Similar to my previous project were I used scrap wood to build it, this DIY Mancala Board Game was also built form leftover scrap wood. Mancala game history can be traced back as far as CE 500 and 700. There are hundreds of variants around the world, but we will build only one of many variations of this game. This Mancala game is played by two players, and one game can take about 15 minutes.
Mancala Game Rules
You can use rocks, beans, seeds, or anything else. The game is divided into two parts: Your side with six holes and a “mancala” to the right, and your opponent’s side and a mancala.
To set up, place four marbles in each hole, except mancalas, a total of 48 marble. The point of this game to get the most marbles in your “mancala” cup. The first player grabs all marbles in any of their holes and drops, one by one, in succeeding holes in a counter-clockwise direction. Including their mancala, but skipping their opponent’s mancala cup.
Ones your hand is empty, it’s your opponent’s turn. If the last marble in your hand happens to go into your mancala, you go again. Also, if the last marble in your hand happens to fall into an empty hole that is yours, you grab that marble and all the marbles in a hole across from your opponent’s hole. Add them to your mancala cup. This continues until one player has all their holes empty. The player that still has marbles left in their holes adds them to their opponent’s mancala cup. The person with the most marbles in their cup wins. Have fun.
You also might be interested in DIY Triangle Peg Game and DIY Pucket Game for Kids.
Time to Complete
Tools for this project
- 1x6x37″ (x1)
- Wood Glue
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Step 1 – Cut Two 1×6 Boards
Take 1×6 and cut two boards to 18 1/2″ in length. (In the photo I’m using a different size board because I’m using leftover scrap wood from different projects, but eventually, I cut it to 5 ½” x 18 ½”)
Step 2 – Measure and Mark Location of Holes
Starting from the left top corner of the board, measure and mark 1 3/8″ from the side and 1 3/8″ from the top. This will be the center of the first hole. Then from that first mark moving right, measure 2 1/4″ to the second hole, and so on. You will have 8 marks 2 1/4″ apart in one line. Now from the bottom left, follow the same measurement as you did on the top left.
Step 3 – Drill the Holes Using Hole Saw Bit
Now take a nail and place it over the mark and lightly hit it with a hammer making a dent in the wood. This will prevent the drill bit from shifting when you start drilling the hole. Using a 1 3/4″ hole saw bit drill 8 holes on the top and 8 holes on the bottom.
Step 4 – Cut Larger Two Opening With Jig Saw
Take a construction square and draw a line connecting the two holes on both the left and the right side. Using a Jig Saw cut on the line creating a larger oval opening.
Step 5 – Sand and Glue Boards Together
Use sandpaper or/and random orbiting sander to eliminate any rough edges after drilling and cutting. Flip the board with holes upside down and apply wood glue. Then glue this piece onto the other 5 1/2″ by 18 1/2″ piece. Clamp the boards together and let the glue dry before staining or painting.
Step 5 – Stain Mancala Board
Once the glue dries, first apply pre-stain as your first layer, then apply the stain as your second layer. After the stain dries, apply several coats of polyurethane. You’re done with a DIY Mancala Board Game!
5 thoughts on “How to make a DIY Mancala Board Game”
A very good project which was easy to make. Am sure visitors and Grandkids will have a great time with it.
Thanks for allowing me to download the templates which makes it even easier.
You’re welcome John!
Great looking little project and nice Mancala board. I will copy that! Thank you.
I’m going to use it for my middle school students and maybe high school as well.
Awesome! Do you teach woodworking?