Day 196 – Mancala

We’re on holiday this week and have been enjoying a nice staycation as we’re still a bit apprehensive about travelling far. Rather than fit as many things as possible into our week, we’re going for a Sunday-every-day kind of vibe: lots of long lunches, cosy films, and walks in the forest – it’s been perfect. I wanted a new thing to fit in with this homely feeling and so it was time to break out a new game: Mancala.

According to Wikipedia, Mancala likely originates from Northern Africa, with evidence of it being found in Eritrea and Ethiopia from between the 6th and 7th century A.D. and is now played around the world. Interestingly, the name Mancala only refers to the type of game rather than the game itself, there are many different variations. It’s a simple game that can be played with beans, stones, or marbles, and can even be played without a board.

Unlike with Nine Men’s Morris the other day, I didn’t have a spare set lying around. Instead, I had a game on the Nintendo Switch with 51 different games from around the world: some familiar such as Connect Four, and some unknown to me like Mancala.

The aim of the game is to get the most counters in your base (the large bits at each end) by strategically moving the counters around the board. It didn’t take too long to get the hang of and was a really nice simple game to spend 10 or 15 minutes playing. It wasn’t as deeply strategic as chess, or Nine Men’s Morris, but I enjoyed it more for that reason – it meant I had more chance of winning!

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