Alemungula

Overview
Alemungula is a two-player game that belongs to the Mancala family of games. This game is played by the Wetawit in Ethiopia.

Board

Alemungula is played on a special board having two rows of 5 small pits and two big pits called Storehouses.  Each player's side is the bottom row of the small pits and the player's storehouse is on the right side.

At the beginning of the game 5 seeds (or marbles) are placed in each small pit.

Objective
A player wins the game if he accumulates more seeds in his own storehouse than the opponent.

Play

Players take turns sowing their seedsSowing is performed in the following way:

  • A player picks all seeds up from one of the pits on his side. If the player chooses one of the two left-hand pits then the sowing is performed in the clockwise direction. If the player chooses one of the two right-hand pits then the sowing is performed in the counter-clockwise direction. If the player chooses the pit at the middle of his side then the player can choose the direction of sowing by himself.
  • Starting from the next pit in the mentioned above direction, the player drops one of the taken seeds in each pit (skipping the storehouses).

Below is an example of a sowing:

A player takes five seeds from one
of the two left-hand pits on his side
and sows them clockwise.

  • If the last sown seed  lands in a pit on the opponent's side and brings the total number of seeds in that pit to two or four, all the seeds in that pit are captured and placed in the player's storehouse.  If the previous pit on the opponent's side (previous in the sowing direction) also has two or four seeds, those seeds are also captured and placed in the player's storehouse.  The captures are repeated until the previous pit on the opponent's side has neither two nor four seeds.

A player takes four seeds from his pit and sows them clockwise.
The last sown seed lands on the opponent's side and brings
the total number of seeds to two. The total number of seeds
in the previous pit is also brought to two or four.  All seeds from
these two pits are captured and moved to the player's storehouse.

  • A single seed, which is played into an empty pit on the opponent's side (either the last or the first pit of the opponent's side), cannot be played back by the opponent on his next move.
  • If a player has no legal moves on his turn then both players take all seeds remaining on their sides to their storehouse and the game ends. This situation can happen in two cases: either all pits on the player's side are empty or the player's side has only a single seed, which cannot be used during the previously mentioned restriction.

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