Dayakattai: The Traditional Dice Game Rules, Instructions & Strategy


Dayakattai is a traditional board and dice game that’s been played in India for centuries. It’s a dice-based game, similar to Ludo or Pachisi (both games I’ve written guides on), but with its unique set of rules and gameplay. The game has a fair amount of cultural significance and is often played during festivals and family gatherings.

The history of Dayakattai goes back to the times of kings and queens, where it was a popular pastime. The game is played with a special set of dice, and the goal is to navigate all your pawns to the center of the board before your opponents do. It’s a mix of strategy and luck, and getting good at it can be quite rewarding.

Quick Tip for Dayakattai

Always keep an eye on your opponent’s moves and try to block them whenever possible. It’s not just about racing to the finish, but also about playing defensively.

Rules for playing Dayakattai

The rules of Dayakattai are straightforward once you get the hang of it. Each player starts with a set number of pawns on their home square. The game is played with two or more six-sided dice, known as Dayakattai.

The roll of these dice determines how many spaces a player’s pawn can move. If a player rolls a Dayakattai (a specific combination on the dice), they get additional benefits like an extra turn or the ability to cut an opponent’s pawn, sending it back to the start. The game continues with players taking turns rolling the dice and moving their pawns accordingly. The first player to move all their pawns to the center wins the game.

Dice Rolls:

  1. Players take turns rolling two dice each.
  2. The numbers rolled on the dice determine the number of spaces a player can move their pieces.

Movement Rules:

  1. Players start with all their pieces lined up on their respective starting areas of the board.
  2. Pieces move in a clockwise direction around the board, starting from the player’s home quadrant.
  3. A piece can only move onto an empty space or onto a space occupied by the opponent’s single piece (not a stack of pieces).
  4. If a player lands on a space occupied by their opponent’s single piece, the opponent’s piece is “captured” and removed from the board. The capturing player’s piece replaces it.
  5. If a player rolls a double, they get an extra turn.
  6. Once a player’s piece completes a circuit around the board, it enters the home row. From there, it must move to the center of the board and then off the board to win.
  7. The first player to successfully move all their pieces off the board wins the game.

These rules are simplified; yet given the size and diversity in India, regional variations do exist that I’ve heard of (usually the rules are quite similar).

Equipment and Setup for Dayakattai

To play Dayakattai, you need a Dayakattai board, which is usually a cross-shaped path with a center square, and a set of Dayakattai dice. Each player chooses a color and gets four pawns of that color.

The pawns are placed in the starting zone of each player’s color. Once the board is set and each player has their pawns and dice ready, you’re all set to start the game.

In concept I find it’s quite similar to the Americanized game of Trouble/Frustration! (moving pawns toward the center based on dice rolls).

How to Play Dayakattai

The gameplay of Dayakattai involves a few key mechanics. First, you need to roll a Dayakattai to enter a pawn onto the board. Then, you move your pawns based on the dice roll. You can cut other players’ pawns if you land on the same space as them, sending them back to their start. The game is a balance between advancing your pawns and blocking or cutting your opponents.

  1. Rolling the Dice: Players take turns rolling the dice to determine their moves.
  2. Moving Pawns: Based on the dice roll, move your pawns along the path towards the center.
  3. Cutting Opponents: If you land on a space with an opponent’s pawn, you can send it back to their start.
  4. Reaching the Center: The goal is to navigate all your pawns to the center square.

How to Win at Dayakattai

Winning at Dayakattai requires a mix of strategy and luck. You need to be smart about when to play defensively and when to go on the offensive. It’s important to spread out your pawns on the board to increase your chances of cutting opponents and to avoid getting all your pawns cut at once.

Pay attention to the dice rolls and plan your moves accordingly. Sometimes, it’s better to wait for a better roll than to move a pawn into a vulnerable position.

Best Strategies for playing Dayakattai game

The best strategies for Dayakattai involve being adaptable and making the most of each dice roll. You should aim to have a mix of pawns on the board at different stages of the path. This way, you can always make a move, regardless of what you roll.

It’s also a good idea to keep one pawn near your start to cut any opponents that might be trying to enter their pawns onto the board. And remember, sometimes the best move is to block an opponent rather than advance your own pawn.


There are several variations of Dayakattai that you can try. Some variations include different numbers of pawns, larger or smaller boards, or different rules for cutting and blocking. These can add a new level of challenge and excitement to the game.


During the game, you might find yourself in a situation where all your pawns are at risk of being cut, or you might have a clear path to the center. In these scenarios, it’s important to weigh your options and choose the move that gives you the best chance of winning. Sometimes, sacrificing a pawn can be the right move if it means advancing another pawn closer to the center.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Dayakattai game

  1. Q: How many players can play Dayakattai?
    A: Dayakattai can be played by two to four players.
  2. Q: What happens if I roll a Dayakattai?
    A: Rolling a Dayakattai usually gives you an extra turn or other benefits like entering a pawn onto the board.
  3. Q: Can I move past my own pawn?
    A: Yes, you can move past your own pawns on the board.
  4. Q: What if I can’t make a move?
    A: If you can’t make a move, you pass your turn to the next player.
  5. Q: Can I have more than one pawn in the center square?
    A: Yes, you can have all your pawns in the center square if you manage to move them all there.

For more information on Dayakattai and its rules, you can visit the following links: