Mancala World
First Description: Henry
Parker, 1909
Cycles: One
Ranks: Two
Sowing: Pussa Kanawa
Region: Sri Lanka

Walak-pussa ("a hole empty") is a mancala game played in Sri Lanka. The game was first described by Henry Parker in his book "Ancient Ceylon" in 1909.

The pussa kanawa style of sowing is named after this game.


The board has 14 holes (wala) arranged in two rows.

Initially there are four seeds in each hole.


Initial Position

On his turn a player distributes the contents of one of his holes, one at a time, counter-clockwise into the ensuing holes.

After the last seed was sown into a hole, the contents of the next hole following are picked up and are distributed in another lap ("Indian style sowing").

If the next hole is empty, the move ends.

If the last seed is dropped into a hole, which is followed by an empty one that is followed by an occupied hole, the contents of the latter hole are captured or "eaten", the verb which expresses it being "pussa kanawā", "eating because of the empty (hole)".

If the hole of which the contents were captured is followed first by an empty one and then by an occupied hole, its contents are also captured. This continues until the last hole is either followed by two empty holes or a non-empty hole. This is termed "wael mutu ekilenawā", "picking out the pearls of the necklaces".

The captures are removed from the board.

A capture can be effected anywhere.

The move ends after a capture.

The game ends when a player has no legal move and the remaining pieces are captured by his adversary. The player who has captured most pieces is the winner.

The game can also be played in rounds similar to Puhulmutu, but without the "Cutting Ash-pumpkins" to curtail it. The player with the fewest seeds always starts the play in the next rounds, and sowing must go in the direction of the empty or deficient holes.


Parker, H.
Ancient Ceylon: An Account of the Aborigines and of Part of the Early Civilisation. Luzac & Co., London (UK) 1909, 587-598.


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