Mancala World
Um Laarais
Other Names: Um la-arais
First Description: Víktor
Bautista i Roca, 2001
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: Morocco (Western

Um Laarais is a mancala game played in Western Sahara, Morocco. The only available source is what Saharian expatriates living in Catalonia told Víktor Bautista i Roca on June 9th, 2001, at the Festa de la Diversitat, an intercultural festival held by SOS Racisme, an antiracist organization. Unfortunately he just took some notes, not enough to reconstruct the game without some imagination.


The board has two rows of six holes, which contain four counters at the beginning of the game.


Initial Position

Um Laarais is played by three players. Each player controls four consecutive pits.

At his turn each player takes all the contents of one of his unmarried (see below) holes and sows the counters in the following holes (probably anticlockwise), skipping those married to other players.

  • If the last counter ends in a non-empty hole, which doesn't contain four seeds (the last seed also counted), the player distributes its contents in another lap.
  • If the last counter falls in a hole, which then contains a total of four seeds, the move ends. The hole becomes "married" to the player and is marked.
  • If the last counter ends in an empty hole or a married hole, the move is over.

If a player has no counters, he passes until he can move again (this is a suggested rule).

The game ends, when both players have no moves left or the remaining counters continue to cycle around (the latter rule has been suggested).

The player who has more counters in the holes married to him at the end of the game, wins. Counters, which are not in a married hole, are not counted.

Unanswered Questions

Is the game only for three players?

How is Um Laarais related to Krur? Is Um Laarais just another name for Krur, perhaps a version for three players?

Is the sowing really counterclockwise?

What happens when a player has no counters at his turn? Is the game over or does he just pass until he can move again? (see suggestion above)

What happens if the last counters keep on cycling around the board without being captured? (see suggestion above)


© Wikimanqala.
By: Víktor Bautista i Roca & Ralf Gering.
Under the CC by-sa 2.5.