What is the history of Parcheesi? The origin of the game

What is the history of Parcheesi? The origin of the game

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Many of us play or have played one of the most famous board games: the parchis, one of the most popular of the style known as "Cross and Circle"Consisting of a board, a dice and 4 tokens for the same number of players, although there are boards for 6 and 8 people.

Its popularity, along with other similar games such as ludo, parquet or patchesi, is very high, and even today we have the possibility of playing it online, but despite its fame, ¿we know what the history of Parcheesi is?

The History of Parcheesi

In order to know its history, we must rely on another game, the Pachisi, which is either earlier and Parcheesi his descendant, or both arose at the same time in the 4th century, in medieval India.

In both cases, it is a practically identical game.

There is even a third party in contention, chaupar, which could be the original of both, or another contemporary. Historians are still investigating to find the real root, so we are going to talk about all of them in order to have a wider spectrum of information.

The Pachisi

Pachisi is a board game originally from medieval India, which has historically been described as the "official game of the country."

Your name derives from the Hindu word 'paccīs, what does it mean "25”, As this was the highest score that could be obtained when launching the cowrie shells that were used as dice.

It is played in the same way as with Parcheesi, with a board in the shape of a symmetrical cross, where the pieces of a player move around it according to the number that appears in the throw of cowries.

Pachisi has even been played life-size, in courtyards with red and white squares painted on the floor, where different courtiers made of the pieces that had to be moved.

Akbar and the pachisi

There are stories that tell Akbar, the great Mughal ruler from 1556 to 1605, he was an excellent pachisi player, especially in life size.

16 young slaves belonging to his harem, separated in a group with their respective colors, represented the pieces, moving along the board according to the number of the dice, which he rolled the same emperor who was sitting in the center.

The chronicles tell that Akbar liked the game so much on a large scale, which ordered build a giant board in each of your palacesTraces of them still remain in Agra and Allahabad, with painted marble floors.

Till the date, these great boards still represent the earliest sure evidence of the existence of gambling in IndiaAlthough the role it played in its story has yet to be fully investigated.

Some historians believe that pachisi is even present in the classical literary epic of India, the Mahabharata, although the descriptions of the game that are manifested in it they are not related to pachisi, with which these theories are not usually considered valid.

As a curiosity, in the year 1938, the American toy and game company Transogram, launched a version of pachisi for the mass public called 'Game of India', Which was eventually marketed under the name'Pa-Chiz-Si: The Game of India’.

The Chaupar

Chaupar is a board game that predates or is contemporary to pachisi, a fact that historians have not yet been able to confirm.

There is a 6th or 7th century representation of the gods Shivá and Parvati who are playing chaupar, although in it you can only see the dice and not its distinctive board.

Gambling in China

There is Song dynasty document (960–1279) what he does reference to the Chinese game ch’u-p’u, which, according to sources, was invented in western India and spread to China at the time of the Wei dynasty (220-265).

Some historians believe that this game may be related to chaupar, but the very nature of the game is uncertain, although most researchers believe that could be more related to backgammon.

There is another theory, and it is that pachisi is a derivative of a previous game, Ashtapada, but it lacks any basis to be taken into account with certainty.

History of Parcheesi: mobile and online devices

Currently, not only can you play Parcheesi with a board, but we can do it online and even from your mobile phone through an app, together with players or friends from anywhere. If you want to try it, you can download the applications here for Android and to iOS.

Board images: Stock Photos / Shutterstock.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.