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15 Things You Didn’t Know About the Board Game Ludo

Ludo is a simple board game in which players advance counters by throwing dice. It has an Indian origin from the game Pachisi but patented in Britain as the game Ludo.

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These words seem to be accurate, as the advent of phones has replaced many human interpersonal activities, seeing that the popular board game can now be played on the phone with or without friends. Though this can be said to be one of the downsides of phones’ emergence, technology lovers have debated that it has even brought the game closer to man. The resounding claim is that mobile games enable you to play anywhere—from the comfort of home or during lunch break at work. While on the flip side, it would look quite awkward to be seen carrying a physical board game around. 

“We lost a page of our childhood when Ludo and Chess appeared as phone games.”  Lippy.

Those who are lovers of board games are always in for a thrill. They are still a fun way to bring people together to have some fun. I grew up playing many board games—Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Wheel of Fortune, Scrabble, Chess, Ludo, to mention but a few. As an adult, I still enjoy playing board games. When we have friends over, you need to see the thrill amongst my friends when you tell them that we have the board game Ludo in the house. There is an electric thrill that flows into the room as the game is played. So, in this piece, we would be sharing fifteen things you never knew about the board game Ludo! I trust you would enjoy the thrill of the discoveries you are about to make. Let’s go!

#1. Aim & History of the Game 

Ludo brings the troop together, and it’s all fun to the hilt!

Ludo is a strategy board game involving two or more players competing for superiority. The maximum number of players is usually four. It requires calculation as competitors are expected to be tactical in pushing their tokens. It’s important to note that the players take turns to roll a single dice to put their tokens in a dead heat race to see who would be the first to finish and become the game’s winner. 

The Board Game Chaupar/Chopad is a cross and circle board game similar to Pachisi, played in India. The game board display in Patwon Ki Haveli.

This board game was derived from the ancient Indian game, Pachisi or Twenty-Five,1 formed from an old game of Chaupar, or Chausar played in the Kurukshetra wartime, which is about 10 century BCE. The game Ludo was discovered in India in the 6th Century, with the earliest proof of the game’s evolution clearly written in the Caves of Ellora. It would interest you to know that Pachisi was remodeled to be played with a cubic die with a dice cup and has received a patent as Ludo in England in 1896. However, the Mughal emperors played the latest Ludo version, with Akbar the Great being a notable example. 

#2. Names of the Game

Ludo: The game has many names!

This board game Ludo goes by different names in different places. In Poland, the board game was given the name “Chińczyk,” which means The Chinese. You are beginning to ask why, right? Estonians prefer to call the game “Reis ümber maailma,” representing Trip around the world—which the game is really about going around the board to try and get home before the other players. Interestingly, China, Malaysia, and Singapore have a unified name for the game, “飞行棋,” meaning Aeroplane chess. 

The dice calls the shots and takes you home!

The Swedish are known to call the board game Fia, which is the accurate representation of ‘so be it.’ It would help if you also learned that there are two Swedish name variations: ‘Fia-spel’ and ‘Fia med knuff,’ which means ‘Fia the game’ and ‘Fia with push’ apiece. However, in Demark and Norway, the board game is known by its popular name, Ludo. Of course, whoever finishes the tour first wins and gets the last laugh. Maybe this was the same thought of the Hungarians for naming the game “Ki nevet a végén,” which means who laughs at the end. 

#3. Behavior of Players

The thrill of the win says it all!

Just as we have variations in the game’s name, we also have different reactions. While some may lose and feel refreshed at the end of a board round, some always want to win. It is quite memorable that the Ludo name, “Man don’t get upset,” connects several players from various parts of the globe such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Rome, Serbia, Turkey, Germany, and others in their multiple languages. In German, it’s called ‘Mensch-ärgere-Dich-nicht;’ ‘Mens-erger-je-niet’ in the Netherlands, ‘Ne t’en fais pas’ in France, ‘Fa med knuff’ in Sweden, etc. So, you lose and have it in good fate, as man doesn’t get upset. Do you play the game at all? How do your friends react when you play? Tell us some of your Ludo reaction stories in the comment below.

#4. Ludo Board

Top view of a Ludo game board with dice.

