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Mancala World

Solitaire games

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Solitaire games are games played by a single player. Only very few mancala games are solitaires. Sometimes they are also called mancala puzzles.

Traditional mancala solitaires are games of patience or manual dexterity instead of mental skill like the vast majority of mancala games. Most of these games were recorded in Africa, particularly in Nigeria (Ise Ozin Egbe) and Sudan (El Arnab, Libat Iblîs, El Agrab). There is also a mancala solitaire in Asia called Sitata or Seethaipandi, which is played among the Tuluva and other people in Southern India. Sitata plays a role in the Tulu story of Mayage and Maipage. The monotous play of this game is according to the American ethnologue Peter J. Claus being regarded as an "appropriate way [for women] to while away the hours in the solitude of an empty house".

Most modern mancala solitaires are mathematical problems such as Monokalah and Multitchouka. They are usually based on Tchuka Ruma, which could be an old game from Indonesia or a western invention from the end of the 19th century.

References

Campbell, P. J. & Chavey, D. P. 
The Game of Tchuka Ruma. In: The UMAP Journal 1995; 16 (4): 343-366.
Claus, P. J. 
Mancala (cenne) in Tulu Myth and Cult. In: Claus, P. J., Pattanayak, D. P. & Handoo, J. Indian Folklore II. Central Institute of Indian Languages Press, Mysore (India) 1987.
Davies, R. 
Some Arab Games and Puzzles. In: Sudan Notes & Records 1925; 8: 137-152.
Deledicq, A. & Popova, A.
Wari et Solo: Le Jeu de Calculs Africain (Collection "Les Distracts" 3). CEDIC, Paris (France) 1977.
Egharevba, J. U. 
Benin Games and Sports. Benin City (Benin) 1949, 26.


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By: Víktor Bautista i Roca.
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