Mancala World
Inventor: Michael Engel,
Ranks: Circular
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Austria, Germany

Sämann ("sowing man") was invented by the Austrian math teacher Michael Engel who lives in Mödling near Vienna. He described this mancala game in a book about solitaire games published in 2005.

A Sämann is a common theme in paintings and sculptures, e.g. Le Semeur (Jean-François Millet, 1850), Der Sämann (Vincent van Gogh, 1888), Sämann und Teufel ("sowing man and devil"; Albin Egger-Lienz, 1921) and Säman (Wilhelm Wandschneider, 1934-35).


Possible Initial Set-up

The game is played with 10 bowls, which are arranged in a circular fashion.

It is played by just one person who needs 30 stones in six colors, five of each color.

At the start each bowl contains three stones distributed at random, but each of them must be in another color.

Every move the player picks up the contents of any bowl and sows these stones, one by one, clockwise into the ensuing bowls.

As soon as a bowl contains five stones of the same color, they are removed from the board. The bowl may still contain stones of other colors, which remain on the board.

The player wins, if he empties the board after less than 25 moves. He is a "champion", if he ever emptied the board in 20 moves.

External Links


Engel, M.
Die schönsten Spiele für 1 Person. Humboldt Verlags GmbH, Baden Baden (Germany) 2005, 95-97.


Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "Sämann", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.