Ludo (Parchisi)

Some old school games can never go out of style! Do you remember you childhood days? Perhaps you grew up playing board games like Ludo with your folks, and that has been the best memory of your childhood.

Speaking of your favourite childhood board games, the word ‘Ludo’ comes to our mind instantly. If you have played Ludo while growing up, it will not be difficult to grasp the game of Parcheesi. They are quite similar, actually.

The interesting thing about Ludo is that both kids and adults love the game play. No matter how old (or young) you are, Parchisi is going to be interesting for you.

We thought of writing an in-depth post for all the Parchisi fanatics. Even if you are not aware of this game, this post will help you grasp the game play, history, tips to win, interesting facts related to the game, and much more.

Introducing Parchisi (Ludo Game)

Parchisi game is an American adaptation of the famous Indian board game, ‘Pachisi.’ The game is a favourite among families, more so because all the members can be a part of it. As we mentioned before, anybody can play this game regardless of their age.

That’s the beauty of a board game – all members of the family can sit together and play it. It can cater to a mixed crowd of 10-year-olds and even 80+ year olds.

The players try to move around the four pawns across the board. Your opponents try to capture the pawns and send you ‘back to pavilion.’

If you are looking for a good way to bond with your family over a sumptuous Sunday brunch, Parcheesi is the game that will keep everyone hooked.

Parcheesi is an intriguing game played on a cross-board. The board has sixty-eight squares and out of these, twelve are safe zones. However, this can be different as everyone has come up with a variant of their own. Two to four players can start playing the game. Ideally, it is played individually, but one can also play in teams.

Do you wish to know more about the famous Parcheesi game? If the answer is a firm YES, then read on to find out.

Let’s begin with the history of Parcheesi. What was the inspiration? How did it reach America and other parts of the world? You will find out all that and more in the next section.

History of Ludo

The story started in India. There is clear proof all over the internet that the inspiration was the Indian ‘Pachisi’ game. It was invented in the 4th Century AD. In fact, the game is often referred to as the, ‘national game of India.’ 

In early times, the game was also known as Chaupar. Pachisi was later modified and called, ‘Ludo’ in the year 1896.

If we translate the word, ‘Pachisi’, it simply means 25. In Hindi, 25 is called ‘Pachis.’

Mughal Empire’s Akbar I used women as the ‘playing pieces’ for the game. In Ancient times, Emperor Akbar had a gigantic marble board in the courtyard.

The court was divided into white and red squares, and this was used as the board. An elevated stone in the middle represented the ‘central point.’  Young slaves or women would dress up in different colours, and moved across the board on the basis of the outcome of the dice.

Since Akbar was truly fond of playing this game, he got the pachisi game constructed in all his royal palaces. You can still see the structure in his forts at Allahabad and Agra.

 With careful observation and a hint of creativity, people made the Pachisi game a little more ‘human-friendly.’ It became a much-loved board game in India.

In India, Pachisi is played with two, three, and even four players. But, it is played in teams. One team will have the black and yellow pieces, and the other will have green and red pieces.

The game was and is still played with cowrie shells. Yes, there has been technological advancements, but the game is played with full fervour in villages and towns.

The cross and circle game has four different sections, and is divided via a cross.

Who Brought It To America?

The question is – How did Pachisi make its way into America?

There are different theories to this. Sam Loyd claimed that he is the one who brought Pachisi into America, but it is questionable.

The first ever person to claim that they brought Pachisi to America is John Hamilton. It was in the year 1867. Originally, the game was called ‘Patcheesi’, but was later changed to, ‘Parcheesi.’

A copyright was granted to John Hamilton, but he sold the rights to Albert Swift in the year 1868.

Later, Swift sold the rights to a game manufacturer from New York. It was E.G. Selchow and Co. It was first published in the year 1870, but was copyrighted and trademarked YET again in the year 1874.

Ludo & Parchisi – The Connection

Ludo, the famous dice game, is derived from Pachisi (the Indian game). In fact, you will be pleased to know that Ludo is played by Indian inhabitants too.

Perhaps every Indian adult grew up playing the Ludo game. You can still find the depiction of the Pachisi boards at the famous Ellora Caves in Maharashtra.

In fact, the original version of the game is also seen in the mythological story ‘Mahabharata.’

In North America, the same game is sold under the famous brand name, ‘Parcheesi.’ Hence, all are interrelated to each other.

There are some variations of how Ludo is played in different countries, but the end goal remains the same.

The Resemblance

There are slight differences between the Americanized and the Indian version. In Parchisi, there are a total of four players, and they are playing individually.

