John Hamilton first registered the copyrights to the American adaptation, as Patchessi in 1867. In 1870, the rights were sold to a New York game manufacturer — the predecessor of Selchow & Righter, who registered the trademark in 1874. This game was a great success in sales at that time.
There is a similar game that is especially popular in Spain, where it is called Parchís. Parqués is a Colombian similar game too, all three games branch from the original Pachisi. The rules there are slightly different, mainly because of the influence of Ludo and local culture.
Each player selects four pawns of the same color and places them in their "nest," or starting area. The game board should be positioned so that each player's nest is to their right. Pawns enter play onto the darkened space to the left of their nest and continue counter-clockwise around the board to the home path directly in front of the player.
Each player rolls a die; the highest roller goes first, and subsequent play continues clockwise to the left. Each turn players throw one or both dice and use the values shown to move their pawns around the board. If an amount on one or both of the dice cannot be moved, that amount is forfeited.
An opponent's pawn on a darker safe space is not capturable except when a pawn is entering onto that space from its nest. In this case, enter the pawn as usual and the opponent's pawn is captured.
It is not possible to end a turn with a pawn resting on the same space as an opponent's pawn, unless they are on a safety space.
No more than two pawns – of same or different color – can be on the same space at once.
Should a blockade occupy a player’s entry space, it will prevent that player from entering pawns into play.
It is not possible for a player to rest more than two pawns on the same space.
Third consecutive doublet rolled in one turn is a penalty, and pawns are not moved the number of spaces shown on dice. A player with a three doublet penalty also removes their pawn closest to home back to their nest, and his/her turn ends.
However, the third consecutive six rolled in one turn is a penalty, and the pawn that was used to move the second six must be returned to the nest, unless the pawn had already entered the final safety line on the center space, on the way home.
Each player has his/her own home path and may not enter another's. So, when a pawn is on its home path, it can no longer be captured.
In the webcomic Ozy and Millie, there is a game called House Rules Parcheesi, a game that seems to have rules, but they are so complicated, and branch into so many other games, it is impossible to play it. It is similar to other fictional games with complex rules or a lack of rules such as Calvinball, Mornington Crescent and Guyball.
It is also memorably mentioned in the film Ghostbusters, when Rick Moranis' character, Louis Tully, asks his party guests "So, does anybody wanna play Parcheesi?", before a Terror Dog bursts out of his closet.
Parcheesi is the favorite game of fictional private detective Tex Murphy, the star of Access Software's series of live-action computer games. It's most prominently featured in 1998's Tex Murphy: Overseer.
A variation of Parcheesi is mentioned in La Palabra, the 19th episode of Season 6 of The West Wing. Josh Lyman says that Helen Santos thinks he is playing "Presidential Primary Parcheesi" with her children's college funds.
In Elling, directed by Peter Næss, the eponymous Elling and his room-mate Kjell Bjarne spend a good deal of their time playing Parcheesi.
In The Curious Savage, Florence shouts "Stop! Parcheesi, The Royal Game of India!" to distract someone.
In the play On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson, the main character, Norman, twice asks his wife, Ethel, if she would care for a game of Parcheesi.
In SpongeBob SquarePants Squidward fantasizes playing Parcheesi on a cruise ship.
In the movie "Shrek 2", the donkey suggests that he, Shrek and Fiona play Parcheesi, and the game can be seen in the background.
In the 1964 film Paris - When It Sizzles, Richard tells Gabrielle that when there is a fade-out in a film, it does not necessarily cover a sex scene: it allows the audience to think that the characters for example play Parcheesi. The next scene shows Gabrielle and Richard on a bed playing Parcheesi.
In the Stephen King novel "Duma Key" the character Elizabeth Eastlake is playing Parcheesi with Jack Cantori at her house.