Mancala World

UnStack → German.

Inventor: João Pedro
Neto, 2001
Ranks: Seven by Seven
Sowing: Single laps
Region: Portugal

UnStack was created by João Pedro Neto, Lisbon (Portugal), in 2001. The game resembles mancala games as counters are distributed ("sown") in a similar manner.


UnStack is played on a board of 7x7 squares.

One player owns 29 black stones, his opponent the same number of white stones. The author recommends stackable pieces; this, however, is not necessary as it doesn't matter where a piece is located within a particular square ("pseudo-stacks"). The initial set-up is shown below.


Initial Position

Black starts.

Two or more stones on the same square are called a "stack".

On his turn a player spreads one of his stacks in an orthogonal direction (not diagonal):

  • At least one stone must be sown (i.e. it is not permitted to pass as long as a player can make a move).
  • It is allowed (but not required) to leave one or several stones behind.
  • At least one stone must be placed on each square crossed.
  • Any number of stones can be placed on the last square if nothing is captured.
  • Stones can be sown onto squares occupied by friendly stones.
  • It is only permitted to sow onto a square occupied by enemy stones, if you have at least as many friendly stones still in hand. Such a sowing captures the opponent's stones (which are removed from the board) and ends the turn (i.e. it is only allowed to capture the contents of one square per turn).
  • Captures are mandatory.

The game is finished:

  • if nothing can be captured and the players do not unstack their last stack(s)
  • if there are no stacks left

The player who has got more stones on the board wins. If each player has a two-piece stack left the game is a draw.


Pedro Neto, J.
Unstack [Web page] October 31, 2006.


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