Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Play Pagade

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.


lost in transition.....!!! said...

I am from Andhra Pradesh and the ongoing political unrest in my state led to an extended vacation of my grandparents at my place. the winter afternoons have surprisingly been never boring with the endless games of our 'kavade' aata. However, when we decided to raise the bar a level higher and play the pagade aata, there was a jumble of rules of instructions from Amma, 'Ajji' and 'Tatha' . Thanks to your site, I took a copy of the rules for the game which we will be playing tomorrow. I get nostalgic when I see that all our games haven't got lost in the pages of history alone. And I admire your genuine effort to contribute to preserving the same. I grew up on games like kavade aata and 'satta' (seven stones) unlike the nintendos and playstations of today's youth. And I can only say that they don't know what all they are missing. Thank you! keep posting.
-Soumya Murthy.

Rooprang said...

Super! I am so glad that you have put together the rules of the game which had begun to blur in my the correct rules can be passed down to my daughter...

nalini.kottolli said...

U shouls have a cross on the 3rd house of the board from the start, which is called Ghatta. If u r on that no one can cut your pan. I used to play Pagade in Madikeri when I was in school. Later as it was in joint family I dont know what happenned to the dice & board. I miss it so much
Recently I got the playing dice, I have to stitch the board,so that I can lure my grand daughter to play

vinay said...


My mother use to play it with her friends. Now it has become unusable. Is it available for buying anywhere in bangalore. This could be a good gift I can give to her. Please share info to if anyone knows about the place of selling.


Vinay said...

Hi Nalini,
Wanted to clarify the rules, so if the pan is in "Ghatta", it can't be take out? My mother did not teach me like this , that is the reason i want to know which rule is the right one. Currently i do not consider ghatta as a safe zone.

Vinay said...

Hi Nalini,
Just want to clarify the rules. So you are saying that "Ghatta" is a safe zone? Currently we do not consider it as a safe zone when we play. But i want to make sure we are playing it the right way


Raghu Dharmendra said...

@ Soumya Murthy: I am glad that the blog helped you go back in time.

@ Rooprang: This is not the final word on the rule of this game. There are lot of variants in rules. I have given here the one I know.

@ Nalini Kottolli: There are lot of variants in rules and even the board changes according to the game. I have given here the one I know. We play this game without Gatta. I request you to give your version of the rule and I will be glad to post it here as another variation.

@ Vinay: You can buy board games in 'Kavade' at Sheshadripuram Main Road and 'Kamalini' on Malleswaram 17th cross in Bangalore. Also the common vaersion of this pagade game in Mysore and Bangalore involves no-safe square. So, do not worry.

Hetal Vadanlal Doctor said...

where to buy the set from

Padmashree.K.S said...

Hi, My Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt's and my Mother-in-law are all playing this game. I like this game very much.

ShyamPrasad V Atri said...

If i am not wrong pagade dice contains (1,6) and (3,4) in opposite ends of the dice
So considering all combinations we cant cast 1,3,11 in the game
Is there any solution to this??

Vivek said...

This was one of the favorites games from childhood. Enjoy playing this.
Thanks for you guys promoting these games

We bought the board from a local store in channapatna. All the channapatna wooden handicraft toy stores sell it.

zephyr said...

There are some specialities of the dice i.e. you can never get 11 as there is no combination of 6 and 5 in a dice. It is also a 4 sided die only.

There was a special dice which had a 5 but that can be seen probably in Mysore palace.

Saurabh Sinha said...

Good Work Guys !!

alex said...

Do you know unusual Pachisi variant Kori Khel কড়ি খেল)from Assam? See the image of the board here:
I can not find the rules of it.

Malanada siri said...

PAGADE game is also known as "Patoli" among native Indians called AZTEC community in South America, the present mexico.It's very surprising that there are quite a lot of kannada words in south american spanish langauge.

Darling Ramos said...

If somone passes their "home entrance" do they have to go around the board again?

Tim said...

I was led to believe that cowry shells were often used instead of the stick dice. If that is true you might perhaps add a paragraph to explain their use.

Naresh Kumar said...

I love to play this game,,every sunday we play this game ,,here we play with 6cowrie n hv safe squares .
I also love to play chopat game with 2 dice ,,there is another variant of chopat game with 3 dice ,i also use to play both games,in chopat game with two dice ,if team players (red n black)land on a square then that pair is known as Fake pair(red+black),that pair cnt move but can b cut by yellow or green pair pawn.,u can avoid this situation by seperating fake pair as soon as possible,i hv made many rules to play ,,soon will b shown here,,thxxx raghu dear for giving splendid rules .

Naresh Kumar said...

@Darling Ramos,,,yes dear the pawn will move ahead again n will go around .
@Tim,,,u may see chopat game ,wikipeadia,,for cowrie rules ,,i hv explained there n add some text.
@zephyr ,,in north india ,the same dice with 1 2 5 6 is used.
Good luck ,any question ,u may ask here ,,i shall try to solve ,,

Naresh Kumar said...

Hello Sir
its very good to play.It really enhances the maths skill ..strategy planning skill...mgt skill..excitement..overall very nyc game ...thxxx for providing diff. Rules..
I would like to add 2 rules
1..if 2 players r playing
Then yellow + green will play against
Red + black ...each carrying 8 pawns
2...You can not land ur yellow pawn with green pawn on any square.
3..if ur green and yellow ...2 pawns cut by opposite then it depend on yellow green player which pawn he will reenter either yellow or green ...