Mancala World

Spreta → Portuguese.

First Description: Meredith
G. Sanderson, 1913
Cycles: One
Ranks: Four
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Malawi

Spreta is a mancala game played by the Chikunda in Malawi (former "Nyasaland Protectorate") and Zambia. The game is related to Chisolo II.


Spreta is played on a board with four rows with an even number of holes per row (8 - 20), each containing a singleton except the right-hand end hole of the front row, which is empty, and the third hole from the left in the front row, which contains two.


Initial Position (Most Challenging Set-up)

On his turn a player sows the contents of one of his holes, one by one, counterclockwise.

  • If the last hole was occupied, its contents are sown in another lap.
  • The move ends, when the last stone falls into an empty hole.

If there are holes, which contain two or more stones, these must be played first.

Singletons can only be sown, if the following conditions are met:

  • all holes of that player contains single stones
  • the ensuing hole is empty

If the stone is moved to a hole of the inner row and the opponent's inner hole opposite to it is occupied, its contents are captured and removed from the board.

  • If the hole of the same file in the opponent's outer row is also occupied, its contents are also captured.
  • In addition, the player "snatches" the contents of two more enemy holes.

The game ends when a player has no stones left.

The player who at the end has still stones in his holes wins the game.


Sanderson, M. G. 
Native Games of Central Africa. In: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 1913; 43: 733-744.


© Ralf Gering
Under the CC by-sa 2.5 license.