Mancala is an ancient family of board games, and there are numerous variants. Many different forms of Mancala are played across Africa, though the game may originally have come from ancient Sumeria. History of Mancala Mancala is essentially a game in which players "sow" and "capture" seeds. This process wasn't always played for fun; in fact, according to some historians, Mancala may have been an ancient record-keeping technique. According to another theory, Mancala originated as a ritual related to the harvest, or as a tool for divination. According to the Awale.info website: Game boards found at African temples and shrines suggest a different ritual associated with mancala. The game board represents the world and is laid east to west, in alignment with the rising and setting sun. The seeds or stones are the stars and the holes are the months of the year. Moving the seeds represents the gods moving through time and space and mancala predicts our fate. Yet another possibility is that Mancala originated in other parts of Africa and made their way to Egypt over two thousand years ago. As forms of Mancala are played all over Africa, and very ancient Mancala boards have been found in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Ghana, this theory may also be correct.