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Subject: Capture rss

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Mark Evans
United States
Berlin
New Hampshire
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If your last piece of the move lands in an empty space on your side of the board you capture the opponents pieces on the opposite tray. You put your capturing piece in your own mancala as well as the captured pieces. Is capture optional? Also if there is nothing to capture, do you still move your capturing piece to your mancala?
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Dave Garcia
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Grimsby
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I would think the capture is optional but why wouldn't you want to take pieces from the other side of the tray?
I would also believe that you do move the capturing piece to your mancala regardless if there is any to take with it. You just don't get any extras, that's all.
 
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Arty Sandler
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Kanata
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The capture is mandatory.

As for your second question, it's up to the players agreement. I.e. both variants exist and they lead to quite a different game play in some positions. It mainly happens due to the following rule: "The game ends if you don't have any seeds on your side when it is your turn. In this case your opponent takes all the seeds on his side to his accumulation pit".

Consider it is your turn in the following example (the top row is the opponent's pits, below are your pits) :


M 0 1 6 0 0 0
0 0 0 1 0 0 M


With the "empty capture" allowed you move your seed from the 3rd pit to the 2nd one (counting from the right) and "capture" the empty pit on the other side, which leaves you without seeds on your side. Your opponent moves his single seed and it's your turn again but you don't have any seeds on your side. So the game ends and your opponent takes all 7 seeds from his side.

With the "empty capture" disallowed you move your seed from the 3rd pit to the 2nd and don't capture anything:

M 0 1 6 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 0 M

Your opponent moves his single seed:

M 1 0 6 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 0 M

You move your single seed again:

M 1 0 6 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 1 M

Now your opponent puts his single seed into his mancala:

M 0 0 6 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 1 M

And gets an extra-turn. Now he is forced to choose the pit with 6 seeds and feed your side so you get more moves.

I hope my examples weren't too complicated
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Mark Evans
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Berlin
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Interesting. I thought the game ended immedeately when you empty your trays. It is actually at the beginning of the turn.
 
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Ender Wiggins
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drmark64 wrote:
Also if there is nothing to capture, do you still move your capturing piece to your mancala?
artyomch wrote:
it's up to the players agreement. I.e. both variants exist and they lead to quite a different game play in some positions.

I had the same question, and came across this thread while trying to research the answer. In another thread, Ralf Gering (aka Mr Mancala, and an expert on Mancala games) provides definitive evidence that the original rule for Kalah is that if there are no pieces in your opponent's opposite pit then you make no capture and your own piece is not transferred to your mancala:

FiveStars wrote:
William J. Champion, the inventor, writes in his patent "Game Counter" (US 2,720,362) in 1955 (first recorded rules):

"If the last game piece is placed in an empty pit all of the game pieces in the laternally aligned pit of the opposing player are captured. The captured pieces together with the piece making the capture are removed and placed in that player's bowl or kalah."

"Kalah on Atlas", a report (http://www.chilton-computing.org.uk/acl/literature/reports/p...) on the first Kalah computer program (1968), explicitly states that the enemy pit must be non-empty.

See also the rules for Kalah, which was invented by William Julius Champion Jr in 1940, and is arguably the most common form of Mancala played in the United States.
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Mark Evans
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Berlin
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Thanks for the help with that.
 
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