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Dongjintian (Four Players) DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Asia

Category Board, Sow, Four rows


Dongjintian is a mancala-style board game played in Yunnan Province, China. This four-player version features an orthogonal pattern of sowing not seen in other mancala-style games.


4x5 board. Five counters per hole. Players can sow from any hole. Sowing occurs orthogonally in any direction, and a player can change direction orthogonally at any point in the move, but can never double back. When the last counter falls into a hole, sowing continues if there are counters in the following holes; these are picked up and sowing continues from there. The hole from which the sowing continues will always be the next one in the opposite direction from the penultimate hole in which a counter was dropped. Therefore, if the sowing ends when a sowing hits an edge or corner, sowing does not continue. When the hole after the end of a sowing is empty, the counters in the next hole following it are captured, but captures cannot be made when the final counter falls into a hole from which a new direction must be chosen. Captures cannot be made from the central two holes of the board. The player who captures the most counters wins.

Eagle 1995: 57-58.



Ludeme Description

Dongjintian (Four Players).lud


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Eagle, V. 1995. "Some Newly Described Mancala Games from Yunnan Province, China, and the Definition of a Genus in the Family of Mancala Games." In A. de Voogt, ed, New Approaches to Board Games Research: Asian Origins and Future Perspectives. Leiden: International Institute for Asian Studies, 48-63.

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