background Ludii Portal
Home of the Ludii General Game System


Home Games Forum Downloads Concepts Contribute Tutorials Tournaments World Map About

Evidence in South India

2 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.672
Type Ethnography
Game Pallankuli
Date 1928-01-01 - 1928-12-31
Rules 2x7 board. Six counters in each hole. Play begins from any of a PLayer's holes, even if there is just one. Sowing occurs anticlockwise. When sowing, if the contents of a hole are brought to four, those are picked up and sowing continues until the last counter is sown. If sowing ends in an empty hole, the contents of the next hole are taken and turn ends. If they end in a hole with counters, these are taken and sowing continues. Play ends when a player has no counters in their holes, remaining player takes all the remaining counters. In the next round, the player with the smaller number of counters captured from the previous round fills as many of their holes as they can, starting from the left and filling each hole with six counters. Leftover counters are placed in the player's store. The opponent then does the same. Any holes remaining empty are out of play for this round, otherwise play continues as before. The right to begin alternates from round to round. Further rounds are played until one player has fewer than six counters.
Content "In South India there are several variations of a game known in Tamil as pallanguli, or "Manyholes." In view of the fact that it resembles-superficially, at any rate-the universal African game, and that several notes on the African varieties have recently been published, the following description may be of interest. Pallanguli is played on a wooden board which may be quite plain or may be beautifully carved and ornamented. The board has two parallel rows of holes scooped out. The number of holes varies, but in the particular variation which I propose to describe there are seven holes each side. Sometimes at either end of the board is a large hole for holding the captured pieces. The stones of the tamarind, tiny pebbles, or small cowrie shells are used as pieces, the last-mentioned being preferred because they make an attractive sound as they fall into the holes in course of play. The two players sit down with the board between them and begin by placing six pieces in each of the seven holes on their own side. The first player picks up the pieces from any one hole on his own side, and, moving always in a counter-clockwise direction, places one piece in each of the holes as he goes, leaving, of course, the hole from which he picks up the pieces empty. Having deposited the last piece in a hole containing others (either on his own or his opponent's side) he picks up all the pieces in the hole next the one he ended in and proceeds as before still in the counter-clockwise direction. The move ends when he puts his last piece into a hole next to an empty one. When he does this he captures all the pieces in the hole on the further side of the empty one in the clockwise direction. If this hole is also empty the move ends, but he captures nothing. It is now his opponent's turn to play. He may start anywhere on his own side, and, moving in the counter-clockwise direction, he proceeds in the same way until his move ends in a capture or a blank. Each player plays thus in turn until the board is cleared. During the course of the game empty holes gradually become filled, and as soon as the number of pieces in a hole becomes " four " the players on whose side the " four " is removes them from the board and adds them to the pieces already captured. A "four" is called a pasu, which means a "cow," which is interesting as being a probable survival from days when, as in Africa, the game was a parody of cattle raiding. At the end of the first round, when the board is cleared, each player puts back his winnings, six to a hole, into as many holes on his own side as he can fill. The loser of the first round will not be able to fill all his seven holes, and into the empty holes he puts a bit of paper or leaf or other rubbish to show that it is not in use, and these holes are known as peekkuli, or dung holes. Any pieces left over less than six are retained. The winner of the last round fills each of his seven holes with six pieces and, of course, will have a balance of few or many pieces in proportion to the number of holes his opponent has been unable to fill. The right to play first alternates round by round, and who ever did not begin last round starts off on his own side before, and the game proceeds exactly as in first round, except that the rubbish holes are left out. The game goes on until eventually one or other of the players has not even enough pieces to fill one hole. During any round by skillful play' it may be possible to capture sufficient pieces to enable the player to reopen one or more rubbish heaps, and even, of course, turn the tables on the other, and, consequently, a great number of rounds may have to be played before the game is won outright. Pallanguli is really a women's game in South India, and they play it when the morning's work is finished. Men do sometimes play it as a gambling game. I believe there are penalties for cheating, but I am not certain, as I do not remember ever having incurred any. No deliberate counting of pieces before a move is allowed, but observant and experienced players can tell at a glance what is the best move." Durai 1928: 185-187.
Confidence 100
Genders Female
Source Durai, H. 1928. "Pallanguli: A South Indian Game." Man 28: 185-186.

Id DLP.Evidence.1685
Type Ethnography
Game Gavalata
Date 1898-01-01 - 1898-12-31
Rules 5x5 square. Nine squares are marked: the four central squares of each side, the central square of the board, and the squares which are diagonally between them. Two or four players; each player begins on one of the marked outer squares, beginning on opposite sides if two are playing. Players use one or two cowries as pieces. Four or five cowries are used as dice, with the value of the throw equalling the number of mouths which land face up. Players proceed in a clockwise direction around the board, until they reach the space before the one in which they began, moving to the marked square to the right of the direction of play, and proceeding around the inner square of spaces in an anti-clockwise direction, until arriving at the central space. When a player's piece lands on a space occupied by the opposing player, the opponent's piece is sent back to the starting point. The first player to bring all their pieces to the central square wins.
Content "A similar game is played in southern India under the name of Gavalata, or "cowrie play," upon a square checkered board having an odd number of squares upon a side (fig. 158). Two or four persons play, each using one or two cowries as men, which they move according to the throws with four or five cowries. When two play, one starts at A and the other at B, moving in the direction of the arrows. The object is to traverse all the squares to the center. A player kills and sends back an opponent's piece when his own falls upon the same square, unless it rests in a protected square or u castle."" Culin 1898: 851.
Confidence 100
Source Culin, S. 1898. Chess and Playing-Cards. Washington: Government Printing Office.

     Contact Us

lkjh Maastricht University Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE), Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN Maastricht, Netherlands Funded by a €2m ERC Consolidator Grant (#771292) from the European Research Council