Pagade is the national board game of India. This race game is known by numerous names in different part of the vast country. It is called as Pagade (Kannada), Chaupar (Hindi), Chausar (Hindi), Chopat (Hindi), Pachisi (Hindi), Parcheesi (English - USA), Sokkattan (Tamil), Dayakattam (Tamil), Pagdi Pat (Marathi).
Contents: One game board; 4 sets of pawns (each set contains 4) which are coloured Red, Black, Yellow and Green; two Stick Dice.
The game board has four arms joined at the sides of a central big square which is ‘Home’. Each arm is made up of three rows of eight squares. We shall call the home-arms of Red, Black, Yellow and Green pawns as Red-Arm, Black-Arm, Yellow-Arm and Green-Arm, respectively. Red pawns go around the board starting from and ending at Red-Arm. Similarly other pawns start their journeys on respective ‘home-arms’. Given below (as white arrow line) in Fig.2 is the path of Red pawns.
Pagade is a race game in which two or four players can play. Given here is the rule for four-player game.
The Fig.3 shows the game board from the Red’s point-of-view. Some squares are sequentially numbered from 1 to 75 while others have been blackened. The numbering originates from the home-arm of Red. Squares 1 to 7 are collectively called Red’s Belly. Belly is the private domain of one set of pawns wherein pawns of other sets cannot venture. Blackened squares in the Fig.3 depict Belly of other pawn-sets and hence Red pawns cannot move into those squares. The Red pawns start from its Belly, move from 1 to 75 sequentially and then to 8 and go down the belly to 1 and finally plunging into ‘Home’ as given below.
Similarly other pawns move around the board and come back to their respective home-arm and go down their Belly and into Home. The movement (anti-clockwise direction) is shown as an arrow in Fig.2.
Initially pawns are kept on the board as shown in Fig. 1, i.e., one pawn each are kept on squares 6 & 7 while a pawn-pair is at 12th square.
An element of chance is provided by 2 stick dice. Each stick dice has 1,4,6 and 3 dots on its widest faces. Both dice are rubbed together and rolled onto the floor. The dots on the top-face of both dice depicts how many squares pawn/s can move.
During the roll of dice, say the top of one dice has 3 dots and another has 6 dots. Pawn/s can be moved in two ways.
Case-1: One pawn can be moved 3 squares and another, 6 squares (always sequentially forward)
Case -2: Both numbers are added and only one pawn is moved i.e., in this case, one pawn is moved 9 squares (3+6).
When both dice have same number of dots on the top side, it is called a doublet. A doublet (1,1 or 3,3 or 4,4 or 6,6) can be used either to move two individual pawns or a single pawn or a pawn-pair can be moved together. There is no bonus extra turn for rolling a doublet.
A pawn is cut when an opponent pawn lands in the same square. A cut pawn is removed from the board for the time being. No matter where a pawn was cut, it has to start the race all over again beginning at 1 in its Belly during its immediate next turn. For example, a player’s one pawn is cut and during his next turn, he has to place the cut pawn starting from his Belly as per either or both numbers got from dice.
If two pawns are cut, both have to be placed starting from the Belly, corresponding to the number got from each dice (one pawn for each dice). Until and unless all cut pawns are reintroduced on board, a player cannot move other pawns.
Pawn-Pair: If two pawns of same colour come together on a square, they form a “pawn-pair.” By default all players have a pawn-pair at the beginning of the game. Player can choose to break and separate a pawn-pair at any given time just by moving one or both pawns (to different squares). Any pawn or a pawn-pair can jump over another pawn-pair.
A roll of doublet of dice is required to move a pawn-pair together. Only a pawn-pair can cut another pawn-pair (with the roll of a doublet). A single pawn cannot cut a pawn-pair. Same coloured two pawns on separate squares cannot land together on the square occupied by another pawn-pair. Such cutting is also not allowed.
For example, a Green-pair is on 70 and there are two Red pawns, one on 66 and another on 67. Now if Red rolls 3 & 4 on dice, it might seem that they both are forming a pawn-pair at 70 and hence can cut the Green-pair present there, but they can’t, since a pawn-pair can be cut only by an already formed pawn-pair.
Except the squares in the Belly (1 to 7) no where else can there be more than two pawns on a single square.
For a pawn to enter its Belly on its way to Home, the player should have cut at least one opponent pawn. A pawn that has entered its Belly on the way to Home has to be distinguished from other pawns that are still starting the race. Hence such a Home-ward pawn is turned on its side in the Belly, thus moves deep into the Belly and finally enters Home. Exact number of dot/s on either dice (or both) is required to enter ‘Home’.
There are no safe squares in this game. A pawn is safe only in its Belly i.e., from squares 1 to 7.
There are no bonus turns in this game, not even when a player cuts his opponent’s pawn, not also during a roll of a doublet.
Winner: The first player to get all his 4 pawns into the Home is the winner. Others can keep playing to get 1st runner-up, 2nd runner-up and the loser. In a partnership game, the team that first gets all its 8 pawns into Home is the winner.