Recommend
22 
 Thumb up
 Hide
5 Posts

Kalah» Forums » Reviews

Subject: In a word... meditative rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Dice bags!
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mancala is played on a board with twelve small and two large depressions, and 48 stones. The depressions are called pits, and the large pits at each end are called calas. As with Chess and Chinese Checkers, many different Mancala sets are available. Standard mass-market sets usually have a wood board and glass stones.




Set-up

At the beginning of the game, 4 stones are placed in each small pit. (Variations include 3, 5, and 6 stones in each.) The calas are left empty.




How to Play

The players sit opposite of each other, with the board between them. The six pits in front of you are yours, and your cala is by your right hand.

On your turn, you take all of the stones in a pit, and drop them one at a time into each pit in turn, starting with the next pit on the right, going counter-clockwise on the board. You put stones in your cala, but not your opponent's.



If your last stone goes into your cala, you get another turn.

If your last stone goes into an empty pit on your side of the board, you capture all of the stones in the pit directly across from that pit, as well as the capturing stone, and place them all into your cala.

The game ends when one person does not have any more stones on their side of the board. Their opponent gets to claim any stones still on their side of the board, and places them in their cala.

The winner is the player with more stones.


Strategy

Careful planning may allow a player to get two or three moves in a turn. Watch for pits that have the right amount of stones, or watch for stones to accumulate.



Here the bottom player played the 4 stones in their #3 spot, and then played the 4 stones in their #1 spot. If their opponent does not drop any more stones into their #2 spot, next time they will play it and get an extra move.

Capturing stones is often the fastest way to get them, either by letting one of the pits on your right gather a large amount of stones, and going around the board, or by letting a pit to your left have only a couple. Block your opponent from being able to capture by drizzling stones through any open spaces.



Here the amber stone in the top row could capture, but would only gain one stone. The large piles of stones are safe. The top player could play their green stone to get a second move, and then capture, to make the most of their turn.


Pros and Cons

Affordable and readily available

Easy to teach

Can be enjoyable to handle the stones, and play on a wooden board

Looks nice left out on display

Quick set-up and clean-up, short gameplay

Portable, especially the folding sets

Meditative


Conclusion

It's an abstract, and most likely to be enjoyed by people who like games such as Backgammon and Chinese Checkers. I appreciate the feel and the look of the glass stones, and the wood board. I enjoy the thought of playing a game that has been played for hundreds of years, around the world.

16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
ketchupgun
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I love this game...and the first time I played it was while playing Sierra's old DOS game Hero's Quest (Quest for Glory). the 3rd installment took place in Africa I believe..and you could play Mancala with a tribesperson. I still enjoy it too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_Quest


Oh, and yu can make an ULTRA portable verison by not using the board, just cut out felt pieces to make the "holes"

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The Count
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
I like your review. The Mancala game you describe is called Kalah. I like playing it with my son.

It was the first Mancala game I learned almost 27 years ago now. We made games in class by using an egg carton and beans, and then we had a class tournament after we had learned to play a few weeks. From your images it looks like you have the same board I have (I wanted to upgrade years ago from a egg carton ).

If you ever want a little more challenge, I would suggest giving Oware a try. Same board, pebbles, and setup as Kalah; just different rules.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Doobermite
United States
Chester County
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mancala is my FAVORITE abstract game.

You would think from the setup that it would be the same game each time but it's not. I don't think I ever played a game that was like the one before. Easy to teach and play. Fun!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Duncan
United States
Ithaca
New York
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I second Dan's advice to give Oware a try.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.