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Depending on the last hole sown in a lap, a player may capture stones from the board.
The exact requirements for capture, as well as what is done with captured stones, vary considerably among games.
Some of the most popular mancala games (with regard to distribution area, the numbers of players and tournaments, and publications) are: Although more than 800 names of traditional mancala games are known, some names denote the same game, while some names are used for more than one game.
Almost 200 modern invented versions have also been described.
Equipment is typically a board, constructed of various materials, with a series of holes arranged in rows, usually two or four.
The materials include clay and other shape-able materials.
No one game exists with the name mancala; the name is a classification or type of game.
This word is used in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, but is not consistently applied to any one game.
In a process known as sowing, all the seeds from a hole are dropped one-by-one into subsequent holes in a motion wrapping around the board.
This leads to the English phrase "count and capture" sometimes used to describe the gameplay.
Although the details differ greatly, this general sequence applies to all games.
Multiple laps or relay sowing is a frequent feature of mancala games, although not universal.
When relay sowing, if the last seed during sowing lands in an occupied hole, all the contents of that hole, including the last sown seed, are immediately re-sown from the hole.