Mancala World

Trias → German, Portuguese.

Other Names: Trinitas
Inventor: Ralf Gering, 2008
Ranks: Three
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Germany

Trias (from Gk. Τριάς "Trinity"), first called Trinitas, is a three-rank mancala game, which was invented by Ralf Gering in Hain (Germany) on June 7th, 2008, while he was awakening in the morning. It is the first modern mancala game, which uses three ranks. Trias employs a unique playing mechanism for three rows, while most traditional three-rank games are just adaptions of two-row games to a three-rank board.

The game is based on Jewish and Christian numerology:

  • Three rows form the board. The Holy Trinity in Christian doctrine (or trinity in general), is God both as a single being and three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is also known as Tripartite division or the Godhead.
  • Four stones are in every hole at the start of the game. The Tetragrammaton is the four-letter name of God. There are four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  • Twelve is the number of holes per row. The New Testament describes twelve apostles of Jesus; when Judas Iscariot was disgraced, a meeting was held (Acts) to add Matthias to complete the number twelve once more.
  • Thirty-Six holes form the board. According to Jewish tradition, in every generation there are 36 righteous people (the "Lamed Vav Tzadikim") in whose merit the world continues to exist.
  • One Hundred Forty-Four stones are needed to play the game. One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand is a symbolic number in Christianity, which represents all of God's people throughout history in the heavenly Church. Another view is that the 144,000 are a larger version of the ancient Israelite army, sent out at the end of the tribulation period to kill the ungodly.


The game is played on a three-rank board, each row with 12 holes. Initially there are four stones in each hole. It is possible to play it on two Selus boards.


Trias - Initial Position

A player controls the row on his side. The central row is neutral.

On his turn a player empties the contents of one of the 12 holes of his row and sows them, stone by stone, counterclockwise into the ensuing holes of his row and the central row, but not into the opponent's holes.

  • A move must consisist of at least two laps. Therefore, the first lap must either end in a non-empty hole or in an empty hole of the central row, while the opponent's hole of the same file is empty and the player's own hole of the same file must be occupied (see capturing rules below).

If the last stone falls into an occupied hole, its contents are distributed in another lap.

A move ends, when the last stone is dropped into an empty hole.

When the move ends in the outer row, the last stone sown is removed from the board.

When the move ends in the central row, three things can happen:

  • if the enemy hole opposite to the last stone sown (in the same file) is occupied, its contents are removed from the board and the turn ends.
  • if the enemy hole opposite to the last stone sown is empty, but the opposite hole in the player's outer row is occupied, the last single stone is transferred to this hole and its contents are then distributed in another lap.
  • if both holes opposite to the last stone sown are empty, this stone is removed from the board and the turn ends.

The player who could move last wins the game. A player loses, when he has no multi-lap moves left at his turn.


Capturing stones in opponent's holes is an important technique. However, it is often equally important to feed the own holes with stones from the central row.

At least one stone is removed from the board each turn. Thus it becomes increasingly difficult to make multi-lap moves towards the end of the game.

The Trias endgame reminds of endgames played in four-rank mancala games, where captured counters are redistributed on the own side of the board (e.g. Hus, Mwambulula).


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