Mancala World
Inventor: Kent Barker, 1975
Variant of Oware
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Canada

Mankka, a mancala game, was invented by the Canadian Kent Barker in December of 1975. It is based on native games of Africa, most notably Oware. The game was marketed by Copp Clark Company in Toronto, Canada. There are two variants; the rules that are provided first are for playing the more sophisticated game (Mankka Two).

It can be considered a multiple lap version of Oware, but with a different initial position and capturing on both sides.


The game employs a board of 2 x 6 holes and a store at either end. Each player controls the six holes on his side.

Initially there are three plastic beads called seeds in each hole. Additionaly, each player has six seeds in his hand.


Initial Position

On his first turn, each player must place all six seeds he has in reserve in his holes in any way he prefers. This is done by one player after another. Afterwards it is not permitted to re-arrange the seeds.

On later turns, a player picks up the seeds of the holes of his own side and sows them, one by one, counter-clockwise into the succeeding holes.

If the last seed is dropped into a non-empty hole, which then doesn't contain two or three seeds, including the one just dropped, its contents are distributed in another lap in the same manner.

If the last seed is dropped into a hole of either side, which then contains two or three seeds, its contents are captured and the contents of any previous holes in an unbroken chain, if they also now contain two or three seeds.

The turn ends, when something is captured or when the last seed falls into an empty hole.

The game can end in two ways:

  • A player whose turn it is cannot move because there are no seeds on his side.
  • There are not more than eight seeds on the board at the end of a move.

The object of the game is to capture as many seeds as possible. The uncaptured seeds are not counted.


A simplified variant described as Mankka One starts with a pre-determined set-up. There are four seeds in each hole at the beginning.

The ending conditions prevent difficult endgames that could possibly outmind kids. You can drop them, but then it is advisable to add a few other rules:

  • If a player can't move, he must pass until he can move again.
  • If in the end seeds remain that cannot be captured, they are not counted.


Barker, R. 
Mankka (Rules Leaflet). Toronto (Canada) 1975.

External Links


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By: Ralf Gering
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