[Page 510] Related to the Hindu pacisi.
A rough checker of 5 X 5 squares is drawn on the ground - usually on a firm stretch of sand on the beach. The middle rows are somewhat broader than the others, and their squares bear distinctive names: A = gajn in Arabic, "spring", or "eye"; B = dafandÓ; C = habarti, "the mother."
Each player has four men of a distinctive kind (stones, shells, pieces of wood, etc.), which he places on one of the gajn. If only two people are playing they choose two gajn opposite each other, but if there are four players all four gajn are occupied.
Instead of dice, four cowrie-shells are thrown, and the way they fall determines the number of squares each is entitled to move. The five possible combinations are called by corrupted form of Arabic numerals:
[Page 511] Each person throws the cowries once, in turn, but if a wÓrbag turns up, he is entitled to an extra throw; if a txmmx·n, he makes two extra throws (raddatejn = Arabic ) but should these bring two more txmmx·n the total of his points is brought down to 0. A second wÓrbag or txmmx·n does not entitle to any extra throw.
If a man passes over other men which are of a different color from his own, and which are not in one of the gajn, it is called suldÓ·n ("sultan") and each overtaken stone is a gÓbid (Arabic, "slave"): the slave has to go back to his gajn of origin, and the owner of the suldÓ·n can make an extra throw for every slave he has made.
Each man must travel anti-clockwise round the outer row of squares, then clockwise round the inner one before it reaches habarti. (The route followed by the men of one of the players is indicated by a dotted line in the accompanying figure.) The one whose four men get to habarti first wins the game.
Last update January 7, 2010