Pachisi, the national game of India, dates back to 4 AD and remains popular today. Each player has a set of pawns that start in his or her corner of the board. The goal is to move the pawns around the board to the "home" section. Movement is controlled by dice. All players move around the same board, so they may capture each others pawns. Captured pawns are returned to their player's corner and must start their journey over. The winner is the first player to move all pawns "home".
Parcheesi is the westernized version.
The usual game is for 2-4 players. Jumbo's version handles up to 6.
There is also a Schmidt-Spiele edition with a double-sided board. One side for 4 players, the other for 6.
Juegos de la Antigüedad Parchis boards are up to 8 players.
'Wa-hoo' (or 'Wahoo') is a homegrown variant of the game, popular in Texas and surrounding states since the early 1900s, which features different rules and team play.
Another homegrown variant is to prohibit players to capture each others pawns. But this overprotective variant is not recommended!
"Mensch ärgere Dich nicht" is a very well known German board game, developed by Josef Friedrich Schmidt in 1907/1908.
The game was issued in 1914 and sold about 70 million copies.
It is similar to Parcheesi, but has several considerably different rules. In Mensch ärgere dich nicht
- You only roll with one die, not two. There are therefore no bonuses (which often give you choices in Parcheesi) and penalties for rolling doublets. Instead, you roll the die again if you rolled a 6.
- You start the game with a pawn on your enter space.
- It is much harder to enter a pawn after the beginning of the game. This happens on a 6 (probability 16.67%), whereas the probability in Parcheesi to roll a 5 on one of two dice or with both dice together is considerably higher (41.67%). So it is much less likely that you have more than one movable pawn which would present you with choices when you roll.
- There are no bonuses for capturing opponent's pawns or for reaching home.
- There are no safe places where you can't be captured by an opponent, not even your own enter space.
- You have to move any pawn off your enter space first chance you get unless there are no more pawns in waiting to enter as well. Which also reduces the number of decisions you can make.
- Blockades with two pawns of the same colour on a space aren't possible under the standard rules, they are only an optional variant.
- The board is somewhat different, particularly there is no home path leading up to a home square.
These differences are based on the rule PDFs of the Mensch ärgere dich nicht rules by Schmidt Spiele and the Parcheesi rules by Hasbro (version from 2001).
The game is known as Ludo in Norway, and in England, Australia and New Zealand (from Latin ludo, "I play"), and the publishers, Damm/Egmont have used the same design on the box since the second world war.
The game was published, described or mentioned in the following book(s).
Print-and-play file for pachisi, by Damian Walker. The original Indian game, not dumbed-down Western versions. Designed to be printed on three sheets of A4 or US Letter paper or card. Includes pieces and cowrie dice.
Version 1.0, December 2007, Shane Bartlett (shaneb).
Full rules & beginning strategy for the Wahoo variant my family plays. Offers much more strategy than the commercial variants.
Please let me know how your game goes.
Pachisi, by Damian Walker. Traditional Board Game Series, Leaflet #20 (second edition). Note that this is for the original Indian game, not the dumbed-down Western versions that dominate BGG's Pachisi page.