The Cross and Circle game family
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The Cross and Circle game family

The Cross and Circle board games are a family of games that include a similar board on which the games are played, featuring a circle divided into four equal quarters with a cross. The objective of these games is to move their tokens all throughout the circle, around the board to the destination in centre of the board. The oldest known Cross and Circle board game was the Indian game of Pachisi, created in the first millennium BC. Different cultures around the world have their own cross and circle board game, such as the Nyout from Korea, Pancha Keliya from Sri Lanka, Patolli, played by the ancient Aztecs, and Edris To Jin from Syria, to name a few.

Pachisi, marketed as Parcheesi in North America, is a game played on a symmetrical cross-shaped board. The name of the game comes from the Hindi word pachis, which means twenty-five, or the maximum score that a player can score in the game. The game is for four players, usually in two teams. Yellow and black pieces belong to one team, while the other team has red and green pieces. The object of the game is to move the pieces to the finish first. Six Cowrie shells are used instead of dice in this game, which are thrown to move the pieces forward, for each shell that falls upwards one place can be moved forward. The four individual tokens that a player has should be moved counter clockwise around the board ones, which then finish on the Charkoni. The order in which the game will be played is decided by the cowrie shell throw, the player with the highest score starts.

One of the most popular board games around the world belonging to the cross and circle family of games is Ludo. The game of Ludo is really simple, with four players vying for a fastest finish to the ‘home’, at the center of the board. Each player has a different colored token which are placed in the corresponding colored sections of the board. The game begins with players throwing the dice in turns. The players who throw a 6 can start moving their tokens one by one off their starting positions. Tokens cannot be moved unless a 6 is thrown, and the subsequent moves will be dictated by the number thrown on the die. For example if a player throws 4, the token can be moved through four squares. Each player has to move their tokens around the board once mapping the perimeter of the board clockwise, before moving the tokens up to the home square, through the colored path. The player who manages to get all of their tokens into the home squares wins. The different colored regions of the board and the tokens are usually in the colors of green, red, yellow and blue. There are several complications in the game such as when the different players’ pieces crowd up the board, causing a ‘traffic jam’ of sorts. The rules may also be altered to provide more interesting elements.
May 6, 2008, 9:34 am

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