hist-games: Chaupur/Pachisi

James Masters james.masters at ukonline.co.uk
Sun Feb 4 08:45:17 PST 2001

Hi Sally,

> In modern pachisi two pieces of the same color occupying the same
> space can
> thenceforth move together on a single throw. And two or more
> aligned pieces
> (of a single player or partners) in a single space form a
> blockade which an
> opposing piece cannot pass.

> Also in modern pachisi capture of multiple pieces occupying the
> same space
> must be by an equal number of opposing pieces (which necessitates
> either the
> capturing pieces moving as a block or a single piece being able
> to move on to
> a square occupied by multiple aligned pieces, to be followed by
> another piece
> later accomplishing the multiple capture.

I had thought that the above 2 rules were one of the key features of Chaupur
and were not present in Pachisi, which is generally a game of less
complexity.  Although the distinction between the two games is usually
blurred, of course.  I'm no expert - I got most of this information from the
Oxford History of Board Games. Parlett devotes a larger section to this
subject than most other books and having also scanned Bell etc. for help, I
just ended up getting confused by all the inconsistencies.  Parlett seems
clearer although could it just be that he's more confident (not necessarily
the same thing as correct).

> I'm using Murray, Falkner, Bell, Culin and Grunfeld as my main sources on
> this one, and none of specifically points this change out. Do you
> think I am
> right in asserting that this "safety in numbers" rule is one of the
> distinctions between the older and newer games?

Although I'm no expert, I had gathered that this was the opposite way
around.  The older game, Chaupur, had these agglomeration of pieces rules
but Pachisi does not.  Some modern versions of Pachisi apparently do have
the blockading rule for more than one piece on a square whereas Chaupur does
not.  Although Parlett says that this rule is "dubious".   And so that's
what I've listed in my rules description, at present, anyway.  Let me know
if you think I've got it wrong....



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