Parcheesi Rules

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Parcheesi rules are simple and easy to learn. The classic game is a family favorite suitable for kids and adults ages 6 and up.

About Parcheesi

Parcheesi is considered the national game of India. The game is also spelled with the following spelling variations: Pachisi, Parchisi, and Parchesi. It is speculated that the game began in 4th century AD. Parcheesi is known as a "cross and circle" game, with many different versions around the world. The traditional board was made of cloth with 6 small shells that were used to determine the number of spaces moved on a given turn. The official "Americanized" version began in 1867 and was created by John Hamilton who claimed copyright to the game that year. However, it was not until 1870, when the rights to the game were transferred to the Chow and Righter Company, that Parcheesi became a big hit with consumers for several decades. Today, the game is produced by Parker Bros.

Parcheesi Rules Are Simple

 Parcheesi board

The concept of Parcheesi is simple. It is basically a race between 2 to 4 players who need to move all of their pawn pieces around the board and finish at its center. Here are the basic Parcheesi rules:

  • Each player has 4 pawns. The game starts with each player's pawns in their home circle.

During each player's turn, two dice are rolled and the pawns are moved and played by following these guidelines:

  • You need a 5 to move one of your pawns to the starting point of the main board. This can be a 5 on one of the dice, or a combination of the two dice together. For example, if you have a 5 on one dice and a 3 on the other, you can move one pawn out, then move it again three spaces in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Once your pawn(s) have been put into play, each dice roll can be used to move pawns strategically around the board. You are not limited to moving just one pawn. You can move two of them with the number that appears on each individual dice. As an example, if you roll a 6 on one dice and 2 on the other, one pawn can be moved a total of 8 spaces, or 6 with another pawn moving 2 spaces.
  • The rules change slightly if you roll doubles. The number moved is determined by the top of the dice that is showing, as well as the number at the bottom the dice. If you roll double 1's, you can move 2 pieces one space, and 2 pieces 6 spaces (or you can just move one piece the 14 spaces). A double roll also allows you to roll again. If you roll doubles a second time, the rule above applies. If doubles are rolled 3 times in a row, they have to move the pawn that is closest to the finish line back to their home circle.
  • After a pawn has completed its journey around the board, it is moved towards the center by its home row (which is the one that matches your pawns).
  • The pawns can only get to the center through the middle row by an exact count. In other words, a single dice or a combination of the two dice must equal the number of spaces needed to get into the center.
  • After a pawn reaches the center, you receive a 10-point bonus. Think of this as an extra dice roll and move another one of your pawn pieces ten spaces.

If you have following all the Parcheesi rules and moved all of your pawns to the center of the board, you win!! Congratulations!!

Parcheesi Strategy Tips

Here are some helpful hints and tips to win Parcheesi:

  • Blockades are an effective strategy to hinder the progress of an opponent. Two pawns of the same color can occupy the same space. If done at right time, your opponent(s) will not be able to pass until one of your pieces moves out of that spot. However, be cautious since you cannot move any of your other pawns beyond your blockade either.
  • A "bop" is another way to delay your competition from winning. If you roll the dice and get a number(s) that can land you exactly on a spot that an opponent is residing, you can knock them off and send them back to the starting point where they entered the game. However, the opponent can move another one of their pieces up to 20 spaces.
  • "Safety" spaces (purple) prevent opponents from "bopping" you out. The only exception to this rule is when a pawn has just moved out of the home circle and into initial play.

By Sheila Robinson

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Parcheesi Rules