Ludo: Official Rules & Other Interesting Facts

Ludo: Official Rules & Other Interesting Facts

Stuck in the home during the quarantine we are all reminiscing, be it through old pictures or laughing about funny memories of childhood or old board games. The games we used to play when we were kids with our family and friends. One such game that strikes the chord is Ludo. No family reunion was complete without a game of passionate roll dicing and doing the funny dance when you cut somebody.

Now, as we have all the time in the world, we are going back to the good old games and connecting through friends and family by playing together. Good thing, through technology, we can play the game with our cousin or friends who are 1000 km away. Let's look at the official rules, so none of us fights over them at least and a few interesting facts, so that when next time you play ludo, you can brag a little to impress others.






1. Two - four players play the game and each player is assigned a colour.

2. The players start with 4 coins or pieces in their house or pocket.

3. The main objective is to get all the 4 pieces in the home pocket before anyone else.

4. In order for a player to be able to release a coin into the track from its corresponding pocket, the player must get a six from the roll of the die. Coins are released on the coloured square of the track.

5. The player must choose whether to use the score to take a coin out of the pocket or to advance a coin that had been previously released.

6. The players roll a six-sided die in turns and can advance any of their coins on the track by the number of steps as displayed by the dice.

7. Once you roll a six in a dice throw, you have to roll the dice again, and must use all scores while making the final selection of what coins to move where.

8. You have to apply a score from roll of a dice to a coin wholly, not by part. For example, if you have rolled a six and a three, you cannot move one coin by five places in the track, and another by four places. You have to move one coin by six places, and (either the same one or a different coin) by three places.

9. If you roll six three times in a row, your throws are reset and you have to roll the dice again.

10. If a coin lands on a square occupied by a coin of a different colour, the coin of the different colour returns to its pocket and the new coin occupies the square.

11. If a player captures the coin of another player, they are awarded a bonus roll. If in the bonus roll, another player's coin is captured, another bonus roll is awarded and so on.

12. When a coin completes the length of the track except for the one right before its starting position (51 squares), it enters the home run (the coloured squares leading up to the home pocket).

13. Players generally choose to use their rolls of dice on other coins if they cannot apply them to coins in the home run. The movement inside the home run is governed by two variations of rules around the world:

14. A coin stays in the home run only if it advances exactly to the home pocket, else it bounces back. For example, if a coin is three squares away from the home run and the player gets a five on the die, the player might advance three positions to the home pocket and then move back two positions from it to add up five.

15. The coin can advance in the home run only if it reaches exactly inside the home pocket, or moves closer to it through the home run. For example, if the coin is four squares away from the home pocket and the player rolls a five, he must apply the throw to some other coin. However, if he rolls a two, he can advance his coin by two squares and then it rests there until the next move.




1. If a coin lands on a square occupied by a coin the same colour, the two coins are piled up and will move as if they were a single coin. It is possible to pile up all four coins.

2. The player gets an option whether to form a pile or not.

3. The piles can form or disband only at the four starting positions of the track. A red pair, for example, can form or disband at any of the four starting positions of the track.

4. A pile moves by dividing the dice throw by the number of coins in the pile. For example, in a pile of three coins, it moves by one spot if the player rolls a three; it moves by two spots if the player rolls a six, etc.

5. The pile can move as a unit only if the dice throw represents a multiple of the number of coins on a pile. Meaning, if you have two coins piled up in one square on the track and you have rolled a five, you cannot apply that to the pile and move it by two or three squares. If you do not have any other legal move, you must forego your score and the next player's turn comes up.

6. A single coin can only be dismissed by another single coin, not a pile entering the same square.

7. A pile of coins can only be returned by another pile of the same size, neither bigger nor smaller.

8. Piles can enter the home run as well.

9. The piles can be disbanded at will inside the home run, even if there are restrictions on formation/ disbanding on the main track.




Interesting Facts & Other Variations:

1. 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.

2. In India, Pachisi was also played by the various Mughal emperors.

3.  Other variations of the Pachisi game were introduced to England around the late nineteenth century. One of these versions which appeared around the year 1896 was successfully patented under the name Ludo.

4. The track consists of the 52 squares around the home pocket. Note that 48 of those squares are white and only four are of a different colour.

5. Ludo played in the Indian subcontinent features a safe square in each quadrant, normally the fourth square from the top in the rightmost column. These squares are usually marked with a star.

6. In India, Ludo is often played with two dice, and rolling 1 on a die also allows a coin to enter active play. Thus if a player rolls a 1 and a 6, they may get a coin out and move it six steps.

7. In Denmark and some other countries, the board has eight spaces marked with a globe and eight with a star. The globes are safe spaces where a piece cannot be captured. The exception is that a player who has not yet entered all pieces can always enter a piece on a roll of 6. If the entry space is occupied by another player's piece, that piece is captured. Otherwise, the entry spaces work like other globe spaces. A piece which would have landed on a star instead moves to the next star.

8. In Vietnam, it is called "Cờ cá ngựa", where the game is modelled after a horse race with the pieces modelled as horse heads. In this variation, a 1 is given equal status to a 6 (meaning that the player can enter a piece into play and can roll again). Furthermore, once a player's piece reaches their home column, it can only go up each square with an exact roll. This means that a person outside the column must roll a 1 to enter the first square, a 2 afterwards to enter the second, and so forth.

9. In some parts of Africa, if the two players sitting opposite are partners, the players can exchange numbers.

10. Also, in Africa, a player cannot move their first piece into the home column unless they have captured at least one piece of any of the opponents.

Source: Wikipedia



So what are you waiting for? Search your old trunks for the board game you got when you were 5 or whip out your cellphone and download the game now, and invite your friends and family for a game. Playing a game, or learning something new during this difficult time of the ongoing lockdown is one way to stay fresh and happy. As they say "find the silver lining". It is the perfect time to bond with friends and family all over again, and what better than a good old fashioned game.


Stay Indoors, Stay Safe!!

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