| © 2006,|
|6 holes per row|
Kauri (German for: "cowrie"; pronounced like the English word) was invented on June 26, 2006, by Ralf Gering, Hain (Brohltal), Germany. He got the idea to the game right after lunch while he was dozing, shortly before he fell asleep as the popular German saying goes:
"Den Seinen gibt's der Herr im Schlaf" (The Lord giveth (blessings) to His beloved in sleep. - Psalms 127:2 Lutheran Bible)
Several rule changes were made in December 2007.
The game is played on a standard mancala board of 2 x 6 holes. Each player owns one row.
Initially there are six counters in each hole: five "seeds" (Caesalpinia bonduc) and one "cowrie".
At his turn a player distributes the contents of one of his holes according to the following rules:
- The hole contains at least one cowrie.
- The player takes the seeds in his right hand and the cowries in his left hand (if he is right-handed).
- He distributes the seeds first, one by one, in the anti-clockwise direction into the succeeding holes.
- Eventually he distributes the cowries, also one by one, continuing in the same direction.
The move ends after one lap.
The players capture counters according to the following rules:
(A) General Rules
- Only seeds can be captured.
- The capture takes place immediately when it is effected, even when the move hasn't yet ended.
- Captured seeds are removed from the board and collected until the game ends.
- Several captures, even of both types (see below), can happen in one move.
- Cowries cannot be captured.
(B) Direct Capture
- Seeds are captured from opponent's holes that have no cowries.
- The capture is effected when a cowrie is dropped into such a hole.
- The seeds are captured by the moving player.
- The cowries effecting the capture remain on the board.
(C) Indirect Capture
- Seeds are captured when they are dropped into opponent's holes that contain only cowries.
- The seeds are captured by the opponent.
- The cowries are not removed from the board.
A player must move, if he can. If a player still has seeds, but no cowries, he must pass until he can move again.
The game ends when no seeds are left on the board.
The player who captured most seeds wins the game. If both players have captured the same number, the game continues until one player can't move. His adversary is then declared the winner of the game. Draws are therefore not possible.
It has been suggested to limit indirect capture to each player's two left-most holes (the first two holes as viewed from his side).
Although cowries are not counted in the end, they are important because on the one hand they can protect seeds against capture, while on the other hand they effect a capture. They serve for attack and defense.
Before a player captures, he may feed his opponent's holes that cannot be defended with seeds. The weakest holes are those which are most difficult to protect, usually the left-most ones in a row.
Zugzwang (German for "forced moves") is an important tool to control your opponent. Remember that only the contents of holes can be moved which contain cowries.
Subtle endgames can result, when players try to prevent that their opponent gets an empty row.
- Gering, R.
- (2006) Kauri - a new Mancala game, email to Mancala Games maling list (firstname.lastname@example.org), 27 June.
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