Progressive Mancala

Progressive Mancala → German, Portuguese.

Progressive Mancala
Inventor: Ralf Gering, 2004
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Germany, Internet

Progressive Mancala was invented by Ralf Gering on September 3, 2004, in Bad Breisig, Germany. The game uses a rule which reminds of Progressive Chess.

The game was implemented for online play at (a Chinese web site) on January 28, 2010.

Progressive Mancala received four hate ratings on BoardGameGeek: the first hate rating was given by "abstractfan", a fan of the Spanish game designer Néstor Romeral Andrés, after several of his games (e.g. Coffee, Domina 4, Omega, Taiji) were identified by Ralf Gering as rip-offs that are based on earlier games. After a thread was opened on BoardGameGeek on March 8, 2012 to discuss this issue, three more hate ratings were given by Sam Houston (March 8, 2012), Sam Houston, Jr. (March 9, 2012) and Sam Houston, Sr. (March 9, 2012). These were all sockpuppets of Mark Steere, which was acknowledged by him in a public chat at igGameCenter (screenshots were taken as a proof). Their hate ratings affected all five games on BoardGameGeek, which were created by Ralf Gering. BoardGameGeek surpressed any discussion about these hate ratings, closing or removing threads and suspending the games' author for a day for starting a discussion in the complaints department of BoardGameGeek. Eventually all hate ratings were removed by BoardGameGeek.


Progressive Mancala is played on a one-rank mancala board which numbers eleven holes. Initially there are five stones in each hole. There is also a common goal which is adjacent to the central hole of the board. Both players sit on the same side of the board in front of it. One player is called West, the other East.


Initial Position

East starts to the game and plays from right to left. West sows from left to right.

On each turn a player empties a hole and then distributes its contents into the following holes, one by one, in his direction. If he reaches the end of the board, he continues to distribute the stones by first dropping a stone into the Goal, then into the holes starting from the opposite end of the board. That is, he circles around the board.

If the last stone is dropped into a non-empty hole, its contents (including the last distributed stone) are picked up and then distributed as usual in multi-lap games.

The move ends if the last stone is dropped into an empty hole or the goal.

For each move that a player has terminated in an empty hole, his enemy must make a bonus move (bonus moves are compulsory).

If the last stone is dropped into the goal, the player captures its contents including the last distributed stone. The captured stones are stored. Dropping the last stone into the goal never results in a bonus move for the opponent.

The player who captured most stones is declared the winner. Draws are impossible because the sum of all stones is odd.

Expert Variant

Good players may take a board which has 17 holes. Again, there are five stones in each hole at the start of the game.

Example Games

Game 1

The following game of Progressive Mancala (1x11) was played between Wesley Tanaka (USA) and Ralf Gering (Germany) on January 28, 2010. Tanaka moved first.

1. k(+1) c(+2); 2. h(+1) a(+2); 3. j(+1) k(+1); 4.d(+1) c(+1); 5. b(+1) k(+1); 6. g!(+18) - Gering resigns.

Game 2

This game of Progressive Mancala (1x11) was played between Wesley Tanaka (USA) and Ralf Gering (Germany) on January 29, 2010. Tanaka moved first. 1. k(+1) c(+2); 2. h(+1) k(+4); 3. d(+1) j(+1); 4. g c(+5)-a(+3); 5. i f-e(+6); 6. i(+2)-a f(+7) - Gering wins with 5:28 points.


Gering, R.
Progressive Mancala (E-mail to Yahoo's Mancala Games mailing list). March 10, 2006.
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