Parcheesi is a brand-name American adaptation of the Indian cross and circle board game Pachisi, published by Parker Brothers. Created in India perhaps as early as 500 AD, Pachisi is called the Royal Game of India because royalty used servants of the royal household adorned in colored costumes as game pieces on large outdoor boards. Such a court is preserved at the Fatehpur Sikri. The game and its variants are known worldwide. A similar game called Parchís is popular in Spain and northern Morocco. Parqués is its Colombian variant. A version is available in the United Kingdom under the name of Ludo.
Parcheesi is typically played with two dice, four pawns per player and a board with a track around the outside, four corner spaces and four "home paths" leading to a central end space. The most popular Parcheesi boards in America have 68 spaces around the edge of the board, 12 of which are darkened "safe spaces" where a piece cannot be captured. The goal of the game is to move all of one's pawns "home" to the center space.
A player's pieces enter play on the darkened space to the left of the player's "nest", or starting area, and continue counter-clockwise around the board until they reach the home path directly in front of the player.
Each player selects four pieces of the same color and places them on the board in his or her nest. The board should be positioned so that each player's nest is to his or her right.
Each player rolls a die; the highest roller goes first, and subsequent play continues to the left. On his or her turn, a player throws both dice and must use the values shown to move their pieces around the board in one of the following ways:-
- A player may choose one of their pieces which is not in the "nest" and move it forward by the total of the dice rolled.
- A player may move two such pieces, one by the number rolled on one die and the other by the number rolled on the other. (If an amount on one or both of the dice cannot be moved, that amount is forfeited.) (If either of two rolls may be forfeited, the player must forfeit the lower number.)
Pieces which are in the "nest" may be moved to the darkened space to the left of that nest on a "5" (either using a "5" from one of the two rolled dice, or a pair of dice whose value add up to 5).
If a player's piece lands directly on a space occupied by an opponent's piece, and if that is not a "safe space", then the opponent's piece is sent back to its owner's nest. If a player has two pieces resting on the same space, however, they form a "blockade" and neither piece can be captured while it remains there.
If a player rolls doubles, and is able to use both dice, then he or she takes another turn.
Players cannot move their pieces onto opponents' home paths, and the center home space can only be entered by an exact throw of the die or dice. The first player to get all four of his or her pieces to the home space wins the game.
- "Directions for Playing Parcheesi". Parker Brothers Games Ltd. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- 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 quoting M.L. Rousselet: India and its Native Princes, 1876.
- Parcheesi in Tangier Morocco. John Lux. Aug 11th 2014, http://tangierhotels.net/blog/parcheesi-tangier-morocco/