Ashtāpada (Sanskrit: अष्टापद) or Ashtapadi is an Indian board game which predates chess and was mentioned on the list of games that Gautama Buddha would not play. Chaturanga, which could be played on the same board, appeared sometime around the 6th century in India. It[which?] could be played by two to four participants.
The word Ashtāpada is a Sanskrit term describing the eight-by-eight board that the game is played on. This meaning was first recorded by Patanjali in a Mahābhāshya book written in the 2nd century. The game came to be ordered to work Brahmin Sutrakrilānga.[clarification needed]
Like a chess board, the Ashtāpada board is divided into an eight-by-eight grid of squares, although they are all the same color. The board has special markings known as "castles", where pieces are safe from being captured or removed from play when mating with an opponent.
Each player receives an even number of pieces to play the game. The goal is to move a piece around the board clockwise, entering the castle, and to regain his castle back in a counterclockwise direction so as to make it reach the center.[clarification needed]
A variant played on a larger ten-by-ten board is known as Daśapada (Sanskrit: दशपद).
A variant played on smaller five-by-five board is known as Chomal Ishto or Chomal Eshto in Gujarat. Each player has four pieces to play and retrieve after reaching the center. The game is generally played with cowrie shells instead of dice to determine the progress of game.
In China, the rules of traditional board game 雞婆棋 is similar to Ashtapada.