How To Play Parcheesi: Parcheesi Rules


Parcheesi is a board game that is played similarly to the popular Ludo game but the rules are different. The game is fun and can be played by 2 to 4 players. The players move their pawns around on the board to win the game. The first player to successfully move all their four pawns from their “Start” circle to the centre of the board is declared the winner.


Be the first to move all your four pawns from your “Start” circle to the centre “Home” square.

Parcheesi Rules

A pawn must be “Entered” with a die roll of five (5) before it can begin to move on the board. The five-number could be from a single die or the sum of the numbers on both die (4 + 1, 2 + 3).

You must “Enter” a pawn on a dice roll of five if you have any pawn(s) in your “Start” circle. “Entering” a pawn if you can is prioritized over moving another pawn if you roll a five.

Rolling doublets (double number) allows you to roll a second time. You are allowed to roll doublets just twice in a row. A third doublet roll attracts a penalty.

You will find more rules explained under How to Play Parcheesi.

Number of Players Needed

2 to 4 players


Parcheesi Gameboard

16 Pawns (4 sets of 4 colours)

2 Dice

Setting Up

First, the players decide the order of play by rolling dice. The player with the highest number goes first and the others take their turns after him or her in a clockwise fashion depending on their number from the dice roll.

Each player then selects a set of pawns of the same colour (4 each) and places them in their “Start” circle. There are four “Start” circles, one for each pawn set.

How to Play Parcheesi

The game is played by moving pawns around on the board. A pawn must first be “Entered” on the board before it can begin to move. To “Ënter” a pawn is to take it from your “Start” circle and place it on the safe space directly to the left of your “Start” circle. This particular safe space is your starting point and you must “Ënter” your pawns there. A pawn can only be “Entered” on a dice roll of five (5). The five-number could be from a single die or the arithmetic sum of the numbers on both die (1 + 4, 2 + 3).

If a player rolls double five, they are allowed to place two pawns. Whenever you roll a five, you must “Ënter” a pawn if you still have any pawn(s) left in your “Start” circle until all 4 pawns are out. Once a pawn has been placed in the starting point (Entered), it can be moved around on the board in an anticlockwise direction.

A pawn is moved a corresponding number of spaces on the board to the number a player gets from their dice roll. The numbers may be used to move a single pawn or may be used to move two pawns. For example, if a player rolls 6 + 3, this can be counted on the board in two ways. A single pawn can be moved 6 + 3 spaces on the board which is one way of counting. Another is to move a pawn 6 spaces and then move a second pawn 3 spaces.

Note that the number on a single die cannot be split to move two pawns. You must count the number on each die fully. In the example cited above, the 6 must be counted fully with a pawn and the 3 can be counted with the same pawn or a different pawn. The 6 cannot be used to move two pawns by moving one pawn say four spaces and a second pawn two spaces.

A player must always move their pawn(s) whenever it is possible to do so. If movement based on the numbers from both die is impossible, try to move one pawn with the number on just one of the dice. If this is not possible too then the player’s turn ends.

If a player rolls a matching pair of numbers such as 3 + 3, this is known as doublets and presents the player with some possibilities. If the player hasn’t “Entered” all their pawns (4 of them) before rolling a doublet, then the player is only allowed a second roll on that turn.

In the case of a player that has “Entered” all 4 of their pawns before rolling a doublet, then there is a nice bonus in addition to getting a second roll on that turn. This player is allowed to use the two numbers at the top of the dice (the double numbers) and also the two numbers at the bottom of the dice to move their pawns on the board. The top and bottom numbers always add up to 14.

If for example, a player rolls a doublet of four (4 + 4), the player can move with the 4’s at the top of the dice and also the 3’s at the bottom of the dice. This player may choose to split the moves between up to 4 pawns. If they choose to split between all 4 pawns, the first pawn moves 4 spaces, a second pawn can move 3 spaces, the third another 4 spaces, and the last pawn 3 spaces. The catch is that if a player cannot complete all four counts on the board, they must not move at all but they still get to roll a second time.

A player can only roll a doublet twice in a row. Rolling doublet three times in a row attracts a penalty on the third roll. On the third consecutive roll of a doublet, a player must not move their pawns at all. Instead, they must return their pawn closest to “Home” to their “Start” circle, and their turn ends. The returned pawn must be “Re-entered” later for it to start moving on the board again.

Landing on an opponent’s pawn is known as capturing and the captured pawn must be returned to its “Start” circle. A captured pawn must be “Re-entered before it can begin to move on the board again. Capturing an opponent’s pawn comes with a bonus. You can move any of your pawns an additional 20 spaces on the board at the end of your turn.  If none of your pawns can be moved 20 spaces, then you forfeit the bonus. Note that pawns can be captured anywhere on the board except on their “Home” path spaces and on most “Safety” spaces.

“Safety” spaces are safe havens for pawns. A pawn in a cannot be captured. This is because two pawns of different colours cannot share a “Safety” space. The only exceptions to this are the “Safety” spaces where pawns are “Ëntered”. You can capture an opponent’s pawn in this “Safety” space by “Entering” your pawn.

Another move on the board is the blockade. A blockade is formed when two pawns of the same colour occupy the same space. Once a blockade is formed, no pawn can land on it or jump over it. This includes pawns of the same colour as the two forming the blockade as no more than two pawns of the same colour can share a space. If you have a blockade on the “Safety” space where you “Enter” pawns, then you must break it before you can “Enter” another pawn. A blockade must be broken up if the player that owns it cannot move any other pawns.

The objective of the game is to get each pawn “Home” and the first player to get all their 4 pawns “Home” wins. To get a pawn “Home”, move the pawn into the “Home” path and then into the “Home” square at the centre of the board where its journey terminates.

Once a pawn is on the “Home” path, it can only move into the “Home” square by the exact die roll. This means that if a pawn is on the “Home” path and is three spaces away from the “Home” square, you need to roll a three to get it “Home”. If you roll numbers lesser or greater than three, the pawn cannot be moved.

As a bonus play, once any of your pawns make it “Home”, you are allowed to move one other pawn by 10 spaces on the board to end your turn. If you are unable to move one pawn 10 full spaces on the board then you lose this bonus.

Winning the Game

The first player to move all their 4 pawns from their “Start” circle to “Home” wins the game.