Indian Game: Ludo

In 1896, a westernised version of Pachisi was published in England under the name Ludo (Latin for "I play"), a game which has been popular in that country ever since. The game however, is a highly simplistic version of Pachisi for children. The author has evidence that shows that a game called "Puchese" was published at the much earlier date of 11 April 1862 in England.
There is another less well-known descendent of Ludo called Uckers. The OED's earliest reference to this game sums it up well: "1946 J. Irving Royal Navalese 180 Uckers. A game very similar to Ludo, and played on a large board by teams of three or four men. "

Ludo
In fact, Uckers is a grown-up version of Ludo played with 2 dice instead of just one. This reverts it to being much closer to it's ancestor Pachisi and the decisions as to which piece to move for each die bear comparison with Backgammon, too.

Number of Players
2, 3 or 4 players.

How to Play Ludo
  • Each player places their pieces in 'prison' (or call it 'work' if you prefer).
  • Each player rolls the dice and the player with the highest count starts first (or you can just choose someone to start first if you prefer).
  • From there, the players play in a clockwise order.
  • Player must roll a 6 to get a piece 'out of prison' to the colored box right outside of their prison. This means that you can not get out of prison until a 6 is rolled, and rolling a 6 gets you just outside of the prison walls.
  • After getting out of prison, follow the arrows to go around the board until you come back to your 'colored path'.
  • Each time the dice is rolled, move any one of your 'out-of-prison' pieces that number of spaces in the direction indicated by the arrows.
  • If a player land on a square containing another player's piece, the other player's piece goes back to prison.
  • Each time the dice is rolled, the EXACT number of spaces must be moved. So for instance, if you are on your 'colored path towards home', you can not use a higher number to get home. So, if you need 3 spaces to get home, you need to roll a 3, or a 2 and a 1; rolling a 4, 5, or 6 doesn't allow you to move this particular piece home, but of course, you can move one of your other pieces that is out of prison.
  • The first player that gets ALL their pieces home first, WINS. The game can end there, or the other players can continue until most of them have all their pieces.
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