Chaturaji Game Rules

How to Play Chaturaji


Chaturaji (meaning "four kings") is an ancient 4-player chess-like game from India played with pieces of 4 different colors. Each player starts with four distinct pieces (king, elephant, horse, boat) and four pawns of his/her color. The aim is to be the last player with their king alive.


The player with red pieces starts first. The game uses two dice and pieces are moved according to the roll of the dice to attack other pieces and defend own pieces. The player can move his/her pieces according to the one or both dice values and also has the option to skip the turn and not make any move. The game is played as per the rules described below


Two 4-sided (oblong) dice are used containing following sides: King, Elephant, Horse, Boat. Only pieces which match the rolled sides can be moved. If a king is rolled, a pawn be moved in stead of the king. Pawn can also be moved if rolled die is a dead piece (For ex; if an elephant is rolled but player's elephant was killed, then a pawn can be moved for it.). All pieces capture by moving to the square that the opponent’s piece occupies. Captured piece is removed from the board.

Piece Movement


King's move is similar to that of king in chess. It can move to any of the eight neighbouring squares.
When a king is killed, it's player is out of the game. Players play to protect their king while attacking other players' pieces.
King Move


Elephant's move is similar to that of rook in chess. It's movement is only limited by the end of the board or, pieces blocking its path.
King Move


Horse's move is similar to that of knight in chess (L-shaped jumps).
Elephant Move


Boat can move to the second square on each of its diagonals jumping intervening pieces.
Boat is the only piece which can not kill kings.
Boat Move


Pawn's move is similar to that of pawn in chess. It can only move one square forward (except when it captures). Pawn can only attack an opponent piece diagonally forward similar to chess. There is no first double-step move as in chess. If a piece stands in front of the pawn, it can not move.
Forward direction is different for each player.
Once a pawn reaches to the end of the board, it can be immediately exchanged to resurrect a dead piece (Elephant, Horse, Boat).
Pawn Move

Reference Rules: Wiki