Extreme Parcheesi

I started thinking about this project when my 3 1/2 year old son (not quite ready for structured boardgames) insisted on a family game of Parcheesi. Now just a little background info...my son is extremely high energy --even for a 3 year-old. He also has a long standing fascination with dice, and so to preserve dad's dice collection I have gotten my son his own dice pouch with his own collection of polyhedrals (big ones, so not a choking hazard).

With my son's current attention span, any game that we attempt lasts for maybe 2 or 3 turns, after which it quickly degenerates into bouts of: a) dice being thrown to intentionally knock over pawns; b) pawns being picked up stuffed into my son's pants pockets; or c) my son grabbing and rolling any polyhedral dice that strike his fancy rather than the dice that come with the game. It was in this degenerative phase of our family Parcheesi game that it occurred to me that this entropy could be harnessed for cause of Good. And so I started considering how one might mod Parcheesi into what (for the moment) I am calling "Extreme Parcheesi". Here is what I have so far.

1. Dice: Each turn one player is designated the "leader", and the role of leader rotates clockwise each turn. (Use a special unique token, marker, banner, funny hat, or viking hemlet to designate who is the current leader.) At the start of each turn, the leader decides what type of dice will be rolled that turn for movement (any two dice as a combination of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, or d20 --no "tens" d10s marked "10", "20", etc are allowed). All standard Parcheesi die rolling conventions apply. So if you have entered all of your pawns and you want to minimize your opponents' chances of entering their pawns, declare 2d20 when you are leader and your opponents have much lower odds of rolling a 5.

2. Blocking spaces: This standard Parcheesi rule --that you can block a space by positioning two of your own pawns on it-- is removed and replaced with Combat rules (below)

3. Stacking limits: There is now no limit to the number of your pawns that may occupy a space, and no limit to the number of different players that may occupy a space.

4. Combat: Whenever you land a pawn on a space containing one or more opponent pawns, combat is initiated. Every player with one or more pawns on the contested space rolls one d20 for every pawn they have on the space. The attacker --the player that most recently entered the space-- gets one bonus d20 to roll. The player who has the high roll (that is, the single d20 showing the highest result) gets to send one opponent pawn of the winner's choice back to its starting space. If combat is between only two players and the high roll is tied, the defender automatically wins. If >2 players occupy the space and the high roll is a tie, then there is a roll-off to determine the winner. NOTES: Combat ALWAYS uses d20s regardless of what die combination the leader has declared for the current turn. Combat lasts only one round, not until all opponent pawns are eliminated. If pawns of >1 player occupy the same space at the beginning of any player's turn, no combat ensues unless a new pawn enters the shared space.

5. Species enemy (optional). Each player has a "natural enemy", and he/she will always get an extra bonus die (d20) to roll in combat when that natural enemy occupies the contested space. This option is more intuitive when you are playing the 2001 Milton Bradley  release that uses animal miniatures as pawns. If you are playing with a traditional Parcheesi set, then refer to the colors in parentheses.

Tiger (red) gets a bonus against Water Buffalo (green)
Water Buffalo (green) gets a bonus against Camel (yellow)
Camel (yellow) gets a bonus against Elephant (blue)
Elephant (blue) gets a bonus against Tiger (red)

If you are using a set with colors different than the ones I list here, just come up with a combination that all players can agree on.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Category:general -- posted at: 2:53pm EDT

  • I think you get stuck in Molasses Swamp in Candyland.

    posted by: susan z. on 2009-09-19 21:39:00

  • Extreme Candyland! Perfect. It\'s about time someone introduced a Willy Wonka style sense of danger to that game.

    posted by: Mark on 2009-09-04 00:36:00

  • Just a quick explanation about my last comments. It was my intention to present a self-effacing image of my own level of patience and not to insult anyone elses. If my comments seemed insulting, I apologize.

    posted by: Susan Z. on 2009-09-06 14:33:00

  • No worries Susan. Definitely no insult taken. I DO love the idea of extreme Candyland. That game definitely needs something the pump it up. Maybe some player-vs-player mechanic. How about a ruling that each turn, in addition to drawing a card, each player rolls a d6. Any time the die result is \'6\', the active player has the OPTION of apply the card he/she just drew to themself, OR to one of their opponents!! Nothing quite as satisfying as getting one of your opponents stuck in licorice!!!!

    posted by: Jeff (admin) on 2009-09-06 18:35:00

  • Thanks for leaving the comment, Darryl! Also, my wife has been telling me to point out that my son built the stack of dice that you see in the picture of the Parcheesi board. Not only that, but upon building it, he jumped up, pointing at the stack of dice with a HUGE smile, shouting \"Gameopolis!!! Gameopolis!!!!\"

    posted by: Jeff (admin) on 2009-08-31 19:08:00

  • This is the game demonstrates perfectly how my brother Jeff and I differ in our childrearing ways. At my house if my kids grabbed dice and threw them across the board, my last nerve would have snapped, I would have grabbed the dice, put them away shouting, \"WE DON\'T THROWTHINGS!!!\"< I I would have promptly found the coloring books and crayons. I bow to your level of patience with the little guy!.

    posted by: Susan Z. on 2009-09-03 14:09:00

  • Just one more thought--Candyland!

    posted by: Susan Z. on 2009-09-03 14:19:00

  • After doing a little research into Parcheesi, I think the name \"Extreme Parcheesi\" needs a little work. According to Wikipedia, Parcheesi is \"often subtitled Royal Game of India because royalty supposedly played using costumed dancers as pawns on large outdoor boards.\" Now THAT\'S extreme. Especially if you introduce combat, which would require you to equip the dancers with knives or short swords. Mark

    posted by: Mark on 2009-08-31 09:30:00

  • I think Jeff may have too much time on his hands. ;)

    posted by: Darryl on 2009-08-31 16:29:00

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