| Played in: |
India (Tamil Nadu)
|Holes captured between games|
|7 holes per row|
Pasu pondi ("sweep four") is an old Indian indoor game mostly played by Tamil women in rural areas of Tamil Nadu, South India. Sometimes it is also played in the open as well. However, the game is usually not played at night. Play often continues for several hours and the players may be surrounded by many spectators who "observe, assist and enthuse" them.
The game was first described by Dr L. S. Saraswathi in 1995.
The game is played on a two rows board, each row having seven holes.
Each hole contains five seeds at the beginning.
On his turn a player distributes the seeds from one of his holes in a clockwise direction into the following holes. When all seeds have been sown, the contents of the next hole are picked up and distributed in another lap.
The turn ends when the last seed falls into a hole which is succeeded by an empty one.
During sowing the contents of any hole that contains exactly four (pasu) seeds are immediately captured by the player who owns the hole.
If, after the turn was finished, the hole following the empty one is occupied, the contents of this hole are captured. This is called pondi ("sweep").
The game ends when all seeds are on one side of the board.
The remaining seeds are captured by the player who owns their holes.
The winner of a game is the one who captures more seeds.
Pasu pondi is played in rounds. In the next game, the players fill their holes with the seeds they captured in the previous game. Again, there must be five seeds per hole. These holes which cannot be filled are closed. The play goes on until one of the players cannot fill even one pit.
- Rohrbough, L. (Ed.).
- (1955) Count and Capture: The World's Oldest Game, Delaware: Cooperative Recreation Service.
- Saraswathi, L. S.
- (1995) 'Indigenous Learning Cultures: Basic to Sustainable Literacy', in ABD; (26): 1.