Mancala is the generic name given to a large family of board games, which some experts believe to have originated in Egypt. But, the very nature of the game and the many variations known to be played there, point to Central Africa as its most likely place of origin. The game is popular with men, women, and children in all African countries, where games are quickly improvised by hollowing out of the ground the required number of pits and using pebbles or whatever seeds are available for counters. The popularity of mancala has spread throughout the world, with most major game companies having, at one time or another, published their own versions of the game. Even some inventive individuals have come up with their own variations—most noteworthy Alex Randolph's Oh-Wah-Ree, and Christiaan Freeling's The Glass Bead Game. This page will list the more popular variations with illustrations whenever possible. For more in-depth information about this fascinating family of games, visit James Masters' Mancala page.

Pressman Toys' elegant version.

Das Spiel's "Conga".

E. M. Lowe's version, although made of plastic, has the look and feel of the real thing.

Oh-Wah-Ree, 3M Co.'s very original variation, was invented by Alex Randolph.

Selchow & Righter's Pass It On is a game for two to four players the object of which is to clear all chips out of the five trays on your side of the board.

Pelikan Spiele's "Sahara".

Milton Bradley's entry, quite original.

Schmidt Spiele's "Kalaha".

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