I had gone home a few weeks back, and that Sunday was the best thing that happened then. The first half of the day was spent with my uncle, aunt & cousins visiting our native villages while the second was spent in a game of dice. My 8-yr old cousin, Meera is so good at it that she almost won all of us - me, mom & the sister-dad duo!

The game of dice is an ancient one, but am not sure if it's of Indian origin, since there are many varities, including the famous Monopoly, Ludo and Snakes-&-Ladders. The Indian epic Mahabharata, to my knowledge, has 2 occasions where this game is played between
  1. Yudhishtira against Dhuryodhana-Shakuni
  2. Nala against Pushkara. *very interesting stories behind these*
The dice is generally not a pair of cubes, but more cylindrical where the 4 sides would be 1,2,3 & blank *no, it's not 0*, the combinations thus giving rise to 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 12. A blank on the both represents a 12. The ones we have are a part of our ancestral property, and is made of bronze, which makes a nice clang when rolled on.

| X
X | X X
``` ``` ``` ``` ```
X X ???
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ $$$
X X | X
X |

Dhaayam / Dhaaya-kattai we call it

The rules
  • 4 players, each with 6 coins
  • For the first time, only a 1 can bring a coin out.
  • A 1 followed by a 5 can bring all the coins out - Optional.
  • A player's coin landing on a square with another's coin(s) is said to kill that(those), thus earning another turn.
  • The numbers 1,5,6 & 12 earn another turn.
  • The squares marked with an 'X' are safe-zones where a player's coin can't be killed.
  • Everything's clockwise, and a player has to enter via the yellow squares, cover the whole board through the white ones, and on reaching one's own side, should proceed vertically along the green path. The last point + 1 makes a coin win, but if the last point is reached, one can win it only by getting a 1, and meanwhile another opponent reaching his last point, can cut this.
  • And as it always is, the first one to win all his coins is the winner, and the last one, the loser!

Initially, it was just my sister, but since she had to quit mid-way, my dad took over. And he's so fast that for a combination of 5+6+6+12+1+5+12+2 the coins would be moved in seconds. Seriously, when compared with my dad, I'd fail at math! And he assists everybody in the game, and make the game move super-fast. The worst part was, had he not helped others, I'd've finished faster! :|

Anyway, after my strict order that none shall be helped, I could somehow recover, but this 7-yr old kept me at check, for she was sitting right next to me, and I had to cross her every damn time! And my mom, you see - every time, however awesome she was at the game, was the fastest to win the first 5 coins, but was stuck with the one for long.

So went well, and the game was over with the positions
  1. Dad
  2. Meera
  3. Me
  4. Mom
And that, ladies & gentlemen, was how the day was spent! \m/

P.S: The above diagram isn't an image, but an HTML table done after some scrupulous formatting! :|


Dhaayam.. nalla vilayattu.. that too if we play with our family members we cant express the joyness we had.... nice da

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