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Toys and Games of Asia / Brinquedos e Jogos da Ásia - Mancalas
Mancalas Mancala is a family of board games played around the world, sometimes called "sowing" games, or "count-and-capture" games, which describes the game-play. Mancala games play a role in many African and some Asian societies comparable to that of chess in the West, or the game of Go in Eastern Asia. The list of mancala games best known in the Western world includes Kalah and Oware. Other games are Congkak, Omweso, Unee tugaluulakh, Bao, Sungka , Ayo and Igisoro. The word mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala meaning literally "to move." There is no one game with the name mancala; instead mancala is a type, or designation, of game. This word is used in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, but is not consistently applied to any one game. In the USA, however, "mancala" is often used as a synonym for the game Kalah. General gameplay Mancala games share a common general game play. Players begin by placing a certain number of seeds, prescribed by the variation in use, in each of the pits on the game board. A player may count their stones to plot the game. A turn consists of removing all seeds from a pit, sowing the seeds (placing one in each of the following pits in sequence), and capturing based on the state of board. This leads to the English phrase "Count and Capture" sometimes used to describe the gameplay. Although the details differ greatly, this general sequence applies to all games. Equipment is typically a board, constructed of various materials, with a series of holes arranged in rows, usually two or four. Some games are more often played with holes dug in the earth, or carved in stone. The holes may be referred to as "depressions," "pits," or "houses." Sometimes, large holes on the ends of the board, called stores, are used for holding the pieces. Playing pieces are seeds, beans, stones, cowry shells, or other small undifferentiated counters that are placed in and transferred about the holes during play. Nickernuts are one common example of pieces used. Board configurations vary among different games but also within variations of a given game; for example Endodoi is played on boards from 2 ? 6 to 2 ? 10. With a two-rank board, players usually are considered to control their respective sides of the board, although moves often are made into the opponent's side. With a four-rank board, players control an inner row and an outer row, and a player's seeds will remain in these closest two rows unless the opponent captured them. The object of mancala games is usually to capture more stones than the opponent; sometimes, one seeks to leave the opponent with no legal move or to have your side empty first in order to win. At the beginning of a player's turn, they select a hole with seeds that will be sown around the board. This selection is often limited to holes on the current player's side of the board, as well as holes with a certain minimum number of seeds. In a process known as sowing, all the seeds from a hole are dropped one-by-one into subsequent holes in a motion wrapping around the board. Sowing is an apt name for this activity, since not only are many games traditionally played with seeds, but placing seeds one at a time in different holes reflects the physical act of sowing. If the sowing action stops after dropping the last seed, the game is considered a single lap game. Multiple laps or relay sowing is a frequent feature of mancala games, although not universal. When relay sowing, if the last seed during sowing lands in an occupied hole, all the contents of that hole, including the last sown seed, are immediately resown from the hole. The process usually will continue until sowing ends in an empty hole. Another common way to receive "multiple laps" is when the final seed sown lands in your designated hole. Many games from the Indian subcontinent use pussa-kanawa laps. These are like standard multilaps, but instead of continuing the movement with the contents of the last hole filled, a player continues with the next hole. A pussakanawa lap move will then end when a lap ends just prior to an empty hole. If a player ends his stone with a point move he gets a "free turn". Depending on the last hole sown in a lap, a player may capture stones from the board. The exact requirements for capture, as well as what is done with captured stones, vary considerably among games. Typically, a capture requires sowing to end in a hole with a certain number of stones, ending across the board from stones in specific configurations, or landing in an empty hole adjacent to an opponents hole that contains one or more pieces. Another common way of capturing is to capture the stones that reach a certain number of seeds at any moment. Also, several games include the notion of capturing holes, and thus all seeds sown on a captured hole belong at the end of the game to the player who captured it. Historybest friends
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