Mancala World
Inventor: Jeff Erickson, 1996
Variant of Sowing
Ranks: One
Sowing: Reverse
Region: USA

Reaping, a one-rank mancala, was invented in 1996 by the American computer scientist Jeff Erickson. He is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Willett Faculty Scholar University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Other games he invented are Atomic Wari, Partisan Sowing and Two-dimensional Sowing. Reaping was described in an Italian online game magazine in a special issue on mancala games in 2006.

The game features reverse sowing. Reaping is actually the reverse of the game of Sowing.


Erickson didn't suggest a particular position to start a game. So you can experiment with any set-up you like.

Players are called Left and Right as usual in Combinatorial Game Theory.


Possible Initial Position

Left starts.

Each turn a player picks up one seed from each of a successive string of pots and drops them into the first available empty pot. The first pot must contain at least two seeds. This is called "reaping" and is the reverse of "sowing".

Left is reaping from left to right, while his opponent is playing into the opposite direction.

Passing is not permitted.

The last player who can make a legal move wins the game. Draws are not possible.


Erickson, J. 
Sowing Games. In: Nowakowski, R. J. (Ed.). Games of No Chance (Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Publications 29). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (England) 1996, 287-297.
Luca, C.
La semina e il raccolto: Diffusion, Reaping Mancala e Hus. In: Il Fogliaccio degli Astratti 2006; 31 (March): 1-2.

External links


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By: Ralf Gering
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