How to play bao


Bao means 'wood' in Swahili language và this mancala variant is very popular in Africa. It's played on a board with four rows of eight bowls. The bowls must be big enough so 12-15 stones can fit in them. The top row contains the seeds of one player và the bottom two rows contain the seeds of the other. There are two holes, called the nyumtía, that are square.

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The aim of the game is khổng lồ be the first player khổng lồ empty the front row of your opponent or deprive hyên of all legal moves.

Both players start with 32 stones & at the start ten stones are placed lượt thích this:


I. The Nacài đặt Stage

During the first stage, called the Namua stage, each turn each player brings one seed into lớn play. Therefor, players put a stone from their stochồng in bowl on their front row that already contains one or more seeds & whose opposing hole also contains one or more seeds. Now, they can capture the stones in the opposing bowl. A player must always capture if he cans.

The captured stones are brought bachồng into lớn play by putting them in "kichwa". This is the extreme left or right bowl of the front row.

When a bowl with more than one stone is captured, then all those stones must be sow on the front row and one stone in each bowl, beginning in the left or right kichwa. A player can't skip bowls when sowing the captured stones. But there is an exception: when you capture stones on a kichwa, you must put them baông chồng them on the same side where you captured them.

Capturing with Captured Seeds

Captured stones immediately change sides và can capture even more opposing stones. When the last sowned stone comes in a bowl already containing stones, you can capture the stones in the opposing bowl. When the opposing bowl is empty, you can take the stones from the last bowl and start lớn sow them again in the same direction.

You must always keep on sowing or capturing until your last seed falls in an empty bowl.


A takasa is a move when you can't start by capturing stones. In that case, you just put a stone in one of your last bowls with one or more stones, take all stones & start sowing them until the last seed comes in an empty bowl.

During a takasa, no captures are allowed because you didn't start with a capture.

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The bowl marked with a rectangle is always the 5th one from the left on your front row và special rules occur lớn this bowl. The nyumtía ceases to be a nyumba as soon as the stones it contains are sown & then it becomes just an ordinary bowl.

Sowing the seeds from your nyumba is very tricky to lớn vày & it's one of the key moments of the game.

When the last seeded stone falles in the nyumtía & the opposing bowl is empty, the player may kết thúc his turn if he wishes. He don't need lớn capture the stones in the nyumtía and sow them.

If the nyumbố is the only bowl left and are having a takasa, then you can place a stone in your nyumbố then take out two stones và sow them to the left or khổng lồ the right.

II. The Mtaji Stage


This stage starts when all your stones of your stochồng are brought inkhổng lồ play. In this stage, you must always capture when you can. So, you take a bowl on your front or bachồng row that, after sowing the containing stones, ends with the last stone falling in a bowl having stones in the opposing bowl.

Playing bowls with only one stone is forbidden.

When no captures are possible (takasa), the player must take a bowl from the front row and sow it to the left or right but during this move sầu, captures are not allowed lượt thích in the Nadownload stage.

When there are no occupied bowls in the front row, the player can sow a bowl from the baông chồng row.

If there is a bowl that is the only opposing bowl for your opponent, than this bowl may not be sown during a takasa.