Congkak or Congklak is a mancala game of Malay origin played in Malaysia, southern Thailand, and some parts of Sumatra and Borneo. Congkak boards, which are often boat-shaped were commonly made of teak or mahogany wood and were often elaborately carved into various shapes such as the petalawati, a mythical bird, or dragons. It is, however, believed that in its original form, no boards were used for congkak, and the game was played by having holes dug in the ground.
Each board has between 16 to 18 holes carved out in two rows. In the more commonly used 16-hole congkak board, seven holes are designated as “houses” in the “village” (kampong) while the last two larger holes serve as “storehouses” (rumah) located on either end of the block. Variants of the game may have up to nine holes for the village.
The number of counters (seeds) per hole is tied to the total number of houses per village. Thus a board with seven houses per village will begin with seven counters per house. In the past, buah gorek, buah kelichi, cowrie shells and tamarind seeds were commonly used in the game. Rubber seeds, saga seeds and even marbles are used in modern times.