Horribly addictive online game

It’s called Owela . It’s one of the mancala family of games- played on a board with little pits in it where you move seeds or stones around and attempt to capture your opponents pieces.

The rules are deceptively simple, the strategy frighteningly complex.

This game is evil, children. It’s the crack of online games. I played against the computerized opponent for over two hours and a winner was never declared. I started out getting way ahead of the computer, then it caught up and got way ahead, then I started catching up again…

By the time I quit, just because my eyeballs hurt from staring at the screen, I was ahead by two pieces.

Go ahead. Play it, if you dare. A few weeks from now, when your neighbors call the police because they haven’t seen you in a really long time, and they find you severely dehydrated and almost starved in a pool of your own urine because you couldn’t tear yourself away from the game…

well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ya might want to ask a mod to fix that link for you

Or I can just post a new one…

That works too.

So I just played a game and won, after a half hour or so. But it didn’t even announce me as the winner or anything! It just kept going - the computer couldn’t do anything, so it just kept on being my turn over and over. And eventually, the computer only had two pebbles, and they were on the far row, so I couldn’t get at them.

I need closure, dammit!

You won in a half hour? Duuuuuuude!!! I am impressed.

Actually, the game is won when your opponent is unable to make any more legal moves, so if there was a space on their side of the board that had two or more pieces in it, the game wasn’t over. It is a multi-lap game, so if your last piece lands in a hole where there are other pieces, you just keep going.

Also, you have to watch the screen kind of close to keep track of what’s going on. If the computer is down to just a few holes that only have one or two pieces in them, the move can happen so fast that if you blink, you miss it.

And really, did you need to have those last two pepples? C’mon, let the computer lose with a little dignity, huh?

Same here, Smeghead, though the cpu has four pebbles on mine. I just keep going and going… The counter text disappears, so I guess it knows that the game is over.

I’ve been trying to play against Mango, but the rules are very poorly-written and I have no clue what I’m doing. Anyone care to give me a run-down of how this game works?


Completely different game, Agent Foxtrot.

“mancala” is sort of like “cards”- same basic equipment, but completely different game. There are probably about a dozen different mancala games, and quite a few of the games have several different rule variations. Think of it like this,
You’ve got blackjack, crazy eights, poker… then you’ve got five card draw, seven card stud, Omaha, Texas Hold 'em…

The game we’re playing is a variation of kalah. I’ll drop you an e-mail and try to break the rules down into pieces you can pick up with chopsticks.

Click on a circle on your side that has more than one pebble in it. It will add one to the circles on your side in a counter-clockwise fashion until it runs out of pebbles. This would look a lot better with case statements, but here goes.

At the circle where the last pebble was placed:
a. if there was at least one pebble of yours there (2 there now that the last pebble was placed): the pebbles from that circle get moved as well according to the rules.
b. If it was in a central row and there were pebbles on the enemy side next to that circle: all the enemy pebbles get added to that circle, and the pebbles from that circle get moved.
c. If the circle was empty and there aren’t any pebbles in the enemy circle facing yours, your turn ends.

A and B stack, so you can get long chains where your stones will run around and around your half until finally landing on an empty circle.

Note that the enemy is also moving counter-clockwise, but his pieces are moving in the opposite direction as yours (from the left instead of from the right).

If you get a high number of stones (I think around 14) in a circle, the game loses the graphic for it and it looks like the circle empties but the stones are still there. So look out.

Well, after a few minutes of this I can safely say that:

  1. I know which direction the stones are going. (I was thinking too much of checkers and was confused by my inability to reach the other side).

  2. I think I know when I’m about to have some of my stones taken away.

Mind you, I don’t precisely have any sort of strategy going, and every once in a while I inadvertently make a terrific move (that is, assuming I’m supposed to be collecting stones rather than giving them away).

Anyone know why you can sometimes move things (green) but sometimes you can’t (red)?

It was definitely over. He had two pebbles - one each in two separate wells. He had no moves left. You can’t move singletons (that’s why they’re red, booklover - you can only move from wells with two or more pebbles in them).

The general strategy I worked out was to take as many of the other guy’s pebbles as possible and keep as many of my pebbles as possible on the bottom row where he can’t steal them from me. Obviously, actually doing that gets more and more complex. As I neared the end, I added the other goal of making sure that none of his pebbles could land in a spot where he could steal any of mine.

So, what you’re saying is that even though the game was over and you had definitely and incontrovertably defeated the CPU opponent, you continued moving pieces around the board in an attempt to capture seeds in an uncapturable position? Or did you just enter a zombielike state in which you felt compelled to mindlessly move seeds around for no good purpose?

Damn, this game is more dangerous than I thought.

booklover, there is a rules section. You ought to try this game I found for free download called Dara. You have to go online to get the rules, so I found myself trying to play a game when I had absolutely no clue what was going on. I basically observed the computer and randomly moved seeds around until I detected a pattern and figured out what the rules of play were.

Heh. No, I was just grumping that the program never stops and says, “Congratulations! You won!!” It just keeps letting you move as much as you want.

Agreed. I didn’t even get any XP, or my alignment shifted 1 pt towards good. :frowning:

I have two notes about Owela:

When I “won” the game, the computer did take one more (illegal) move that might’ve allowed the game to continue. It seems that when the computer is out of real moves it always empties the upper right most corner in the standard Owela way. That is, there was one stone in that cup and it moved one cup to the left. If a stone had been in the second cup, the game might’ve continued for all I know.

The other note concerns the game I am playing right now in another window. I just began a move that is continuing six minutes later. My stones just keep lapping the board. There are between four and six empty cups at all times, so there are spaces that could end my move, but it just isn’t happening. My opponent has no stones left on his front line that I could steal.

I dare not follow the link. I narrowly escaped Zuma.

Ah, yes, the “neverending turn”, an everpresent hazard in multi-lap mancala games. Basically, you’re picking up just the right amount of seeds that you will always drop your last seed into an occupied cup, so you just keep going and going and going…

In tournament play, if a turn lasts longer than three minutes, the referees nullify the game.

I poked around the website a bit, but I coudn’t find a contact link so I guess e-mailing them and reporting the bugs is not going to be a happenin’ thing.

My turn just passed the fifty minute mark! I’m going to have to kill it soon, probably when I go to lunch. That’ll put the turn at more than an hour…

[live opponent]

Ya’ know, you’ve been sowing for about six minutes now…

Um, I have to go to the bathroom.

Yeah, I’ll just call for Chinese delivery. You want some crab Rangoon?

OK, look the egg drop soup is getting cold. You gonna take a break and eat, or what?

Oh for Pete’s sake, I concede already!!!

[/live opponent]


Horribly addictive? Online? Game?? Sounds like Kingdom of Loathing to me!!