My daughter and I love playing Mancala/Wari. (There’s a very nice Mancala app out there as well.) In fact, most western games billing themselves as “Mancala” are actually Wari. Mancala is a family of games, like Poker. Wari (or Oware) is a specific version, and the one with the most popular rule set.
After posting the story about the 3rd International Gaming Photo Awards yesterday, I remembered this picture, which I found on a Maasai tourism site. When I see photos like this, I’m always struck by the ways the world finds to play game. Dig holes in the dirt, collect some pebbles or pips, and start playing. Man, if Games Workshop got hold of this, they would slap some Space Marines on those pips, change the rules every two years, and sell them collectible figures and $4 bottles of model paint.
Having said that, I have no idea what these two dudes are doing. It’s obviously a kind of Mancala game, but there appears to be at least four rows of holes. (?) Maybe it’s a Special Edition Mancala Expansion Set, thus proving that the desire to make your existing games bigger is shared the world over.