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Alternate Activity 3: Parcheesi (15 minutes), Session 14: Love Builds Trust

In "Love Will Guide Us," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Several sets of the board game Parcheesi (two to four players to a set)

Preparation for Activity

  • Borrow, purchase, or make Parcheesi boards. Trevor Mendham's Galapemy website explains the game's history, board design, and rules.
  • Familiarize yourself with the game.
  • Set up the game boards—if possible, one per work table and plan how you will form groups of players.

Description of Activity

The national game of India is Parchisi, known as Parcheesi to Americans. Known as Pachisi, Parchisi, Parchesi, and Twenty-Five, it is a descendent of the older game of Chaupar.

Arrange two to four children around each game board. Explain the game:

Parcheesi is a race between two, three, or four players moving pawn pieces around a board. Each player starts from their home base and races the others to a shared center.

Each player has four matching pawns. The game starts with each player's pawns in their home circle.

Players roll two die when it is their turn and move their pawns by following these guidelines:

  • A player must roll a five to leave the home circle and begin moving around the board. The five may be on one die or a combined total from both die (e.g., a one and a four). If a player rolls a five on one die and a three on the other, they can move one pawn out, then move it again three spaces in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • Once pawns are in play, players take turns rolling to move strategically around the board. Players are not limited to moving just one pawn. They can move two, using numbers on individual dice.For example, if a roll shows a six on one die and a two on the other, one pawn can move eight spaces, or alternatively move six while another pawn moves two spaces. These rules change when a player rolls doubles. Doubles allow the player to roll again after taking the doubles turn. And, if the player has no pawns left in their home circle, they may move their pawns the numbers on the bottom of both die, as well as the numbers showing on the top. If a player rolls doubles three times in a row, they must move their pawn closest to the finish line back to their home circle.
  • If a player lands a pawn on a space occupied by another player's pawn, the player whose turn it is gets to keep their pawn on the space. The pawn that was on the space first must move back to its home circle and start over.
  • After a pawn has completed the counter-clockwise circle, it moves toward the center. An exact count is required to enter the center. The first player to move all their pawns into the center is the winner.

Invite the children to begin playing.

With a few minutes left, ask children to finish their games and help gather the pieces and put away the Parcheesi sets. Re-gather the group and process with these questions:

  • Did you learn anything new about the people you were playing with?
  • Did you need to help someone? Did someone need to help you?
  • Why do we play games together?
  • What other games (not necessarily board games) have you played or heard about that come from a different country? (Soccer (known internationally as "football") is one example.)

Including All Participants

Most children this age will be understand the game's rules and goal, even if they have never seen it before, while some may quickly grasp the strategic opportunities. As with any game of competition, the excitement level can accelerate quickly. Have an adult "coach" at each table. Be aware of children who cannot tolerate loud noise or overstimulation.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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