CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game

Mancala Game

In this article I will discuss with you how to make a CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game. The game of Mancala is a two person game. Equipment involved is as simple as holes in the ground with stones to elaborate boards and game pieces. There’s 800 names for traditional Mancala are known, some names denoting the same game.

The word Mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala meaning literally “to move”. This word Mancala is used in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, it’s not consistently applied to any one game. Most Mancala games share a common level of game play. Players begin by placing a determined number of game pieces, in each of the holes on the game board. Turns consists of moving game pieces from their holes and placing one in each of the following holes. Capturing one game piece each time a player goes by their “Home” slot.

Game Rules

I’ve designed you four different CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Games, downloaded here . I will attach a short video below going into greater details of the game rules. I take no credit for this video, I’m not associated with the the individual that produced this video.

CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game

CNC-Fabricated-Game-BoardI’ll walk you through the steps for your own CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game. The game board’s constructed from a piece of reclaimed Pine. I’ve included four game templates, that you can resize for your needs. There are four different Mancala boards to choose from for download. Each game board offering a different design with the same layout.  The CAD software used is Vectric’s Vcarve Pro. The machine used to fabricate our game board is a Camaster Stinger II SR-34.  Two mills are used for the project, materials are listed below.



  • 2 X 6 X 24 Inch Pine or other material
  • 1/2″ 90° 2‐Flute V‐Bit
  • 1/4″ 2‐Flute Spiral Down cut End Mill
  • Clamps, Glue, Nail Gun, Putty
  • Orbital Sander
  • Paint, Felt, Clear Coat, Personalizing are all optional

Step-by-Step- Construction



20161120_085325The CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game is constructed from scrap material. Any material can produce great results, our Shop utilized scrap we had. The Mancala Game Board constructed was a single piece of 2 x 6 x 24 inch pine. I cut the board to the correct dimension on the table saw. Just secure your material to the spoiler board.

Tool Paths

20161120_085437Find materials center by drawing two lines from corner to corner. The programs starting point is the Datum’s X & Y center. Materials cut to correct size, no cut out is required. The only tool path is for a 1/4″ end mill for the fourteen pockets. Pockets are adjusted in size for the game pieces. The game pieces can be small stones to glass beads, dried beans, buttons, ball bearings, marbles. Again, you’re only limited by your imagination.


Sanding, Painting

20161120_090254A light sanding with an orbital sander and 120 grit sanding disk works fine for softwoods. I use putty to fill holes and leave it to dry. Engraving are painted before sanding. This CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game is left natural with no design . The game board is now finished sanded with 180 grit sandpaper.

Sealing & Finishing

20161120_091414The materials utilized are softwood. I use a quality sanding sealer. Sanding sealer keeps porous woods from drinking multiple finish coats later. The choice of the clear coat is entirely up to you . Polyurethane, Lacquer, Varnish, clear spray enamel are only a few. Staining this game board is also an option, with plenty of choices in colors. Keeping our game board simple I used a can of spray Shellac. Felt’s added to the bottom of the game board. It protects surfaces from scratches.

Please enjoy & share the CNC Fabricated Mancala Board Game with others. The Little Little Woodshop is offering up different game boards for download. This is the fourth and final game board,I would really appreciate if any fabricator could donate one. Any children’s charity that could help get a present under a tree is my goal. There are many less fortunate families this year that need help.     Thank You for taking the time to read our article.


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