The game is played on a board of two rows, each consisting of six round pits. The rows have a large store at either end called kalah.
A player owns the six pits closest to him and the kalah on his right side.
Beginners may start with 3 stones in each pit, but the game becomes more and more challenging by starting with 4, 5 or up to 6 stones in each pit. Today, 4 stones per pit has become the most common variant, but Champion recommended the expert game with 6.
A player takes all the stones from one of his pits, they are distributed one by one, counterclockwise, in the pits and the players own kalah, but not into the opponent's store.
If the last stone is dropped into an opponent's pit or a non-empty pit of the player, the move ends without anything being captured.
If the last stone falls into the player's kalah, he must move again.
If the last stone is put into an empty pit owned by the player, he captures all contents of the opposite pit together with the capturing piece and puts them in his kalah. If the opposite pit is empty, nothing is captured. A capture ends the move.
The game ends when one player no longer has any stones in any of his holes. The remaining pieces are captured by his adversary. The player who has captured most pieces is declared the winner.