A game for the ages. Who knows when it came about, how long it's been around, or who invented it. This is a great game with many different options for play. We have all learned different ways.
If you want to play this game at home, save a one dozen egg carton to make your game. This works best if the lid of the carton is solid. Cut or tear off the top of the carton and cut it in half. Tape the top halves of the carton to the outer edges of the bottom of the carton, skinny side to skinny side. so there are two large areas, one on each end. You need 48 stones, buttons, or some other form of tokens. Four tokens per 12 slots in the egg carton will allow you to begin play.
To begin a simple version of the game, place the game board in between the two opponents. One player chooses one slot to take all the tokens from and, going clockwise around the board, place a single token in each slot (including the one to the player's right, but not the player's left!). If the last token from the original slot lands in the large slot at the end (also known as your mancala) you get another turn. The tokens in the mancala can never be taken out again. Once all the tokens are in the mancalas the game is over. The winner is the one with the most tokens in their mancala.
For more information on the history and other ways to play the game check out the folowing websites.