You may not be aware, but the game’s board also varies from place to place, with different indentations on the board. For the Indians, the board features a safe spot, which is usually the fourth square from the top in the rightmost column. However, the case is different for Denmark and some other countries, as their own boards have 8 spaces with a globe, with a star in the 8th space. It’s important to mention that the boards’ differences don’t hamper the game’s aim—to get all your tokens home before your opponents do. 

#5. Game Play

Let’s play the game!

Did you know you could decide not to play after throwing a six twice? When a six is rolled, the implication is that the token, or as it may be called elsewhere, is advanced for one already in motion. If this doesn’t happen, then a new token is brought in. You sure know that rolling six means you get to roll another as a bonus for rolling six, and if the player rolls six again, another rolling is guaranteed. If the third roll is also a six, the player may choose not to move and pass to the next person.  

#6. Basic Variations

In Vietnam, their tokens are horse heads.

Here we would be considering how the game works in two different settings. For instance, in Denmark, the board has eight spaces marked with globes, except for the last one, which is starred. By implication, the globes are secure places where a player’s token cannot be captured. In Vietnam, the game mimics a horse race modeled pattern with the tokens modeled as horse heads. One on the dice is given an equal station to a six, which means a player can start a game by rolling one. Whatever the variation, the end goal is to have fun.

#7. African Variations

Africa—The Land of Games, Fun, and Adventure.

There are different approaches to playing the board game in Africa, and they include that a doubled block also disturbs the trailing pieces of the player who initiates the block. Also, if the players sitting opposite are a team, they are free to exchange numbers. A bonus is also enjoyed if a player captures the piece of another player. Interesting how this game has different ways of achieving its aim!

Close up image of Ludo dice and colorful tokens on Ludo board.

Ludo has a way of infusing fun electricity among Africans. During the 2017 Thanksgiving Day, I hosted a group of my friends at my house. People were having fun, eating, chit-chatting, and having fun. We brought out the Ludo game, and the whole atmosphere changed! It was like a jolt of electric charge passed through the room. The room came alive as the players engaged in the game with a frenzy of excitement. That is the Ludo effect amongst Africans! The atmosphere was charged with so much fun and excitement!

#8. Cheating

Screech—Getting ahead in the Ludo game.

This element can’t be detached from the game, as it is easy to cheat on the board game, especially when your game partner isn’t alert. Cheating most times start with a screech. By now, a rhetorical sage would be asking, “What does a screech mean? Screeching is an exciting and calculative way of confusing the game. It allows you to provide for the next few tips to execute to garner a win. It’s almost like creating a smokescreen when the other player is not paying attention as an avenue to plot a lethal strategic move against the other player. The screech, not particularly honest, gets the player ahead via a smokescreen approach. 

#9. Cheating II

Screeching can break trust.

While cheating on the board can be seen to be relaxing and funny, it’s capable of ruining trust. This may sound unreal, but it is what it is. Being a dishonest person, even in a simple game of Ludo, can topple your friendship for life to be honest. After you must have screeched, then you are in the perfect situation to move your opponent’s pieces back and move yours forward. All done, you have the game in control. Screeches have their way of distracting players. Be careful. If the screeching happens to be high pitched, capable of causing boards to shatter, move a piece of the board while everyone is distracted. Screeching is not the best thing to do, be careful, though.

#10. It’ Didn’t Happen

‘It didn’t happen.’ Be careful of those who want to entangle the game.

The Ludo game is so competitive that players will do everything to get by. ‘It didn’t happen’ is also another cheat element usually experienced in the board game. You often find players arguing that there was no hit. In a bid not to lose, a player may protest that his token was not in the right position (when it was hit), which might entangle the game. 

#11. The Newbie Scope

‘Strategy! Strategy! Strategy!’ Explore the Newbie.

This is another useful and smart way of saving your behind. Sometimes, you have a newbie around, and you exploit the opportunity to the fullest by making sure he doesn’t run after your tokens and seeing that he follows those of others. Then you can be sure every move is safe. By doing this, you have your friends close and your enemy closer, which is enough to win the game. It’s all, ‘Strategy! Strategy! Strategy!’ 

#12. Revenge

I’ve got a trick or two up my sleeves! I am playing to win by all means necessary!

