Mancala World

Myra → German, Portuguese.

Inventor: Dr. Michael Günter
Friedrich Winkelmann, 1955
Ranks: Six (hexagonal)
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Austria

Myra (Swedish: "ant") was designed in 1955 by Michael Winkelmann, an Austrian math teacher and game inventor, when he was just 10 years old. It was his first game. He didn't like some characteristics of Chess such as the different strength of the game pieces, the impossibility to capture the King and the limitation on just two players. Myra is an unusual two-dimensional sowing game, which can be played by two or three persons. Its suggested age is 8 and up and a game takes about 20-40 minutes. Myra is a challenging game also suited for adults as a mindsport. If played with special pieces (cubes, cuboids, triangles, spheres, and so on), it can be played by the blind as well.

Michael Winkelmann also designed Gulek (1987) and Esiema (1989).

The Game:


The game board consists of 91 pits, which are arranged in a hexagon with each side having six pits.

Each player gets one big sphere, the Queen ("Königin"), and 25 small spheres, the soldiers ("Soldaten") and a reserve of another 25 small spheres. Several soldiers in the same pit is called a troop ("Trupp"). The Queen is always alone in her pit, a troop may have five soldiers at most. The initial position for two players is in opposite corners, for three players it alternates from corner to corner. The exact number of spheres per pit is shown above.

If the game is played by two, it ends when the opponent's Queen is captured. If three play the game, the player who captures one of the opponent's Queens first gets the soldiers and troops, which are still on the game board. So strengthened, he can then fight against his remaining opponent.


There are six kinds of moves:

1) Moving:

The Queen and single soldiers can only move to an adjacent pit. A whole troop (ie. several soldiers (small spheres) in a pit) moves by taking all the spheres from one pit and putting them into another pit again, which is not farther away than the number of soldiers moved. The path taken can be shorter than the maximum distance, it doesn't need to be straight, but it is not permitted to jump over friendly nor enemy soldiers or troops. If the goal pit is occupied by an opponent's troop, no matter how big they are (exception: fortress ("Festung"), see below), then this troop is captured. The Queen can also be captured. The captured spheres are removed from the board.

If there are fives spheres in a pit (maximum size = fortress ("Festung")), then these cannot move together, but can either "deconstruct" or "dechain" (see below) and, moreover, they are immune to capture!

2) Constructing:

If a troop moves to another troop, their troop strength is increased. However, it should be kept in mind that a pit may never contain more than five spheres and that the Queen must always be alone in her pit.

3) Deconstructing:

If just part of the contents of a pit is taken, this reduced troop can only be moved as far as it numbers soldiers (or less), in doing so capturing is not permitted.

4) Chaining:

If there is a continous chain of singletons (all of them soldiers) in adjacent pits, these can be "chained" by collecting all adjacent spheres (starting at one soldier) and putting them into the last pit.

The Queen cannot be chained.

5) Dechaining:

A troop or a fortress can be "dechained" by putting a soldier one by one into an adjacent empty pit until the original troop strength is exhausted. After that there is a continous "chain" of soldiers. It is not possible to capture, while a troop or fortress is dechained.

6) Producing:

Instead of making one of the moves described above, a player can enter a new soldier into the game by putting a small sphere from the reserve into an empty pit adjacent to the Queen.

External Links


Adapted from the Spielwiki article "Myra", under the GNU Free Documentation License in the German version. The list of authors is avalaible in the Spielwiki on this page.