Patolli is an ancient Aztec dice game where each player attempts to win all of the opponents treasures.
To do this, the players may need to play more than one round of the game. In order to complete a round, a player needs to get all of the six game markers from the starting queue position to the ending square position on the game board before the other player.
Five or six black beans were used as dice. Number cubes were also used. If a toss results in all the beans standing on their sides, then the tosser wins all the goods bet by both parties
The game pieces were six red and six blue pebbles and each player controlled one colour. Some markers that could be used were beans, or kernels of maize.
In order to get one of the stone markers on the board, the player tosses five specially prepared black beans on the game area. The black beans have one side marked with a hole. Thus tossing the black beans would result in several black beans showing this white mark and others showing a blank side. In order to get on the game board, one black beans would have to land with the hole face up and all the others face down (getting a score of one). The players take turns tossing. Once a player is able to get on the board, the game begins, and the player is allowed to place one of the game markers from the queue onto the starting square of the game board.
The game mat had an “X” shape with squares and the design was painted on it with liquid rubber There are 52 landing positions in all. The game board could be drawn on a bit of leather or on a straw mat and decorated with coloured dye, or it could also be carved into the floor or table top.
The four landing positions in the middle of the X is a special area. For instance, a player can kick the opponent jade off of the game board and back into the opponent starting queue if the player should ‘land’ a jade on the opponent jade in this area. The opponent would then be required to transfer ownership of one of the items being bet at this time.
Another special area is marked by two darker triangular shapes near the end of each arm of the X. If a player should land a jade inside one of these triangular areas, the player would be required to transfer ownership of an item to the opponent.
There are two special square marks at the end of each arm of the X. Any player who lands on one of these squares is required to roll the black beans and take another turn.
After a player has a game marker on the game board, the player must move one of the game markers the same number of times as there are holes showing from the toss. If the player cannot move because he would overshoot the ending square or land on an occupied spot, then he loses the turn.
If the toss shows five holes, then the player must choose one game marker to move ten spaces.
Macuilxochitl is also playing the game. The Magliabechiano codex says: Patolli’s god was Macuilxochitl, deity of music, dance, gambling and games, called God of the Five Flowers. Players are required to give Macuilxochitl an item if a toss of the patolli result in no holes (all blank sides) showing. A space is reserved above the game board for these items. The winner of the round will receive the treasure located in this space as a gift from Macuilxochitl.