Thayam (Dayakattai) Dice Game Rules

How to Play Thayam (Dayakattai) Dice Game


Thayam is an ancient Indian board game played mostly in Tamil region of South India. The game belongs to the category of race game where players race to move all their pawns to the final destination. The game is played by 2 to 4 players and requires a special 4-sided dice. The game can also be played using 6 seashells. This online version uses two 4-sided dice for the gameplay.


The dice used in Thayam dice game are shaped like long cuboids and is called Daayam. One side is blank and remaining sides have 1, 2, and 3 pips respectively. Output value is sum of the numbers rolled. Blank side is counted as 0. If both dice are blank, then the output value is 12. The possible output values can be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12.


The game board is a 7x7 grid of squares and center square of each side of the grid is colored differently (Red, Green, Yellow, Blue). Each colored square is home for a player. The game can be played by 2 to 4 players. When the game is played by 2 players, they must take positions on opposite sides. Each player has 4 colored pawns and each pawn must travel through a fixed path and reach to the center square of the grid. The pawns can be moved as per the following rules

  • Pawns are moved according to the output value of rolled dice pair. The possible values are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 12.
  • Initially all pawns are placed outside the board. A pawn can enter board at player's home only if the rolled dice pair value is 1.
  • Once a pawn is in the play, it can only be moved by number of squares equal to rolled dice pair value.
  • If player rolls 1, 5, 6, or 12, he gets another chance to roll irrespective of whether or not he is able to make a valid move.
  • Pawns in the play are moved anti-clockwise along the fixed path in outermost squares and then clockwise in all inner squares.
  • Players take turn in clockwise manner.
  • If player has made all valid moves and hasn't rolled 1, 5, 6 or 12, then his turn ends and turn is passed to the next player.
  • If player can make a move, he must do so.
  • One square can only have one pawn except safe spots.
  • Player cannot move his pawn to a square which is already oppcupied by another of his own pawns.
  • If player's pawn lands on a square occupied by opponent's pawn, then opponent's pawn is slashed out of game. This is called cutting opponent's pawn. Once an opponent's pawn is cut, it follows same rules to get back to player's home as explained earlier (by roll of 1).
  • There are some safe spots where player can not cut his opponent's pawn. These safe places are marked with a cross (which also includes starting home positions of all players). There are 8 safe places in the board.
  • Safe spots can have more than one pawn and all players are allowed to move their pawns to the safe spot at any time.
  • Player must cut at least one pawn of any of his opponents to move from outer sqaures to inner sqaures otherwise he must keep circling around his pawns in the outer squares.
  • Player can enter inner squares from one square behind its home square (marked with arrow for respective colors).
  • The destination for all pawns is the center square which is also marked with a cross.

The first player to move all 4 pawns to the destination square wins the game.

Thayam Pawn Movement Color Directions

How to play

Roll dice on your turn and click the pawn you want to move.