Ludo (from Latin ludus, "game") is a simple board game for two to four players, in which the players race their four tokens from start to finish according to dice|die rolls. The game is a simplification of the traditional Indian Cross and Circle game Pachisi, and it originally appeared in 1896. The game was patented in England. In the Caribbean, where the game is popular, it is usually called Ludi. In Sweden, the game is called "Fia", with the loser of the game (last one to have all four tokens to the finish line) called Fia.

Board Edit

A ludo board is normally a square marked with a cross. Each arm of the cross is divided into three columns, with the columns divided into usually six squares. The centre of the cross is the finishing square which is often divided into four coloured triangles. Each coloured triangle is combined with a coloured middle column appears as an arrow pointing to the finish. The shaft of each arrow is a player's "home column" and is five squares long.

To the left of each home column, one square from the edge of the board, is a starting square, also coloured. During game play a piece moves from its starting square, clockwise around the perimeter of the board, and up the player's home column to the finishing square. In the space to the left of each arm is a circle or square to hold a player's pieces before they are allowed into play. Unlike Pachisi, there are no resting squares, but the coloured home column may only be entered by its own player's tokens.

The special areas on the board are typically brightly coloured with yellow, green, red, and blue. Each player uses cardboard or plastic tokens of matching colour.

Rules Edit

At the start of the game, the player's pieces are placed in the areas to the next to the arms.

Players take it in turn to throw a single dice|die. A player moves one of their pieces forward the number of squares indicated by the die. When a player throws a 6 the player may bring a new piece onto the starting square, or may choose to move a piece already in play like any other throw. In either case, every throw of a 6 is rewarded with an additional turn. If a player cannot make a valid move, such as when they have no pieces in play and they do not throw a 6, they must pass the die to the next player.

A piece may not be moved onto a square occupied by another piece of the same player. If a piece lands on a piece owned by another player, the other player's piece is said to be captured. It is removed from play and must re-enter via its starting square when a 6 is thrown.

Once a piece has moved around the board completely, it passes along the "home column" of its colour. A piece can only complete the journey by throwing the exact number required: if the number thrown is too large, another piece must be moved or the player must skip their turn. The winner is the player whose four pieces finish the journey first.

If playing the block rule (see below), where a piece is doubled if a player lands on a space he already occupies, then an opponent's piece is blocked at this point and cannot move onto or past the space unless a six is thrown.

Variations Edit

  • To get a game started faster, some house rules allow any player to bring a piece into play on a roll of 1 if that player has no other pieces in play. In this case, the player does not get an extra turn.
  • Another way to speed up the game start is to give more than one chance at throwing a 6 to players that have no pieces in play.
  • If a piece lands on the same space as the another piece of the same colour, the moved piece must take the following space. If this subsequent space is occupied by a piece from any team, the moved piece must return to its base.
  • If a player's piece lands on another of their own pieces, the pair forms a "block" which cannot be passed by any opponent's pieces.
  • A board may have only four spaces in each "home column". All four of a player's piece must finish in these spaces for the player to have finished the game. (See Mensch ärgere dich nicht.)
  • Some boards have the starting square at the corner of each arm rather than one square in from the end. One can put their turn on his own piece but the opponent has to have a double to defeat it
  • To speed the game up, bonus moves can be awarded when taking an opponent's piece or getting a piece home. For example, when taking a piece, the player can move any piece a bonus 10 squares, or when getting a piece home a bonus 20 squares. This works well when one is not awarding extra throws for a 6. It also can provide a means to jump over an opponent's block if the bonus moves are not subject to the block restriction.
  • In some parts of West Africa the game is played at high speed, so that a next player may begin his/her turn while the previous player is still moving. Players may move forward or backward, and cheating and catching others cheating is an integral part of play.
  • The less famous, but still popular, game of Coppit is similar to Ludo.

See also Edit

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