In ‘Parchisi’, there are two teams and each consists of two members.

Did you know that Pachisi) was once played on a piece of cloth? There were four different shells of varied colours.  Even till today, people create their DIY Parchisi game board using cloth or chart paper.

Also, instead of using plastic pawns, the Indian Pachisi game was played with cowrie shells.

Ludo – A Refreshing And Educational Game

Parcheesi is more than ‘just’ a board game. It all starts with rolling the dice and moving across the board, but it also teaches you a lot about ‘strategy.’

Parents across the globe have their own theory of how the Parcheesi game helped young kids to learn the art of adding and counting. How?

The safe spaces on the board are spread out at five and seven spaces around the Parcheesi board. Since the spaces are coloured idiosyncratically, it encourage the kids (or players) to make jumps of five and seven.

As they move across the board, they are adding numbers too. Hence, it will be an educational game for the kids.

Apart from enhancing the counting abilities, Parcheesi also allows the players to sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Objective Of Ludo Game

The objective of the game is fairly simple. Players have to move all their playing pieces to the ‘home square.’ The playing piece can ONLY enter this home square if you get the exact numbers on the dice.

If you are just two spaces away from the square and you get a higher number on the dice, you cannot move the playing piece.

Hence, the objective is simple, and so are the rules of the game. We shall tell you more about the rules and game play in the next section.

How To Play Parchisi?

Nothing is complicated about the game. There is a simple board, and some basic rules to follow. Please note that every Parcheesi board is not made the same way. In America, a standard Parcheesi board would have 72 spaces. Out of these 72 spaces, 12 are darkened ones. These darkened spaces are known as, ‘safe zones.’

  • The Starting Point: Place your pieces in your nest. The highest roller gets to move their pawns. The game is played in a clockwise fashion.
  • Let’s begin: The highest rollers gets to throw two dices. Two pieces will leave the nest only if there is a single five or an equal of five. The players can only move the pieces as per the number on the dice. Let us say if you got a 4 on one dice and 5 on another. This way you can move your pieces four steps and five steps ahead.
  • In case you get doubles (two fives), then you get another turn.
  • As per Parcheesi, all the blue spaces on the board are ‘safe’ spaces. If a piece is sitting on a blue space, nobody can capture it. This is the safe space and the piece does not move from here.
  • If two pieces of the exact same colour are on the same spot, then it creates a blockade. But, this also means that two of your pawns are safe. Even if another player lands on this, the two pawns remain safe there. None of the pieces can move ahead this blockade – not even yours. Also, in case a player lands on the same space which has been preoccupied by another player, then they have to move back to the interiors of the zone.
  • There is another version of the game in which the players get to move their pawns only if they get a six on the dice. This happens with single-dice games. But, for double dice games, you need a combination of 2 and 4, or 3 and 3. You can either go for the ‘5’ or the ‘6’ logic.
  • If your pawns are in the safe zone, the opponents cannot send you back to where you started from.
  • If one of the pawns is inside the box, and all other pawns are in the game, you can only use the upper number of the dice. In case all your pawns are in the game, you can count the upper and lower part of the dice. It will always equal to at least fourteen. Now, move the dice accordingly.

Winning is everyone’s end goal, isn’t it? If you want to win the game, get all the pawns to the home square quickly. The sooner you get there, the more chances you have of winning.

This brings us to the next question – Are there are any variations of Parcheesi? The answer is a YES! We have revealed the different variations of the game in the next section.

Please take a good look at it!

Variations Of Parcheesi – REVEALED

Before you start playing Parcheesi on your DIY home board or the game board, it is important to know about the different variations. You will be pleased to know that these variations are popular across the globe.

1. Two Player-Variation – Each player uses two colours and eight of the pawns.

2. Four Players, Two Teams – Choose a partner to play with and help each other to win. Each of the player will get their own colour to play with, but winning will be a joint effort. This can be quite entertaining for the players. It also helps you to understand each other’s strategy.

3. Team Spirit – If there are more number of players, you can team up and each of the team can play for 1 colour.

These are the popular variations of the Parcheesi game. If you are in a dilemma as to how many players can indulge in the game, these variations will help you get started.

Strategy To Win Parcheesi

Winning the Parcheesi game strictly depends on your luck. If Lady Luck plays along with you, there are full chances of winning the game. However, certain strategies can be applied to win the game.

The numbers on the playing dice are technically out of your control, but moving the pawns on the game board is within your reach.

Your focus should be on moving the pawns till the end, but make sure you send your opponent’s pawn ‘back to pavilion.’

