Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to Play Congkak

Congkak (pronounced CHONG-kak) is a game played on a wooden boat-shaped block with two rows of seven circular holes and two large holes at both ends called "home".
The game begins with seven game pieces (shells, marbles, pebbles or seeds) in each hole except "homes" which remain empty. Congkak requires two players. Each player controls the seven holes on his side of the board and owns the "home" to his left. The goal is to accumulate as many pieces in your own "home".

Initial position
0 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 0
7 7 7 7 7 7 7

On a turn, a player removes all pieces from one of the seven holes on his side. He then distributes them clockwise --- one in each hole to the left of this hole --- in a process called sowing. Sowing skips an opponent's "home" but not a player's own "home".

If the last piece falls into an occupied hole then all the pieces are removed from that hole, and are sown in the same way (clockwise from that hole) in another round. This player's (current) turn ends when the last piece falls into an empty hole on the opponent's side.

  • If the last piece sown falls into a player's own "home" then ...

    ... the player earns another turn, which can begin at any of the seven holes on his side.

  • If the last piece sown falls into an empty hole on his side then ...

    ... the player captures all the pieces in the hole directly across from this one, on the opponent's side and put them (plus the last piece sown) in his own "home". If the opposing hole is empty, no pieces are captured.
The other player chooses which hole he wishes to start from, removes the pieces and sows them - one in each hole, clockwise from that chosen hole. If a player has no pieces on his side of the board when it is his turn, then he must pass.

The game ends when no pieces are left in any hole on both sides of the board. The players now count the number of pieces in their own "home" and see who has won.
This game is also played in other southeast asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines where it is known as "Sungka".

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