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PACHISI OR PAGADE ATA OR DAYAM                                                                              Download Video


Played by 4 or 2 players -96 houses -16 pawns – 4 colors of 4 each – yellow, red, green, black - 2 rectangular dice:

1, 3, 4, 6, and 1, 3, 4, 6


Pachisi is the classic and most interesting of all race games, in which two or more players toss the dice to maneuver their pieces to get “home” first. The incredible appreciation of this game is probably due to the fact that the game combines both luck and skill.


The game first appears on a pillar in Mallikarjuna temple at Pattadakal and Jyotirlinga gudi at Aihole. Both are Chalukyan temples and the former belongs to c.695-720 AD. and the later to c.720-740 AD.

Pachisi is played on a cross-shaped board subdivided into houses. General belief is that the name Pachisi is attributed to “25”, the highest possible throw of the dice.

It is surprising that the King of Mysore called this game as “Pagade Kayi Ata”. This game has been named after the “pawn” rather than the number 25 and is always played with two or more stick dice and not played with cowries. The King of Mysore had great passion for this game and had created new types with divergent rules, lay out, and greatly complicated versions.

Each of its arms has three rows of eight squares. The lay out of the board has 96 houses, are playing squares. 8 squares on each arm are distinguished by crosses, which are safe houses for the player in play. There is a large square in the centre, called Mukti Sthalawhich is the starting and finishing position of the pieces.

The game is played by four players, each having four pieces. The game is also played in two groups or individually. The two opposite sides are partners, and they win or lose together. In order to distinguish them better, the yellow and green should play against the red and black. Each enters from the centre, and then goes down the middle of his own arm, and then round the board, returning up the centre of his own arm from where he started. On going up the central square, Mukti Sthala, the pieces are turned over on their side, to show that they have made the circuit. They can only get out by throwing the exact number. The play starts by rolling the dice; these throws count as follows

With 1+1


2 and grace, and play again

With 3+3


6 and grace, and play again

With 4+4


8 and grace, and play again

With 6+6


12 and grace, and play again

With 1+3



With 1+4



With 1+6



With 3+4



With 3+6


9 to start the game

With 4+6




Game play:


The game commences and the pawns are entered by the throw of nine only. All enter the board only with nine. So, likewise, a piece taken up can enter only with nine.


Once a pawn is entered, it may move around the board and the number of spaces that are rolled on dice -- that is, you can break up your roll between two pawns, but the spaces moved must match the numbers on each die.


After all four players’ pawns are entered, if doubles are rolled (same number on both dice) -- a blockade can be made. An additional benefit of rolling doubles is that you get to roll again.


When two pawns of the same color share the same space, this is called a blockade. No other pawns from any player may pass the blockade.


A player can enter his home path, if he has successfully killed atleast one of his opponents pawn.

When a player's pawn lands on a spot where a single opponent's pawn rests (by exact count of a die roll) then the opponent's pawn is captured and sent back to the start to be re-entered. For capturing a pawn, the player may have a bonus chance of play. The same rule applies to the double pawn when doubles are rolled on the dice.


After having moved all the way around the board, pawns enter a path to the center of the board specific to their color. In this home path, they may not be captured. To enter the center of the board (mukti sthala) -- the pawn must arrive by exact count of the dice. The goal is to get all four of your pawns home before any other player.


Tips in short:

§          The player with the highest roll of dies goes first.

§          Ties are broken with another toss.

§          A piece can't leave the starting area until a player throws a nine.

§          When you roll a nine, your pawn is placed in the right corner of the safety square.

§          After the piece is on this space, use other rolls to move it around the board. If you don't want to use one of the die values in a given roll, choose Pass.

§          A piece can be bumped back to its starting area if an enemy piece lands on it. You can't bump a piece that occupies a safety space.

§          Two pieces of the same color, on the same space form a blockade. No pieces can move past the blockade, not even pieces of the same color as the blocking pieces. You may not use a doubles roll to advance a blockade to a new space. No more than two pieces can occupy a space at the same time.

§          When you roll doubles, you are allowed an additional roll.

§           Use the middle row of squares, the home stretch, to go to the final home square when you approach home. You must roll the exact number needed to enter the home square.

§          You have the option of bypassing your home stretch and making an additional circuit around the board. Use this tactic to bump the piece of another player who is in the lead, or on the verge of winning.

§          Pawns can be converted into "super pawns". If two from the same player are placed in the same square, they can move as a single pawn and can only be eaten by another super pawn.


The strategies like

1.       Entering the game only by rolling nine

2.       The rules about re-rolling doubles

3.       Conversion to super pawn

4.      Principle of blockading

§          two pieces of the same color occupying the same space can move together on a single
        throw and two aligned pieces (of a single player or partners)in a single space form a 
        blockade which an opposing piece cannot pass
§          capture of multiple pieces occupying the same space must be by an equal number of 
	opposing pieces (which necessitates either the capturing pieces moving as a block or 
	a single piece being able to move on to a square occupied by multiple aligned pieces,
	to be followed by another 	piece later accomplishing the multiple capture.

The rules and strategies demonstrated in the game make King’s pachisi more adept, absorbing and complex.

To increase the skill and strategy level we introduce you to more variant pachisi games  next month.

Wait and watch.












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