What is a Ludo?

A (very) Brief History of Ludo

It is a simple strategy game for 2, 3 or 4 players using a single dice and simple player tokens. The object being for each player to move all four of their tokens around the board from a start position to the end position, or finish. The board is a cross shape with each arm divided into small squares representing the spaces in which player tokens are moved. Movement is counter-clockwise and the first player to get all 4 tokens to the finish is the winner, and everyone rejoices.

The game of Ludo originates from India and the game native to that country known as Pachisi. Whilst there is scant evidence that it was being played as far back as the 6th century there is only real evidence to show that the game existed in the 16th century in the Indian town of Fatehpur Sikri. Here there was a life size board created within the court itself, a large stone plinth at the court's centre representing the central starting point for the player tokens. Being a life-sized version of the game the, Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (whose court the board was within) played using appropriate life-sized tokens in the form of slaves from his harem.

Of course, not everyone had access to their own palace or space large enough to erect a large scale board and use real people as token, so in most cases, the game was played on a board made out of cloth with wooden pawns used for tokens.

Ludo as we know it today has it's origins in Pachisi along with a number of other games that use the same dice and token movement concept. These are simple games, not overburdened with pieces or rules and can be played almost anywhere using the bare minimum of resources. Today's modern equivalent was patented in England in 1891 by one Alfred Collier, giving him the rights and print and distribute the game under his ownership and the nomenclature 'Collier Ludo boards'. But let us not forget that this variation was borne many centuries early in the ornate palaces of the Muhgal emporer and played out over the many hundreds of years since.

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