Review Mancala +


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Jul 5, 2008
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I recently reviewed Big Bang Board Games, which had a Mancala game included in the game choices. I found that version of Mancala to be a little odd, not like the traditional version with multi-colored beads that I have played in the past.

So when I saw Mancala+ in the App store, I decided to download it and give it a try.

Mancala is a pretty straightfoward game. You have a series of "cups" or pits (as the are officially called) ,each of which starts with a certain number of rocks (or seeds, or marbles, or whatever you want to call them). You move the seeds around the board trying to fill up your home with more seeds than your opponent gets.

It's a fun game, which can involve some strategy with the various rules. The graphics on this version of the game are very straightforward, but it serves the game well. The biggest feature that I liked was the realistic looking puts (they looked like they were carved in a wooden board) and the multicolored seeds.

Playing the game, there were times that I won and times I lost, so I didn't find the AI too difficult, nor too easy to beat. I am sure someone who may be more of an expert on the game may find it easier to beat the iPhone than I did.

There are a number of custom settings. You can play either in two player mode (on the same iPhone, not over wifi unfortunately) or you can play the computer. You can also change settings with sound (on/off), speed of the game, AI difficulty (a slider), and the number of seeds that each pit starts with. For people who are unfamiliar with Mancala, there is a set of rules included as well.

This was a nice game, and the best feature of all was that it was free. Because it was free, there aren't a lot of frills associated with it. It might be nice, for example, to be able to choose different playing boards, or different "seed" styles (looking like marbles, pebbles, real seeds, etc). It would also be nice to add an internet multiplayer option.

But for a free version of Mancala, this game really can't be beat.

Pros: Free, nice simple graphics, customizable settings
Cons: None really

All in all, this free app is a good Mancala game. I wouldn't be surprised if they come out with a pay version (hopefully $.99) that may add some of the features I was talking about, but for now if you want to play Mancala, go with this version of the game. 5 out of 5 stars.