Parcheesi

Parcheesi, like Ludo, is a simple race game adapted from the Indian game Pachisi. Parcheesi was invented in the mid 19th century in the US and originally called Patchesi. It was a great commercial success and you can still buy commercial parcheesi sets today.

How to Play Parcheesi

The rules of Parcheesi are simple and it is a good family game for two or four players. It can also be played with three but is arguably unbalanced by the asymmetric seating positions.

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Each player is represented by a colour and has four pieces of that colour that initially start in their home circle (sometimes called "base" or "nest"). The objective of the game is to be the first to move all four of your pieces completely around the board and onto the central home point. There are 68 squares inthe outer ring of which 12 are specially marked as "safe".

Each player in turn rolls two dice. Piece can only be move out of the home base if either a five is thrown or the two dice total five. In this case the player must move one piece out of the home base if possible (a double five allows the moving out of two pieces). If there are no pieces in the home base or a five is not thrown, the player makes a normal move if possible or loses their turn.

On a normal move, the player moves one or two pieces anti-clockwise around the board according to the values on the dice. The dice can be used for separate pieces or one piece can move twice.

A double gives an extra turn. In addition, if all four pieces have left the home base when the double is thrown a special bonus is given: the player may also use the numbers on the bottom of the dice. Since the opposite sides of a standard die always add up to 7, a double thus results in a total movement of 14 squares.

If a piece lands on the same square as a piece of another colour then that piece is captured and returned to its home base. There are two exceptions to this: safe squares and blockades. On "safe" squares a piece cannot be captured and two pieces of different colours can peacefully coexist. In addition, if two pieces of the same colour are on a square then they form a "blockade" and no piece can land on or move over that square. That also applies to pieces of the same colour as the blockade.

There are a couple of special rules usually applied to blockades. One says that if a double is thrown then a player can not use it to move both pieces of a blockade - this prevents just shifting the blockade en masse. Another rule says that if a player can only move by passing through a blockade then they are allowed to do so.

Once a piece has travelled all the way around the board it enters its Home Straight. Since no other player's pieces can enter here, the piece is now safe from capture. From the Home Straight the piece can only reach the central home square by an exact score at which point the player gets an extra ten movement points for any one of the pawns they still have on the board. (Another version of the rules says that an exact roll is not needed to take a piece "home" but that the extra 10 points are only awarded if it is achieved by exact count).