Also, you have to ensure that your pawns remain safe throughout the game. This will enhance your chances of winning!

May the best man/woman win! Parcheesi is a game which is best played with enthusiasm. Some might even place money bets during festival season, but it is a fun family game which is played for entertainment.

YOUR AIM: Stay in the safe zone and protect your pawns. Push away the opponent’s pawns to the starting/home point.

The Pros And Cons of Playing Parcheesi

Every game in this world have a share of pros and cons. Some people like the game whereas others have a different taste. Before you starting playing Parcheesi, take a look at the pros and cons. This will help you decide whether you should be skipping it or playing it with your family and friends.

Pros:

  • In the busy world, everyone is constantly running in a rat race. It hardly gives you time to bond with your family. Over a sunny afternoon or a long night, play the Parcheesi Board Game with your near and dear ones.
  • Parcheesi is an excellent game that does not require a lot of skills. The rules are basic, and even small kids can understand how to play it.
  • The Parcheesi Game is a good way to sharpen your critical thinking skills. How do I capture the opponent? How do I quickly reach the home space? Several valid questions cloud up your mind.
  • Playing this particular game is a fun and constructive way to spend your precious time. There are many board games that do not bring anything to you. You can call it good way of ‘killing time’. But, Parcheesi is the type of game in which your brain is constantly thinking of the outcome. You just want the pawns to enter in the game. Plus, you are constantly praying to Lady Luck to get fives on your dice. It is a mentally intriguing and fun game to play.
  • Playing Parcheesi board game does not have negative effects for your eyes. When you play video games/phone games, it can still be damaging for your eyes (especially when you look at the screen for a long time).

Cons:

  • The game is highly addictive. You might spend so much time playing the game that you may not be able to keep track of time. Solution: It is good set aside 1-2 hours for playing the game.
  • The blockade part is irksome and time-consuming. The pawns have to wait for a long time for the blockade to open up. Solution: Patience is the key! The game teaches you great lessons about having patience in life.
  • It may be boring for some people who like fast-paced games.

Note: There is nothing harmful about the game. However, everything in excess can be bad for your health.

If you are playing with the dice and pawns, make sure your children do not ingest any part of it. This can be harmful for your kids.

Online Parcheesi For Gaming Enthusiasts

We live in a world where technology plays a massive role in bringing people together. Just in case you have some free time or wish to indulge in Parcheesi game, you can try out the online version as well.

There is scope of indulge in multiplayer Parcheesi game online. Moreover, you can also find a couple of Pachisi slots.

If you like playing games on-the-go, there are free play versions online. You can challenge your Facebook friends or even share the game with friends and family members.

The good thing about technology is that it brings you closer to people and bridges the distance between families. If you are living in another city or country, there is still scope for playing the game with your loved ones.

Simply start playing the online version with your friends, family, or even community of players. This way you can make some new friends, and socialize.

Difference Between Ludo & Parcheesi

There is a clear difference between Ludo and Parcheesi. For starters, Parcheesi is played with two dices, and Ludo is played with one dice. Since two dices are used for the Parcheesi game, high numbers are rolled in one-go.

Moreover, the board looks different in Parcheesi. In Ludo, there are arrows that point towards the finishing point. In Parcheesi, the board looks simplistic, and follows the classic design.

Note – Both Ludo and Parcheesi have taken inspiration from the Indian game ‘Pachisi.’

Both the games have a similar game play and closely resemble the Indian classic game.

Concluding Thoughts

Parcheesi is a highly entertaining game. There are no second thoughts about the entertainment factor.

You sit down with a board and gather your family members for a fun night.

All you need to do is get all the pawns in the home square. Breaking the blockage is YOUR job. In fact, you are the sole person who is responsible for protecting the pawns from opponents.

The game is addictive, and brings a sense of ‘friendly’ competitiveness between the players. Hence, we recommend it to families, friends, and even colleagues working at the same office.

We all grew up playing LUDO and Parcheesi. Sometimes, the lack of money would push us to create our ‘own’ Pachisi/Parcheesi board. Interestingly, the Pachisi or Chaupar design is used in interior/exterior designing and the architectural world as well.

Truly, our childhoods would have been completely different without this classic game. Kids learned the art of bonding with the family over a board game.

The credit goes to Pachisi game! Thanks to the great minds who took inspiration from the game and spread it across the globe. Parcheesi and Ludo are truly the all-time-family-favourites.

You will have a gala time playing this LUDO-centric game. Plus, it is a good break from the mundane chores of everyday life. So, get your own board, understand the rules, and start playing today.

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