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Mwambulula DLP Game   

Period Modern

Region Eastern Africa, Middle Africa

Category Board, Sow, Four rows


Mwambulula is a four-row mancala-style board game played by the Bemba people of Zambia. It is notable because it begins immediately by holding counters in reserve to be entered into the board on a later turn.


4x8 board. Two counters in each hole, the holes in the inner row are then vacated. These counters become the "store." Sowing occurs in an anti-clockwise direction in the player's two rows. When the final counter of a sowing lands in any occupied hole, the contents of the opponent's inner row holes opposite are captured. If there are also counters in the opponent's outer hole opposite, these are also captured, but only if there are counters in the opponent's inner hole. Captured counters are then sown from the hole that the sowing began. If the final counter lands in an occupied hole and capturing cannot happen, these counters are picked up and sowing continues. At any time during the game if a player is running low on counters, they may enter counters from the "store" and add one counter to each hole. The player who is unable to move loses.

Chaplin 1956: 169.

Ludeme Description



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Silva 1995: 178-179.

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Chaplin, J. 1956. "A Note on Mancala Games in Northern Rhodesia." Man 56: 168-170.

Silva, E. R. S. 1995. Jogos do quadrícula do tipo mancala com especial incidência nos praticados em Angola. Lisbon: Instituto de investigação cientifica tropical.

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