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Middle Africa


Mangola is a four-row mancala-style board game from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was documented in the mid-twentieth century by Suzanne Comhaire-Sylvain. Adults play it on boards, children, including girls, scoop holes our of the ground to play.


4x8 board. Two counters in each hole. Play begins with each player taking the two counters in the leftmost hole of either the inner or outer row and placing them both in the following hole in an anti-clockwise direction, and continuing with the two counters in the next hole, until there is an alternating pattern of holes with four counters followed by empty holes in all of the player's holes. On the next turn, the player sows from one of the holes on the end of one of their rows. Sowing occurs in an anti-clockwise direction. After this turn, sowing can be from any hole on the player's side of the board. When the final counter falls into an occupied hole, the player picks up these counters and continues to sow. When the final counter is supposed to fall into an empty hole, it is not placed there but placed in the next hole. When the final counter falls into an occupied hole in the inner row, any counters in the opponent's two holes opposite are captured. These are then sown on the player's side of the board, beginning with the first occupied hole immediately after an empty hole before the hole from which the capture was made. Play continues until one player can no longer play, and the opponent wins.

Comhaire-Sylvain 1952: 356-361.


Silva 1995: 165-166.

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Comhaire-Sylvain, S. 1952. "Jeux congolais." Zaïre 2: 351-362.




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