Parcheesi: Aristocratic gambit or children's game?
by Staff
The history, math and strategy behind the board game Parcheesi -- often thought of as a children's passtime in the West -- have earned it royal renown for centuries. Test your knowledge of this perennially popular game with our Parcheesi quiz.

Parcheesi is a member of a group of games named for the shape of their boards. What are these types of games called?

  • racetrack games
  • maze-shaped games
  • cross-and-circle games

Which country has adopted Parcheesi as its official game?

  • Sri Lanka
  • India
  • Tibet

How many players can play Parcheesi?

  • between one and four
  • between two and four
  • only two

Modern Parcheesi sets use the familiar black-pipped white dice. What objects did traditional sets use instead?

  • shells or carved wood
  • small carved stones
  • dried berries

Each player is assigned a home row -- one arm of the cross-shaped figure -- in addition to a home circle. How is this assignment given?

  • The player who rolls the highest number gets to choose her home row.
  • Players are assigned home rows that match the color of their pawns.
  • Players physically race to the board and are assigned rows based on how quickly they get there.

Players pieces don't start directly on the board in Parcheesi. What do they need to do to move a piece onto the board?

  • roll a higher number than the opponent to the left
  • roll doubles
  • roll a five on at least one die

When do historians believe Parcheesi's ancestor, Pachisi, was first played?

  • around the 17th century A.D.
  • around 300 B.C.
  • around the 4th century A.D.

What older and more complicated game was Pachisi based on?

  • Chauapar
  • Patchouli
  • Pachis

How did one Indian emperor take advantage of his aristocratic status while playing Chaupar?

  • He used expensive bottles of alcohol in place of the traditional wooden pawns.
  • He paid off his opponents to always let him win.
  • He played a life-sized game of with fellow aristocrats, using beautiful women from his harem as the pawns.

In which of India's famous epics does Chaupar play a role?

  • the Ramayana
  • the Mahabharata
  • both a and b

Where does the name Pachisi come from?

  • The Hindi word for 25 is "pachis," which was an important number in an early version of the game.
  • In China, the game was thought to center a person's chi, or life-force.
  • Early rules called for players to yell out the nonsense word "pachisi" when a pawn entered the finishing circle.

Pachisi didn't just stay in India. Where did it travel first?

  • England and Europe
  • China
  • Africa

The English derivation of Parcheesi is called Ludo. Where did that name come from?

  • the Indian word for "shell game"
  • the Latin translation of "I play"
  • a French phrase meaning "roll the dice"

Parcheesi was the most popular game in America until 1935. Which board game giant outsold it?

  • Scrabble
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Monopoly

Parcheesi can also be used as an educational tool. What is one major skill that the game can be used to teach?

  • math (probability)
  • science (chemistry)
  • spelling (Parcheesi is a tricky one!)

Pachisi made it across the ocean to America in the 1890s. What significant change occurred upon that migration?

  • It was played every night before dinner in the McKinley White House.
  • It was sold as a companion product to Swiss cheese.
  • It was renamed from Pachisi to Parcheesi.

Parcheesi became immensely popular when it traveled to America, so it's not too surprising that the rights were snapped up by a few different entities in succession. As a result, any imitators had to be creative when naming their versions of the game. Which of these has been used as a name for the game?

  • The Near East
  • Not-Parcheesi
  • The Game of India

Parcheesi and Pachisi are similar in many ways, but there's one major difference in how play occurs. What is it?

  • Pachisi imposes a time limit for each move.
  • Parcheesi is played with individual players, while Pachisi is played in teams.
  • Parcheesi allows players to choose whether to move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

Parcheesi is the basis for several popular American games. Which of these is one of them?

  • Mousetrap
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Sorry!

Many variations of Pachisi weave a theme into the game. Where do historians believe this practice began?

  • Germany
  • France
  • England