Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sungka - Asia's Friendly Feudal Game

Sungka - Asia's Friendly Feudal Game 
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Sungka (pronounced SOONG-kah) is a game played on a solid wooden block with two rows of seven circular holes and two large holes at both ends called "head". This game is called mancala in the US. It is also known as "count and capture" or "sowing game" in English. The latter moniker is because seeds are sometimes used instead of shells or stones. Filipinos ordinarily use cowrie shells. 

Sungka, a favorite family game in the 
Philippines and Asian countries 

The Language of Sungka 

If you can't hold but vent your ire,
and wish your opponent harm
by fire, quagmire, and death,
and surprise him to disarm,

If you are seeking a battle  
in silence, save the clicking
of cowries in the lazy air,
whatever means of winning 

By the sleight of the hand,
or distract your enemy,
surreptitiously skipping
traps by hiding a cowrie.

If you play the ruthless Nero
while Rome is burning;
and your opponent raids 
the bounty you're keeping,

In words unpleasant, unkind,
yet devoid of real meaning 
in incessant exchange.
either winning or losing.

Winner and  loser come to terms  
in sweet notes that friends remain,
and peace reigns once again -
play of the sungka game.    
                                  Sungka, another indigenous invention, Calatagan, Batangas
Rules in playing sungka 
1. The game begins with 49 game pieces (shells, marbles, pebbles or seeds) equally distributed to alternate holes - seven pieces in every other hole - except "heads" which remain empty. Sungka requires two players. Each player controls the seven holes on his side of the board and owns the "head" to his right. The goal is to accumulate as many pieces in your own "head".

2. The first player removes all pieces from the hole on the extreme left of on his side. He then distributes them anti-clockwise --- one in each hole to the right of that hole --- omitting an opponent's "head" but not a player's own "head".

3. If the last piece falls into an occupied hole then all the pieces are removed from that hole, and are distributed in the same way (to the right of 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.

4. If the last piece distributed falls into a player's own "head," then  the player earns another turn, which can begin at any of the seven holes on his side.

5. If the last piece distributed 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 distributed) in his own "head". If the opposing hole is empty, no pieces are captured..

6. The other player chooses which hole he wishes to start from, removes the pieces and distributes them - one in each hole to the right of that chosen hole. If a player has no pieces on his side of the board when it is his turn, then he must pass.

7. 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 "head" and see who has won.

This game (with variations) is also played in other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia where it is known as "Congkak."

(Acknowledgment: Internet - ASEAN/Philippines Sungka, on rules of game)

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