Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Parcheesi* But Were Afraid to Ask

"PARCHEESI (Pachisi) (Ludo) (Game Of India) (Pollyanna)"
ELLIOTT AVEDON Elliott Avedon, Virtual Museum of Games, University of Waterloo (March 5, 2010)

"A traditional game from India, Pachisi - (meaning "25" in English) - is thought to be of great antiquity and is played throughout southeastern Asia. In it's original form, it is a game for 4 people on a special board as in the photograph on the left. The traditional "chance" device used in the game were cowrie shells.

"David Parlett (Oxford History of Board Games - p.42) indicates that the original game is 'a relatively skill-demanding partnership game, rather like four-handed Backgammon.' He reminds us that this traditional game should not be confused with it's American counterpart - Parcheesi; or it's European counterpart - Ludo...."

The article's fairly well-illustrated, including a photo of a Pachisi board, a commercial Parcheesi board copyrighted in 1938, and other people and things related to this family of games.

As an introduction to Pachisi/Parcheesi/Ludo and other offspring of the Indian game, it's pretty good. What it doesn't reveal is how the British managed to get "Ludo" out of "Pachisi."
* About this post's title.

To the best of my knowledge, the phrase, "everything you wanted to know about [noun] but were afraid to ask," became popular because of the Woody Allen film, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask" (1972), which was (sort of) the movie version of "Everything you always wanted to know about sex*" by Dr. David Reuben, 1970. In the dialect of that era, groovy.

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