Mancala World
First Description: Vernon
A. Eagle, 1995
Ranks: N by four, five or six
(N = Number of Players)
Sowing: Pussa Kanawa
Region: China (Yunnan)

Zigulzoqge ("eating stones from holes" from Piyo zi "stone" gul "hole" and zoq "eat" > zoqge "capture in mancala") is a game, which is played by male Hani of the Biyue branch in Simao Prefecture, Mojiang County, Lianhe township in southern Yunnan, China. The game can be viewed as a mancala game or as a two-dimensional sowing game.


Zigulzoqge is played on a board, which usually has four holes per row, although five or six are also permissible. It is played by two, three or four, each player controlling one row. Often the game is also played by two teams of two players, each team controlling two adjoining rows.

At the start each hole contains five stones.


Initial Position (Most Challenging Set-up for Two Teams or Four Players)

On his turn a player picks up the contents of any pit he wishes.

Then he sows the counters, one by one, following the path shown below. Note that at the edge he may branch into two different directions. He may not double back.


Distribution Path

After the last stone was dropped, the player lifts the counters of the hole which follows in the same direction and then distributes them in another lap. This type of relay sowing is called after Indian mancala games "Pussa Kanawa" sowing.

If this hole is empty, the contents of the hole beyond, if any, are captured.

The move ends after a capture or when no relay sowing is possible.

If a player cannot move, he must pass until he can move again.

Eagle didn't write when the game ends. It probably ends when no more captures can be made. He also forgot to say what happens to those stones that cannot be captured. It can be assumed that they are either won by the player who controls their holes or that they are neutral and not counted at all.

The player (or team) who captured most counters wins.


Eagle, V. A.
On Some Newly Described Mancala Games from Yunnan Province, China, and the Definition of a Genus in the Family of Mancala Games. In: Voogt, A. J. de (Ed.). New Approaches to Board Games Research: Asian Origins and Perspectives. Working Paper Series 3. IIAS, Leiden (Netherlands) 1995, 48-61.


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