Dakon

Dakon is a game from the large group of mancala games that is played in South-East Asia. The game is played on a board with two rows of holes and a store on both sides. The two players sit at either side of the board (South or North). Each player has the own store at the right hand. At the start of the game, all holes (except the stores) are filled with an equal number of counters (which can be stones, seeds or shells). The number of counters in each hole is usually equal to the number of holes at one side. The objective of the game is to collect so many counters in the own store that the opponent cannot move anymore in the next round.

Dakon as it is described by Murray (1952), Deledicq & Popova (1977) and Russ (2000) is known as Sungka in the Philippines, and as Conka/Congka/Congkak in Indonesia where it is also known as Dakon. The game was recently described for the Maldives (de Voogt 1999) where it is known as Ohvalhu.

The winning opening was found by hand in the Maldives. A number of Maldivian women are familiar with this opening and learned the sequence by heart. There are no tournaments of the game in the Maldives and the game is mostly played in-house by women and children and sometimes men. During Ramadhan it is a popular pastime and not infrequently women and men play together.

This research on Dakon is conducted in close coorporation with Dr. A.J. de Voogt.

Jeroen Donkers,