CONGKAK played by Raja Nurfatihah and Nur Athirah from SMK Sultan Ismail, Malaysia.
The objective of the game is capture more marbles one’s opponent



Congkak(Congklak) is a mancala game of Malay origin played in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Southern Thailand and also some parts of Sumatra and Borneo.

The word congkak was believed originated from the old Malay ‘congak’, gives meaning as mental calculation that was practiced in this game. It was considered that a good player will have an advantage in collecting points to win the game when the player calculates a few steps in advance.


  • History


The oldest mancala game that was found in a abandoned castle of Roman Egypt and back to the 4th Century AD. This game was likely introduced to Southeast Asia by Indian or Arab traders in 15th century. It was spread all over Malay world through the dealers via Malacca where at that time the trading post is very important. Early years back then, it was thought that the game was for the king and family residents only. But, it was spread to the general population if the kingdom later on. Other than Malays, the Indian Peranakan also loves this traditional game.

  • How to Play Congkak
  1. The congkak board consists of two rows of 7 holes called the ‘houses’ and two bigger holes called the ‘storehouse’.

Ảnh của Nik Airah.

2. Before the game starts the ‘houses’ are filled with seven congkak seeds each while the ‘storehouses’ are left empty.

3. Both players begin simultaneously by scooping up all the shells in any house on their side. Each drops a shell into the next ‘house’ and continues clockwise depositing one shell into every house thereafter. A player drops a shell into his ‘storehouse’ each time he passes it but does not deposit any into his opponent’s ‘storehouse’.

Ảnh của Nik Airah.


4. How the game continues, depends on where the last shell of each scoop is deposited.

  • IF THE SHELL DROPS INTO THE PLAYER’S OWN ‘STOREHOUSE’: The player scoops up the shells from any of his ‘houses’ and distributes them in the cups (‘houses’) round the board but not in his opponents’s ‘storehouse’.
  • IF THE SHELL DROPS INTO A ‘HOUSE’ (on either side of the board) CONTAINING SHELLS: The player scoops up all the shells in that ‘house’ and continues distributing them as described above.
  • IF THE SHELL DROPS INTO THE PLAYER’S ‘HOUSE’ WHICH IS WITHOUT SHELLS: The player is entitled to collect the shells in his opponent’s ‘house’ directly opposite his own. These shells collected from his opponent’s house together with his last shell are deposited in his own ‘storehouse’. If the opponent’s ‘house’ opposite his own is empty, he deposits only his last shell in his own ‘storehouse’. He forfeits his turn and stops playing. It is the opponent’s turn now to distribute the shells.
  • IF THE SHELL DROPS INTO AN EMPTY ‘HOUSE’ BELONGING TO THE OPPONENT: The player forfeits his turn and stops playing. He also forfeits his shell and leaves it in the opponent’s ‘house’. It is the opponent’s turn now to distribute the shells.

5The first round ends when a player has no more shells on his side.


  1.  Play resumes in the second round with players redistributing shells from their own ‘storehouse’ to their own ‘houses’. Beginning from left to right, seven shells are placed in each ‘house’. If a player does not have sufficient shells to fill his own ‘houses’, the remaining cups are left empty and are considered ‘burnt’. The leftover shells are deposited into his own ‘storehouse.’ The opponent deposits excess shells he has won into his own ‘storehouse’.


7. The loser gets to start the second round. Play is continued as before but players will bypass ‘burnt houses’ for instance no shells are to be dropped into these houses. If a shell is accidentally dropped into a ‘burnt house’, it is confiscated and stored in the opponent’s ‘storehouse’.


8. Play continues until one player loses all his ‘houses’ or concedes defeat.


* To learn better and understand more, you can watch this video


  • The Objectives of Playing Congkak

The objectives of playing congkak is to get rid of all the seeds by moving them across over your enemy while placing each of your seed or marbles into your own house or pit. The games end where the winner either the one with the most seeds in his or her house or the first to empty his row of holes.


  • Equipment Needed

1. Congkak boards

2. Objects

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