You are on page 1of 2

The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #27: Kerala

by Damian Walker
The following books will be of interest to readers wishing to know more
about this race game.
Bell, R. C. Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, vol. 2,
pp. 3-5. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1979.
Botermans, J. et al. The World of Games, pp. 157-158. New York:
Facts on File, Inc., 1989.
Copyright © Damian Walker 2011 -

Board Games at CYNINGSTAN

Traditional Board Game Series
(Second Edition)
4 Leaflet #27
The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #27: Kerala The Traditional Board Game Series Leaflet #27: Kerala

(ii). no mouths up allow a piece can leave it for their second circuit
INTRODUCTION & HISTORY to move by five squares; around the perimeter.
The origin of Kerala is mysterious, that the game comes from some- (iii). five mouths up allow a
Capturing Pieces
at least as far as Western accounts where in the former British Empire. piece to move by ten squares.
of it are concerned. English lan- Due to its resemblance to other Asi- 8. A player rolling 5 (that is, no 12. If a piece lands on an en-
guage accounts are descended from an race games, it is most likely of mouths up) is granted another turn. emy piece that is on its way to the
that of R. C. Bell, who knew only Asian origin. A player can continue to throw and centre, the enemy piece is taken
move as long as he throws five. from the board and must start its
HOW TO PLAY 9. If a throw cannot be used, it journey again.
is lost. If that throw is a 5, then the 13. If a piece lands on an en-
While the historical background of throw the cowrie shells.
extra turn is also lost. emy that is on its way from the
the game is obscure, the rules are 6. A piece off the board may be
10. The player's route is as fol- centre, the enemy is returned to the
very clear and playable. entered according to one of the fol-
lows: centre.
lowing throws:
Starting the Game (i). onto the board and up that 14. If a piece lands on a
(i). one mouth up allows a
player's approach route; friendly piece, that piece suffers the
1. Kerala is played on a square piece to advance one square onto
(ii). onto the corner square and same penalty as described in rules
board illustrated in Illustration 1, the board;
around the perimeter in a clockwise 12 and 13.
with a track around its perimeter, (ii). no mouths up allows a
direction; 15. A piece sat on one of the
and two or three approach routes, piece to advance five squares onto
(iii). off the perimeter and into marked squares is safe from attack;
one dedicated to each player. the board;
the middle at the square indicated in such a square may at once hold one
2. Two or three may play, each (iii). other throws do not allow
Illustration 2; piece per player.
having five pieces of his own shape a piece to enter the board.
(iv). back onto the perimeter at
or colour. These start the game off 7. Alternatively, a piece already Ending the Game
the indicated square and around the
the board. on the board may advance around
perimeter again, 16. The first
3. The moves the route shown in
up to the corner player to take all
of the pieces are Illustration 2, and
square, his pieces around
dictated by five described in rule
(v). back the board wins the
cowrie shells 10, according to
down the player's game.
which act as dice. the following
approach route 17. Play con-
4. Players de- scores of the same
and off the board. tinues after this, as
cide at random throw:
11. A player the runners up
who starts the (i). one, two,
must get all five of fight for second
game. three or four
his pieces to the place.
mouths up allow a
Moving the centre before any
piece to move by
Pieces the corresponding
5. A player in number of
his turn will first squares; Illustration 2: the direction of play. Each
Illustration 1: the empty kerala board. player enters from his own approach route.

2 3