Mancala World
First Description: Assia
Popova & André Deledicq, 1977
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Turkmenistan

Tap-urdy is a mancala game, which is played in Turkmenistan. It was first described in 1977 by Assia Popova (a Bulgarian ethnologue) and André Deledicq (a French mathematician).

The board is dug into the ground, which is a common practice among pastoral people in Asia and Africa. The counters are made from sheep feces.

Tap-urdy seems to be influenced by Indian mancala games.


Tap-urdy is played on a board which consists of two rows of six holes. Initially there are four dung balls in each hole.


Initial Position

The right to start the game is decided by casting lots.

On his turn a player empties an enemy hole (the six on the other side of the board) and distributes its contents counterclockwise, one by one, into succeeding holes. If the last ball is placed into an occupied hole the contents of this hole is distributed in another lap.

The turn ends if the last ball of a lap falls into an empty hole.

If a lap ends in an occupied hole, followed by an empty one, the contents of the following hole are captured and removed from the board.

The game ends when one side of the board is empty.

The winner is the player who has captured most balls.


Deledicq, A. & Popova, A. 
Wari et Solo: Le Jeu de Calcul Africain. Cedic, Paris (France) 1977, 90.


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