Kalah, also called Kalaha or Mancala, is a game in the mancala family invented in the United States by William Julius Champion, Jr. in 1940. This game is sometimes also called "Kalahari", possibly by false etymology from the Kalahari desert in Namibia.
As the most popular and commercially available variant of mancala in the West, Kalah is also sometimes referred to as Warri or Awari, although those names more properly refer to the game Oware.
For most of its variations, Kalah is a solved game with a first-player win if both players play perfect games. The Pie rule can be used to balance the first-player's advantage.
Mark Rawlings has written a computer program to extensively analyze both the "standard" version of Kalah and the "empty capture" version, which is the primary variant. The analysis was made possible by the creation of the largest endgame databases ever made for Kalah. They include the perfect play result of all 38,902,940,896 positions with 34 or fewer seeds. In 2015, for the first time ever, each of the initial moves for the standard version of Kalah(6,4) and Kalah(6,5) have been quantified: Kalah(6,4) is a proven win by 8 for the first player and Kalah(6,5) is a proven win by 10 for the first player. In addition, Kalah(6,6) with the standard rules has been proven to be at least a win by 4. Further analysis of Kalah(6,6) with the standard rules is ongoing.
For the "empty capture" version, Geoffrey Irving and Jeroen Donkers (2000) proved that Kalah(6,4) is a win by 10 for the first player with perfect play, and Kalah(6,5) is a win by 12 for the first player with perfect play. Anders Carstensen (2011) proved that Kalah(6,6) was a win for the first player. Mark Rawlings (2015) has extended these "empty capture" results by fully quantifying the initial moves for Kalah(6,4), Kalah(6,5), and Kalah(6,6). With searches totaling 106 days and over 55 trillion nodes, he has proven that Kalah(6,6) is a win by 2 for the first player with perfect play. This was a surprising result, given that the "4-seed" and "5-seed" variations are wins by 10 and 12, respectively. Kalah(6,6) is extremely deep and complex when compared to the 4-seed and 5-seed variations, which can now be solved in a fraction of a second and less than a minute, respectively.
Kamisado is an abstract strategy board game for two players that's played on an 8x8 multicoloured board. Each player controls a set of eight octagonal dragon tower pieces. Each player's set of dragon towers contains a tower to match each of the colours that appear on the squares of the board (i.e., a brown tower, a green tower, etc.). One player's towers have gold dragons mounted on the top, while the other player's towers are topped with black dragons.
In an interview, designer Peter Burley said that the design of Kamisado dated back to a chance observation in a men's room in the 1970s. "I noticed that the floor had an interesting pattern of small colored tiles", he said. "I mentally made a note that this could possibly be used as a basis for a board game – this is something that I do quite a lot, whenever I see something a bit different. It must have made a deep impression on this occasion, however, because that night I had a vivid dream involving this tile pattern, and somehow the notion of 'whatever colour you land on, your opponent must move a piece that matches this'. I guess my subconscious mind had been working on this and sorted it out while I was asleep."
The players’ towers start the game on the row nearest to them. The players take turns moving one tower any number of spaces in a straight line, either directly forwards or diagonally forwards, but not into or through a square already containing another dragon tower.
The player with the black dragons moves first and may choose any tower. From this point onwards, each player must move the dragon tower that matches the colour of the square that the opponent's last move finished on. The object of the game is to reach your opponent's Home Row with one of your dragon towers. The first player to achieve this goal is the winner of the round.
Games may be played as single rounds, or as more advanced ‘Match’ formats. Matches are played up to 3 points (Standard Match), 7 points (Long Match) or 15 points (Marathon Match). During a match, each time a round is won, a special ‘Sumo Ring’ is added to the dragon tower that has fought its way through to the opponent's Home Row. The sumo rings provide the scoring system for the game, and also endow special powers to the dragon towers that carry them. These towers are known as Sumo towers and have the ability to push opponent's towers back one space, by using a move known as a ‘Sumo Push’.