Developer: FlipSide5, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store
Mancala: FS5 (Free). For those of us that didn’t already know, "The word mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala meaning literally ‘to move.' There is no one game with the name mancala; instead mancala is a type, or designation, of game.” (Wikipedia)
This is a wonderful game that I remember from my childhood and it brought a smile to my face to see it in the app store. But wait... it’s free! This is not a “Lite” version, it’s not stripped down at all, and frankly, the developers have done a fantastic job.
The object of Mancala is to try and capture as many marbles (seeds) as possible and get them into your “Home Pit” where, hopefully, you will have more at the end of the game than your opponent. You do this by moving marbles from pits on your side of the board into your “Home." In fact, in this regard, it is similar to Backgammon. Sometimes your marbles will need to travel through your opponent’s side of the board before you can bring them home. If you land your final marble in a pit that was previously empty, and the pit opposite it (on your opponent’s side of the board) has marbles in it, then you will have “captured” them and they get moved to your home pit.
The fundamentals of the game are simple yet the nuances are complex and lend themselves to a rich playing experience. Really good players who have mastered the logic of the game will consistently beat someone of lesser experience. Mancala: FS5 has modes for one player, two players, network, Internet, and AIM.
The home page of Mancala: FS5 is intuitively laid out with useful and separate “Help” and “Settings” buttons. The graphics are great and the interface is snappy and clean. All in all, this game has been executed to near perfection and best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.
Mancala:FS5 (Free) is ad-supported. Users that prefer to avoid the ad can also download the paid version of Mancala: FS5 for $1.99.