2 - 4
15 - 60
# India
# Lost game
# Race
# Chess
# Plain

How to set-up

1. You need an 8x8 Ashtāpada Board with 64 squares available for the movement of pieces. In this board there are 16 specially marked squares serving as nests or castles.

2. Both players need 4 game pieces, preferrably black and white. 4 Cowrie shells are also recommended, but modern dice can also be used.

3. Players decide who goes first by rolling the cowrie shells or dice. The one who rolled highest goes first.

How to play

1. The gameboard of Ashtāpada...

2. If a player lands their piece on another of their own pieces, then it becomes a double.

3. Doubles cannot be passed over by single pieces (whether they are the player's pieces or the opponent's pieces), and they can only be captured by other doubles.

4. The two pieces that make up the double may be moved together.

How to win

The first player to get all of his pieces to the respective central square wins the game.

Tips & tricks

1. A piece may enter the board on any throw of the cowries/dice. The piece moves to the square corresponding to the throw.

2. Each player starts on his own starting square and moves around the board in an anticlockwise spiral.

3. The paths of every player are different because each player starts on a different corner square and moves inwards at a different position on the board.

4. A player can capture an opponent's piece by landing their piece upon it.

5. The captured piece is removed from the board and it must start again. A piece cannot land on an opponent's piece that is on a nest.

6. Each Player's Ending Central Square can only be reached by a direct throw. If a player throws a number larger than that needed to reach the end, they must move another piece or wait till their next turn.


1. Ashtāpada or Ashtapadi is an ancient Indian board game which predates chess and it was mentioned on the list of games that Gautama Buddha would not play.

2. Ashtāpada can be translated to 8x8 referring to the size of the game board.

3. Including other pastimes enjoyed by the ancient people of the period, Ashtāpada dates back to around the 5th or 6th century BC; since Ashtāpada must have been played during his life to have been acknowledged in the Buddha's account.

4. This game has a very unclear history, it's rules are not exactly known and for a long time it was considered to be a "lost game".