Layli Goobalay

Layli Goobalay (Leyla Gobale) is two-row multiple lap version of the Mancala family that is played in Somalia. It is usually played in holes scooped from the ground. The counters may be seeds, stones or pieces of dried camel dung.

Layli Goobalay board
Figure 1: 2x6 Layli Goobalay board

Rules

Layli Goobalay is played by two players on a board of two rows of 6, 8 or 12 holes with four seeds in each hole at the start of play as shown in Figure 1.

The players take turns. Each player picks up the contents of any hole from the row on his side of the board and then places one seed at a time in each hole in a clockwise direction from the start hole in the manner of sowing seeds. The player must not pick up seeds from a qúr hole (defined below).

If the last seed is dropped in an occupied hole, the player takes its contents, including the last dropped seed, and continues to distribute the seeds in a clockwise direction.

If the last seed is placed into a vacant hole on the opponent's side, the player's turn ends and no capture is made.

Capture

If the last seed is placed into a vacant hole on the player's side, and the opponent's hole directly opposite contains one, two, four or more seeds, the contents of both holes is captured and removed from the board, and the player's turn ends.

If the last seed is placed into a vacant hole on the player's side, and the opponent's hole directly opposite contains three seeds, one of these seeds is moved into the hole where the player's move ended (making two and two) and these two holes form the player's qúr. A qúr may never be emptied by either player. Seeds are added to a qúr during the normal course of distribution. A move may not begin at a qúr and if the last seed of a lap by either player lands on the qúr the player's turn ends. A player may have more than one qúr.

The game is over when one player has no seeds on his side of the board, except possibly for some qúrs and is therefore unable to make a move. Each player counts the seeds from their qúrs together with the seeds from their captures. The winner is the player with the greatest number of seeds.