he who reckons the greatest number of prisoners."

John Galt (1810)


Galt, J. 
Letters from the Levant. London (UK) 1813, 241-242.
Santos Silva, E. R.
O Ouri: Um Jogo Caboverdiano e a Sua Prática em Portugal. Associação de Professores de Matématica, Lisboa (Portugal) 1994.


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By: Ralf Gering.
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