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Ludo - An adaptation of Indian game Pachisi

Ludo is a British adaptation of the Indian game Pachisi. It has somewhat contemptuous been described as an westernized, simplified and less skillful version of Pachisi, and only suited as a family or children's game. It is an all-against-all game, which can be played between 2, 3, or 4 players.

Each player has four tokens. The entry point is a corner area next to his/her home track. Only one dice is thrown and tokens only enter upon the throw of six. A throw of six is also rewarded with an extra turn. The tokens needs an exact throw to get home.

There is no partnership in the game, safety zones or blockades. The minimum of strategy in the game makes it of primary interest to younger children.

Ludo (and it's variations) are very popular in large parts of Europe. It is also known as:
  1. Mens-erger-je-niet (the Netherlands)
  2. Parchis (Spain)
  3. Le Jeu de Dada or Petits Chevaux (France)
  4. Non t'arrabbiare (Italy)
  5. Fia med knuff (Sweden)
  6. Parqués (Colombia).
  7. Eile mit Weile (travelling theme variant from late nineteenth-century Germany)

Eile mit Weile is popular in Switzerland, as does its Italian equivalent Chi va Piano va Sano!

Ludo was first published in England in 1896 (Ludo is Latin for "I play" - ludus). The game was patented as patent 14636. A game called Puchese was published in England as early as 11. April 1862. It is not known which connection there is between Puchese and Ludo.

Ludo - Game of Mughal Emperors

Ludo is a type of board game that can be played by 2 or 4 players. In this game, the players have to race their 4 tokens from the starting to the finishing point according to the roll of the dice. Ludo is similar to many other games involving cross and circle, especially the Indian game of Pachisi. However, it is much simpler than Pachisi. The game of Ludo and its variants have achieved widespread popularity in many countries throughout the world under various names.

Origins and earlier history of Ludo

The game of Pachisi originated in India somewhere around the 6th century. The illustration of playing boards on Ajanta caves are the earliest proof of this game to be played in India.

In India, Pachisi was also played by the various Mughal emperors. The great Mughal emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar used to play live Pachisi by using his harem girls.

Other variations of Ludo

Other variations of the Pachisi game were introduced to England around late nineteenth century. One of these versions which appeared around the year 1896 was successfully patented under the name Ludo. In North America, Ludo is marketed under its brand name of "Parcheesi". Numerous variations of "Parcheesi" are available under the names of "Trouble" and "Sorry!". Different variations of this game are available under different local names in Germany as well as in the Dutch, Bulgarian, Czech, Serbo-Croatian and Slovak territories. The game is popular by the name of "Fia" in Sweden. However, in countries Norway and Denmark, the game is popularly known as Ludo.

Rules of Ludo

At the beginning of the game, a player places his or her four pieces in the starting area of their color. The players then take turns to throw the die. A player will have to throw a 6 before he or she is able to navigate a colored piece from its starting point to the starting square. After that, in each of the subsequent turns the player navigates a piece forward for one to six squares as per indicated by the throwing die. Once a player throws 6 with the die, the player may choose to introduce a new piece in the starting square. He may also decide to navigate a piece that is already active. The player also gets another bonus turn. However, a foul is said to have been committed if the player rolls 6 for three consecutive times. A player forfeits his or her turn on such occasions. In cases where the player has rolled a six, the player may also choose to separate the chances if both pieces are active. For example, he or she can navigate one piece by 6 houses and another piece by 4 houses. Conversely, both the chances can be played using one single piece only; i.e. the player may navigate one piece for 6+4=10 houses. If the player is unable to make an appropriate move after the first movement of 6, the die will be passed on to another player.