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Virtual Science Fair

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science icon yellow - Mancala


VSF presented by 3 e1587502584108 - Mancala

Have science fun as a family! Complete activities with parental supervision.

  • Empty egg carton
  • Two sets of 24 small items, preferably of one color (beans, pebbles, marbles, coins, etc)
  • Two cups or bowls
  • Be the first player to clear all of the pieces from your side of the gameboard into your large cup at the end of the board.
  • Each player take all 24 game pieces of one color.
  • Place the egg carton between the two players. Place the bowls or cups, one at each end of the carton.
  • The six cups nearest to you are yours, and your scoring cup is the large cup on your right.
  • Each player places four playing pieces in each of the six cups.
How To Play
  • Youngest player goes first.
  • On your turn, pick up all of the playing pieces from one cup on your side of the gameboard.
  • In a clockwise direction, drop one of the playing pieces into each of the next 4 cups. Note to only place the pieces into YOUR scoring cup – not your opponent’s!
  • If the last playing piece is placed into an empty cup on your own side, you may then take all of the playing pieces from your opponent’s cup directly opposite that cup.
  • During your turn, if you last place is placed into your own scoring cup, you may take another turn.
To Win
  • Be the first to clear all of the pieces from your side of the gameboard into your scoring cup. Happy gaming!
  • Be sure to take a picture or video to share in the Facebook comments on the Buffalo Museum of Science or Tifft Nature Preserve pages!

What’s it all about?

This is one of the oldest games still played today. So, it takes many forms and goes by many different names, including mancala, owari, awre, or kpo.

There is evidence that the game was played in Egypt before 1000 B.C. It spread from Egypt through other parts of Africa, probably with traders along the Nile River.

This game is so diverse that the rules can vary even from person to person! Try using these rules first and compare them with the rules you are familiar with.

Try It!
  • When archaeologists and anthropologists uncover these games, they often don’t know exactly how to play them. Use the materials, come up with your own rules and make a brand new game!
  • Get creative! Where else can you play this game? If you don’t have a game board, what else can you use?
IMG 4940 scaled - Mancala
IMG 4939 scaled - Mancala
IMG 4940 scaled - Mancala

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