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Parcheesi  gameboard

Parcheesi is a brand name American adaptation of the Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi. Created in India perhaps as early as 500 AD, the board game is subtitled Royal Game of India because royalty played by using servants of the royal household adorned in colored-costumes as pieces on large outdoor boards.[1] Such a court is preserved at Fatehpur Sikri. The game and its variants are known worldwide; for example, a similar game called Parchís is especially popular in Spain, and Parqués is a Colombian variant. A version is available in the United Kingdom under the name of Ludo.

Rules of play[]

Parcheesi is played with one or two dice and the goal of the game is to move each of one's pieces home to the center space. The most popular Parcheesi boards in America have 68 spaces around the edge of the board, twelve of which are darkened safe spaces where a piece cannot be captured.

Each player selects four pieces of the same color and places them in their "nest," or starting area. The board game should be positioned so that each player's nest is to his right. Pieces enter play onto the darkened space to the left of the nest and continue counter-clockwise around the board to the home path directly in front of the player.

Each player rolls a die; the highest roller goes first, and subsequent play continues to the left. On each turn, players throw one or both dice and use the values shown to move their pieces around the board. If an amount on one or both of the dice cannot be moved, that amount is forfeited.

Any time a player rolls, he must use as much of the dice showing as possible. (E.g., if a player rolls 4 and 5 and could move either 4 or 5, but not both, then he must move 5.)

Entering a pawn[]

Five has a special value in entering pieces out of the nest from where they begin the game. A player may enter a piece only by throwing a five or a total sum of five on the dice. Each time a five is tossed, the player must start another piece, if viable.


Any piece that is not on a safe space or a part of a blockade can be captured by an opposing pawn. A player is awarded 20 bonus spaces for capturing an opposing piece. The 20 spaces may not be divided between pieces and must be moved, if possible. At no time can you go by the corners and not count the spaces. The captured pawn is returned to the opposing player's nest.

Team Rules: If opposing team has two pawns on player's entering area, the player can not enter.


When two pieces occupy the same space, they prevent any pieces behind the two from advancing past the blockade. This includes blocking pieces from leaving their nest. Two pieces that form a blockade may not be moved forward together to form a new blockade on the same roll.

Safe spaces[]

The dark spaces in which there are a small circle are safe spaces. A piece may not be captured as long as it sits on one of these spaces. The only exception is if a piece sits on the safe space where another player enters the board from his nest. Those spaces are safe from all other players, but the piece can be taken if the player whose nest it is has a piece in his nest and rolls a 5 (as long as it isn't a blockade).

Two pieces that form a blockade are also safe.


(Two dice version) When a double (doubles) is tossed before all four pawns have been entered, the player takes his turn as usual and gains another roll of the dice. In addition they can split the roll between two pawns.

When a double is tossed after all four pawns are entered, values on the reverse side of the dice are also used. For example, a player who rolls 6-6 can also move 1-1 in any combination. Therefore, when a double is tossed, the player has a total of fourteen spaces to move one or more pawns. If the player cannot move the entire number of spaces he cannot move any spaces, but still gets to roll again.

The third consecutive doublet rolled in one turn is a penalty, and no pawns are moved forward. A player with a three doublet penalty also removes his or her pawn closest to home back to their nest, and his or her turn ends. Pawns can be moved off of the home path in this case, but not off of the home square.

The player cannot split doubles in order to enter home. This means that a player can only enter home by rolling doubles if the person is exactly 14 spaces from home.


The center home space can only be entered by exact throw of the die or dice. When a pawn enters the center space by exact count, that player is awarded ten movement points that may be moved with any one pawn still in play at the end of their turn. If the entire bonus movement amount cannot be used by one pawn, it is forfeit.

Each player has their own home path and may not enter another's. So, when a piece is on its home path, it can no longer be captured by an opponent. A player's pieces in the home path can still be moved to reach the home path, in case the roll is not exact to enter Home. Pieces can still be removed from the home path as a result of the penalty for rolling three consecutive doublets.

Winning the game[]

The first player to get all four pieces home wins.


  1. Falkener, Edward (1892), Games Ancient and Oriental and How to Play Them (rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1961 ed.), London: Longmans, Green and Company, pp. 257–58<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> quoting M.L. Rousselet: India and its Native Princes, 1876.

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