Traditional Board Games

Patolli Game: Ancient Mesoamerican Aztec Board Game, handcrafted wooden game w/ Wood-burned Art, Strategic Race Game - MADE TO ORDER


  • Details
    A Patolli board game, also known as Patole, meaning 'beans'. This beautifully handcrafted wooden board game is one of the world's most ancient games, having been played most notably by the Aztecs, but also by other pre-Columbian cultures as well. It is still popular today in parts of Mexico and Central America. This game features art inspired by the cultures who played it originally, burned into the wood surface and accented with bright watercolor pencil and inks. A wonderful addition for the avid game collector as well as admirers of pre-Columbian art styles. This game will challenge players and attract admirers for generations to come.

    This board game is MADE TO ORDER; with a production time of 2-3 weeks. The pictures are of previously created board(s), and are for example only. Being handcrafted and decorated, natural variances and difference in appearance will naturally occur.

    • Patolli board constructed of 3/4" thick hardwood, either cherry, maple, or poplar; with options for finishing the edges of the board, such as Burnt, Carved, Inscribed, Plain, or Trimmed (see chart located in photos). The board measures 13 inches square.
    • All artwork is achieved through the use of pyrography, the art of wood-burning by hand. Details of the burned artwork are embellished with vivid watercolors and inks to enhance the cultural and historical feel of the game. These colors ARE INCLUDED in the listed price, and are not considered an up-gradable addition as with some of the other games listed in the IGNITED shop. If you wish for the artwork to be strictly wood-burned, please message me prior to ordering - color will still be applied to the 4 points of the 'X', as this is an integral part of the gameplay. A satin lacquer is applied to protect the artwork and wood upon completion.
    • Artwork for the areas surrounding the playing track are as depicted. The warrior motifs are taken from an archaeological record of a stone carving, where the four of them are together as if marching; the animal gods shown as 'backgrounds' were created by the artist specifically for this game. Variations in colors used, shading and texture, not to mention wood character, will be evident in each Patolli board produced. Custom art requests and submissions are always welcome – please contact me with your request!
    • Playing pieces are included in the form of glass beads for the players and marked red beans for the 'dice'. A drawstring bag is supplied for storage of the pieces, and a rules pamphlet is also included.
    • Further customization can be done by specific request.

    *A note about WOOD TYPE and the use of color: Cherry wood can affect the final hue of any color applied to it. Colors tend to not be as vibrant as they would on maple or poplar wood; however, this can lend to an aged appearance that works well with the overall theme of the game.

    • Patolli (or Patole) is one of the oldest known games in America; an ancient board game that takes its name from the Aztec word for bean - patolli, meaning fava or kidney bean. It is a race game of both strategy and luck which was originally played by commoners and nobles of the pre-Columbian courts. It was recorded by the conquistadors that Montezuma often enjoyed watching his nobles play the game while at court. Patolli, or variants of it, was played by a wide range of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures and known all over Mesoamerica; the Teotihuacanos played it as well as the Toltecs, the inhabitants of Chichen Itza, the Aztecs, and all of the people they conquered. The ancient Mayans also played an earlier version of patolli.
    • Patolli is played on a cross-shaped board of sixty squares, some of which are reduced in size by wedge-shaped markings between them, and eight at the ends of the cross are rounded.
    The game can be played by 2-4 players, the pieces for each player being distinguished by color. When playing the game with four players, it is possible to play in partnerships. The players begin the game with pieces in hand and the board empty. Five beans act as dice for the movement of the playing pieces. They are marked on one side and blank on the other. Coins or casting sticks can be used as substitutes. The total score of the beans when thrown is one point per marked side showing, or ten points if all five marked sides are shown; when no marked sides show, there is no score. Play begins with each player placing a prize or stake (this could be anything as long as all players agree) into a pot. A penalty amount is also agreed at this stage, played from one player to another upon certain pitfalls throughout the game. Players enter a new piece onto the board from the central square closest to him, moving around the track by the number of spaces according to his score. Other pieces may be entered onto the board in subsequent turns. The player decides the direction of movement for his or her own pieces, clockwise or counterclockwise, and will maintain this direction throughout the game. A piece may not land on an occupied square, and a turn may be lost if movement is not possible for this reason. After having made a complete circuit of the board, a piece is borne off on reaching the last square (i.e. the one before the player's starting square) by an exact throw. On bearing off a piece, the player receives a penalty from each of his opponents. The player who has borne off the last of his pieces wins the game and the contents of the pot.

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  • Shipping & Policies

    Shipping from United States

    Processing time

    2-3 weeks

    Estimated shipping times

    • North America : 3 - 5 business days

    I'll do my best to meet these shipping estimates, but can't guarantee them. Actual delivery time will depend on the shipping method you choose.

    Customs and import taxes

    Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

    Payment Options

    Secure options
    • Accepts Etsy gift cards

    Returns & Exchanges

    I gladly accept returns and exchanges

    Just contact me within: 7 days of delivery

    Ship items back to me within: 14 days of delivery

    I don't accept cancellations

    But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

    The following items can't be returned or exchanged

    Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:

    • Custom or personalized orders
    • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
    • Digital downloads
    • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
    • Items on sale

    Conditions of return

    Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Wholesale availability

    Due to the nature of the majority of my work, and the typical amount of business that comes through my shop, wholesale items are not available.

    Custom and personalized orders

    Please contact me before placing an order should you desire customizations not outlined or offered in any particular listing.

    Holiday ordering

    During the Christmas holiday season, I can quickly become VERY busy; typically putting in 12 hour days in order to make holiday shipping deadlines.
    Please plan ahead - I begin taking Christmas orders in late August, but due to workload, I will close the shop to further made-to-order requests the first week of December. Ready to ship items remain listed and ship as stated in their listing.

    Shipping times

    In the case of any custom or Made To Order item, I try very hard to meet the listed production/ship time for the listed item. However, I am a one-man shop, and the handcrafted nature of the work, particularly during busy periods, can cause delays. If you require your item by a specific date, please inquire first. I do not rush the work, as I want each piece to be exceptional and worthy to the person purchasing it. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and of course, your patronage!