When you hear the name Ludo, you immediately recall the popularity it gained during the pandemic. Not only is it associated with nostalgia, but this legendary game has also helped us build many strategies and tips that we can use in real life. Family members and friends alike, Ludo is loved by everyone.
This game is an Indian creation and was invented during ancient times. The earliest proof can be witnessed during the era of the Mahabharata and the Mughal emperors.
Although the origin was in India, many countries have adopted it in their own way. Thanks to the generation of mobile phones, they can be played virtually. Let us now know the history and invention of this beloved game.
How was the Ludo board game invented?
The earliest evidence goes back to the Mahabharata. The game of Pachisi was created in India during the sixth century. The historic Ellora caves prove the strategy game’s existence in India. The game gained relevance when Shakuni used cursed dice to beat the Pandavas and lose everything. In the end, Yudhisthira puts Draupadi as a part of the gamble and loses her, too. After Draupadi vows to curse the Kuru lineage and to reduce her anger, Dhritarashtra promises the Pandavas to give back all their belongings. That is the story of the modern-day Ludo.
The popular game was also known as Chaupar in ancient times. Many erstwhile emperors played the contemporary version of Pacheesi, and the Mughal emperor Akbar is a noteworthy example. Rather than using the standard shells or seeds, the emperor used ladies from his harem as pieces on a life-sized board. Palace halls of Agra and Fatehpur Sikri and Agra are decorated with this game, where the floors show the board.
Apart from Indian history, the board game has evolved from becoming “royal ludo” to reaching worldwide. The original ludo board was converted to a cubic die with a dice cup and coined “Ludo” in England. It was adapted by the British Royal Navy, who adopted Ludo and converted it into the board game Uckers.
Where was the Ludo game board patented?
The Ludo game we know today was patented by Alfred Collier in England in 1896. The rules are more or less the same, except the rectangular dice are replaced with a cubic one. Rather than throwing using one’s hand, a dice cup was added. This could reduce the possibility of any cheating on the part of the players. The cubic dice, being smaller in size, also made it easier for the tokens not to get disturbed.
How to Play
Two, three, or four can play without partnerships. At the beginning of every game, each player has to choose one corner of the board, their designated area. Players can either enter a single piece or go with all four tokens. Until then, all the tokens have to remain in the square occupied. When it’s their turn, the players enter their tokens from their respective starting squares and travel clockwise along the track until they reach home. The players continue moving tokens up the column to the finishing square when they reach the home column. Other players also race to reach the home square at the earliest.
How fast the player’s pieces reach the home square depends on the die rolls, and also, the strategy game requires the player not to allow other coloured tokens to reach home before him. The first player to bring all the tokens wins the game, while the others continue to fight for the second, third and fourth position.
In the first step, the player rolls the dice and moves only one piece. Depending on the number displayed on the die, players select a token and move it forward around the board. Players cannot allow passes for either of the four pieces. The turn goes to the next player’s yard if no moves remain.
If a player cannot draw a token from home, rolling a six earns the player an additional or “bonus” roll in that turn. If the bonus roll is a six again, the player makes a bonus roll. If the third throw is also a six, the turn immediately passes to the next player.
If the advance of a token ends on a square that occupies by an opponent’s token, the opponent token is returned to its owner’s yard. Then the returned token can rejoin the game only when that player rolls a six. If a piece is in the same space as another piece of the same colour, then they form a block. If the advance move ends on an opponent’s block, the player can capture the piece and return it to its yard.
No opponent can enter the player’s home column. After a rotation, the player must enter the home and roll the exact number to get each piece in the home.
Variants of the Ludo Game
List of international variants
People around the world are familiar with the Ludo game. The names and rules, however, have slight variations in them.
- Uckers, British
- Pachisi, Indian
- Fia, Swedish
- Eile mit Weile (Haste makes Pace), Swiss
- Cờ cá ngựa, Vietnamese
- Parchís, Spanish
- Parques, ColombianTechnological Revolution and The Way Forward
Ludo is not just a board game- it’s way beyond that. It has advanced into a digital game now, with people investing more time playing the game on phones, especially during the pandemic.
Playing Ludo also teaches us that sometimes it can be a game of luck. It seems to favour us in some rounds, while sometimes you run out of it. Although it is a strategy game, you need a slice of luck to win this game.
What are some winning strategies in Ludo?
- The more you play, the better strategy you will have. Be confident, think about the move that will be best in that situation, think, and play.
- Open all your pieces as soon as you get the chance.
- Get all your tokens in the field. If you invest only one piece, you’ll be eliminated.
- Remember what number can lead you to the best place and what number will let you kill the opponent.
- Kill your opponents as soon as you can; if you show some mercy, you might lose!
- Keep the piece nearer to the victory in a safe place & move it with more significant numbers. Invest smaller numbers on pieces just beginning to run out of the house.
- If your piece is into victory and you get a chance to kill the opponent’s piece, go for the win. Kill him if the number is too small (1 or 2) so that you can get a chance to play again.
- If you have a number that is not good in any of your pieces, move the piece nearest to the starting point.
Rise on Mobile platforms
We’ve seen how the digital version of the game is available on phones. Some of the top Ludo games are:
- MPL Ludo Win
- Ludo King
- Ludo Club- Fun Dice Game
- Ludo All-Star
- Ludo 3D multiplayer
- Ludo Superstar
- Ludo Champions
Which country invented Ludo?
Ludo is an Indian game that was invented during the times of the Mahabharata. Later on, it got adopted in various countries of the world with slight variation.