Mancala World
Nyaka's Mancala Game
Inventor: Dim Njaka, 1993
Variant of Obridjie
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: USA

Njaka's Mancala Game was invented by Dim Njaka of Edina MN (USA) in 1991. He patented his game in 1993 in the USA (Patent Number: 5,184,829). The game is a multi-player variant of Ba-awa.


The game is played on a circular board which has 12 holes around the periphery. In the center are four stores.

Initially there are four counters in each hole.

The game can be played be two, three or four players.

Each player owns an equal contigous section of the board. If there are two players each person owns six holes. If there are four players, each one of them controls three holes.


Initial Position (Four-person Game)

The game is either initiated by mutual agreement or the player "whose weight is closest to 444 pounds" (i.e. the fattest person).

On his turn, a player chooses one of the holes under his control. The player removes all counters from this hole, and sows them, one by one, counterclockwise into subsequent holes. Players may also agree to play clockwise.

If the last counter falls in an occupied pit, then all the counters in that hole including the last one are resown starting from that hole.

These multiple laps continue until the last counter is either dropped into an empty hole or effects a capture.

A player must move unless he has nothing to play with. Then he must wait until he can move again.

If at any time during sowing, a hole has exactly four counters, all four are immediately captured and removed from play and won by the player who owns the hole. There can be many such captures during sowing.

If the last counter is sown into a hole which then has four counters, these four counters are captured by the moving player.

The last four counters are captured by the player who after the capture of the eleventh set of counters is the first to say "Plex!".

To win the game (or a match), players must reach a majority of sets of four. Before the game starts, a certain number is selected, either two, three, four or five. Winning by a two set advantage at the end of a game is called "default play"

If the goal isn't reached in the first game, more rounds are played. In each round players own as many holes as they can fill with their captured counters.


Dim Njaka proposed a variant for advanced players:

  • The advanced game is played by just two players.
  • The holes are alternately owned by the two players.


Initial Position (Advanced Two-person Game)

  • If a player captures with his last counter a set of four in his opponent's holes, he also wins the ownership of this hole.


Njaka, D. 
Game Apparatus and Method (US 5,184,829). US Patent Office, Washington DC (USA) February 9, 1993.


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By: Ralf Gering
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