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Pallanguzhi (பல்லாங்குழி)

Pallanguzhi is an urban board game, once patronised by women in Tamil Nadu, Pallankuzhi is played by dropping seeds into pits on a board, It has been a women's pastime, also an entertaining way to improve math and motor skills or a marathon affair during festivals like Sivarathri and Vaikunda Ekadasi and is also played during the break at workplace

The game has fascinated researchers keen on unraveling its many anthropological and social aspects. Scholars have conducted researches on the game to find out the various skills of students at various levels.

Pallanguzhi is mostly played by Tamil women, both in Southern India and SriLanka. Men also play it sometimes for gambling.

Game Description 
The board has 14 cups, each player controls seven cups. People used to play using tamarind seeds or Kauri shells. Three types of games are played using the 14 cup board, they are
  • Kattattam
  • 6 seeds game and
  • 12 seeds game

How to Play

Six seeds are placed in each cup. The player starting first picks up the seeds from any of her holes and, moving anti-clockwise, places one seed in each hole. If she reaches the end of her cups she goes on the other side of the board. When the player drops her last seed, she takes the seeds from the next cup and continues placing them in this way. If the last seed falls into a cup with an empty cup following it, the seeds in the cup following the empty cup, are captured by the player.
That player then continues play from the next cup containing seeds. If the last seed falls into a cup with two empty holes beyond, she captures no seeds and her turn is over. The next player continues play in the same way.
If, after having a seed dropped into it, if a cup contains four seeds, those seeds become the property of the player who dropped the seed. The round is over when no seeds remain.

Once the first round is over players take the seeds from their stores and fill as many of their holes as possible with 6 seeds each.

The winner will have a surplus of seeds which are kept in her store. The loser of the first round will be unable to fill all of her holes. These unfilled holes are marked as "rubbish holes."

In the next round play continues as before, but without the rubbish holes being included and the player who went first in the previous round going second.

During the game if a player has enough seeds to fill any of her rubbish holes, they are again used during play. The game is over when a player is unable to fill any cups with six seeds at the end of a round.