Revenge works on the board of those who are kings of the game. Regardless of your status, whether a veteran or a professional, your pieces would still be knocked in. But there are always options, it’s either you mourn the hit and lose out or come back with a very tight revenge plan, which is necessary for becoming a seasoned Ludo player. Your piece gets hit; then you rally all others to get the work done. Period!

#13. Flip It Off

He won! She obviously lost the game!

This is yet another scheme deployed by some players at ensuring the ultimate thing doesn’t happen when the board game isn’t going in their favor. The losing party, vindictive at best, performs a dastardly act by flipping it. Players on the verge of losing a board game round might decide to throw the towel in, which is achieved by flipping the board. The action condemns the game to a dead or inconclusive end.   

#14. How to Get Six

Find a way to roll sixes, and you will be the champion of the game!

You want to boss the game, then you should be ready to roll out a lot of sixes on the dice, and that you would learn how to do so with relative ease. Dice rolling is all about Probability. To get a six when rolling a single six-sided die, you will have a 16.7 percent chance of rolling the number (i.e., the Probability calculated by the number of outcomes divided by the number of possible outcomes. Which equals 1 ÷ 6 = 0.167). Should you use two dice, you will have a 2.78 percent chance (i.e., calculated with the formula, Probability of both dice = Probability of outcome one × Probability of outcome two = 1/6 × 1/6 = 1/36 = 1 ÷ 36 = 0.0278).

The structure of the Die.

Reading “The Best Techniques to Roll the Dice Perfectly” by Mintdice, there are three best techniques to roll a specific number on the six-sided dice continually. The best methods are the loaded dice, the microwaved dice, and the controlled throw. First, the loaded dice won’t work in the Ludo game—everyone will be rolling sixes. Secondly, who is going to allow you to walk away to go and microwave the Die? No one will let you do that, especially in the middle of a competitive game. Thirdly, the controlled throw will be the only way in a Ludo game. According to Mintdice“to roll the numbers 1 or 6, you will need to place your index finger and thumb on the numbers that are exactly on the opposite sides and throw patiently.” 

The Dice Cup levels the field in curbing the controlled throw.

In the Ludo game, to use the controlled throw becomes dicey when you are allowed to throw the Die only using the Ludo cup. Except you have mastered using the Ludo cup to control your die or dice throw, then you are up for an uphill challenge at best. The dice cup levels the playing field in curbing the controlled throw. However, I believe that some have mastered the controlled throw art—even with the dice cup. For such people, the magic happens as they often hold and win the game. What a hack!

#15. Concentration

Ludo teaches you to concentrate.

It might sound funny, but in reality, the board game trains players on concentration. Ludo is definitely one game that requires all parties involved to give their maximum attention, which is the primary way of guiding against some of the cheat elements or strategies highlighted above. While concentration is essential in the board game, it gives insight into what next to do or what risk to take, which is one of our lives’ realities, taking risks.  

Ludo goes digital in the App World!

The article has been pretty descriptive. We have taken a journey from the inception of the game to the present day. We have looked at what the game is all about and the various strategies for playing the game. Apart from being a fun and family and friends-engaging-board game, Ludo has gone digital. Looking through the App Store of your phone will reveal various Ludo games from different companies (e.g., Ludo Star, Ludo Club, Ludo King, Yalla Ludo, etc.).

From all we have seen, we can stipulate that the Ludo game is pretty exciting. You thought you knew it all. So tell me, how many of the fifteen points covered above did you know about the game Ludo before reading this piece? Are you an avid Ludo player? If yes, tell us some of your strategies and fun memories playing the game? Let’s have a dialogue in the comments.

Reference

  1. Bell, R. C. (1979). Board and table games from many civilizations. (Revised ed.). London, United Kingdom: Dover Publications, Inc.

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Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze is an entrepreneur and the Founder, CEO, Editor-In-Chief of Oaekpost, LLC, a U.S.-based online media company and the parent organization of www.oaekpost.com. He is a multi-niche writer with a wide range of interests in various genres. Agom-Eze is based in the Greater Seattle Area, Washington, and can be reached at ogb@oaekpost.com.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. sibCyday

    May 10, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    I think, that you commit an error. Let’s discuss.

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