How to play Pagade or Pachisi, an ancient [Mahabharata] game

One of the traditional indoor games of India that comes with strategy and a flavor of luck. There are several offshoots of this indoor game. But the standard rules are still prevalent in many parts of India. The link to buy the board is given in the description. Let us watch in detail how to play this game with family and friends.

How to Play Pagade

Pachisi or Pagade has a history from the Mahabharat, where Shakuni, the uncle of Kauravas is the star player because of whom, the Pandavas get defeated. There is a clear mention of this game that dates back to five thousand years. It is said that Shakuni had the power of rolling the dice according to his wish and could get the count that is required for that very game.

Pagade or Pachisi Dice or Dala

The same legacy has been brought forward by our great ancestors, due to which we have not lost the knowledge of playing this game despite the numerous invasions. 

The board or cloth looks like this. Have a look at our recommended board here…

Pagade or Pachisi Mat or Board

A maximum of four players can play the game. The board or cloth is divided into four parts for each player. Each part is a house for each player and the goal of the game is to take the pawns to fruition, which happens to be in the center. 

Two dice with numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 on each dice are used to move one of the four pawns that each player owns. The position of the pawns moves in this path. 

  • Each division is further divided into 3 rows and 8 columns, with 24 squares
  • One move is a pawn moving from one square to its adjacent along the predestined path
  • In the beginning, the formation of the pawns looks like this, two pawns outside together and two inside one below the other
  • Along the path, there are milestones on each division with crosses marked on them
  • These milestones are safe for the pawns, where they can take rest forever without getting killed by the opponent pawns as opposed to the blank squares
  • Each player has to kill the pawns of the other player based on the count of dice and the strategy they follow
  • Once killed, the pawns have to start from the beginning
  • The pawns can move as singles or as couples. The two pawns can move together only when both the dice get the same number
  • The two pawns together can be killed only by their enemy pawns grouped as a couple
  • The first pawn has to enter its way to fruition only after killing one of the enemies pawns
  • The team with all the pawns completing its fruition wins
  • Entering the middle part of the boundary is getting to fruition

Let us now play a quick game of two players for your better understanding.

Playing Pachisi in action
  • Starting from rolling the dice, Team A gets 4+1. four from one dice and one from the other.
  • Team A moves their pawn this way. four places from one pawn and one from the other
  • Team B rolls the dice to get 6 + 6 on their first chance. Wow!
  • They prefer to move the two pawns together. six squares away.
  • Team A now gets 1 from each dice forcing them to move one of their pawns two squares away.
  • Team B again gets 6 + 6, looks like Shakuni is back, moves the pawn from inside, taking it out.
  • Team A gets 3+1, moving one pawn a step further and the other three
  • Team B makes a hattrick in getting 6+6 taking the single pawn to chase the enemies pawn 

This way the first pawn can enter the path of fruition only when it kills one of the enemies’ pawns, getting all the pawns to fruition Team B wins…

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