Ludo’s Interesting History – How The Board Game Originated and Evolved Over The Years

To begin with, some information on how the game is played. The board is the shape of a cross with four corners; each color-matched with their corresponding tokens. Four tokens are placed within each square, and the journey around the board game begins by rolling a six. Until then, no piece can exit the home zone.

Ludo as a game can be a lot of chaotic fun as players in the midst of their mad rush to get to safe harbor and win the game. The tokens on the board crisscross each other as anything between 2-4 players do what it takes to win the game. This includes safeguarding their tokens while taking out those of their opponents.

While playing the game of Ludo, have you ever wondered what its origins are and how it got to where it is today? The game has reached great heights, and people even have the option to play and let ludo earn money.

The following information will be a treat for you regardless of whether you are a history buff or not!

Ludo’s Place In Indian History:

The exact origins of ludo are lost to time. But what is known is that references to the game can be seen in the historic Ellora Caves of Maharashtra. In these ancient caves, the depictions of the board game are visible as illustrations on the wall, and they seem to suggest that ludo has Indian origins.

The game of Ludo even gets an acknowledgment in the mammoth epic – the Mahabharata. Taking cues from it, one can perhaps assume that ludo came into existence sometime between 400 BCE (Before Common Era)  and 200 CE (Common Era). 

The Outlook states that though ludo is traditionally traced back to the events in the epic Mahabharata in which the Pandavas lost their kingdom, there is historical proof of the game being played in the Indus Valley in 2300 BCE when oblong dice were recovered from the site. This shows that the potential origin point of the game goes back even further than anyone imagined.   

This is much before the dawn of the Mughal Dynasty in India. The Mughal Emperor Akbar, too, is said to have been an enthusiastic patron of Pachisi – the game from which ludo is derived. The other names Ludo went by were Chausar or Chaupad. 

History states that he was so enamored by the game that his palaces in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri had halls with floors resembling ludo boards dedicated solely to playing the game. Along with designating a portion of the palace to be used as a ludo board, actual people were dressed up in the player’s colors and took their places on the board to represent the pieces. 

While royalty could afford such flamboyant displays of wealth and status, commoners in that era played the game on cloth or slate for the board, while seeds and shells were used for tokens. The dice were likely made of bone, metal, or clay. 

Ludo Makes Its Way Around The World:

Ludo’s first step in a very long journey began when the Indian version of ludo surfaced in England.

On August 29, 1891, a certain Alfred Collier approached the patent office for a board game that he called Royal Ludo. The patent was granted on October 31, 1891, and thus Collier was awarded full commercial rights over the game. 

In the British version, the rectangular dice were replaced with a cube-shaped die, and players could use the included die cup to toss the dice instead of their hands. The Royal Navy further tweaked Ludo and converted it into the board game they call Uckers.

When it reached the United States, it took on the name Parcheesi, and it was trademarked in America by the Parker Brothers, who gave the world the very popular Monopoly. While the gameplay remained the same, the board’s design mimicked the traditional Indian version more closely than the British one.

The game naturally progressed and made its way to the rest of the world, where it took on different names. 

Some of these are:

  • Uckers – Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and England
  • Fia – Sweden and Geneva
  • Co Ca Ngura – Vietnam
  • Parchis  – Spain
  • Parques  – Colombia
  • Men’s-Erger-Je-niet (Man, Don’t Get Angry) – Netherlands

Ludo Invades Cyberspace:

Ludo also breached the stronghold that is the Internet, and quite successfully at that. After winning fans with the physical version, it is only natural with the rise of the smartphone; it would make its way to the virtual world too. 

Much to the delight of the humble game’s fans, their desire to play ludo on their devices came true. And it brought with it promises of an enthralling experience in the form of tweaks to the gameplay, online-only exclusive features such as leaderboards, and more. 

Throughout the history of board games, plenty has hoped for a captive and enduring audience. However, none have secured the mantle of the most treasured game that Ludo has.

From a game that was a staple of royal courts, ludo has spread its wings across the world and even to the world wide web. Ludo has proved that no matter what form it takes, it is an unstoppable force that is unlikely to fall out of favor and is one game no one will ever state they are weary of playing.  

The happy memories and the nostalgic value that millions associate with this game will ensure it never falls off the charts or leaves the toy store shelves.

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