Ludo is a word derived from Latin "ludo", which means "I play". This is a strategy board game for two to four players, in which the players race their four game pieces from start to finish according to the rolls of a single (or double) die. Like other cross and circle games, Ludo is derived from the Indian game Pachisi, but simpler. The game and its variations are popular in many countries and under various names.
Jamaican Ludo Gameplay
Each player rolls the die; the player that throws a six on any one or more dice, begins the game. Example, if you throw two sixes on the dice, two game pieces begins at the start position, or one game piece can start and move six places. Players alternate turns in a clockwise direction. If the player has no game pieces yet in play and rolls other than a 6, the turn passes to the next player. Once a player has one or more game pieces in play, he selects a game piece and moves it forwards along the track the number of squares indicated by the die. Players must always move a game piece according to the die value rolled. Passes are not allowed; if no move is possible, the turn moves to the next player.
When a 6 is rolled, the player may choose to advance a game piece already in play, or may enter another staged game piece to its starting square. Rolling a 6 earns the player an additional or "bonus" roll in that turn. If the bonus roll results in a 6 again, the player earns an additional bonus roll. If the third roll is also a 6, the player may not move and the turn immediately passes to the next player. Players may not end their move on a square they already occupy (Not a universal rule). If the advance of a game piece ends on a square occupied by an opponent's token, the opponent game piece is returned to its owner's yard (Killed). The returned game piece can be reentered into play only when the owner rolls a 6. Unlike Pachisi, there are no "safe" squares on the game track which protect a player's game pieces from being returned. A player's home column squares are always safe, however, since no opponent may enter them.
Special Features of the Jamaican Ludo Variation
Jamaican Ludo is very similar to it's original ancestor, pachisi. However, many things separate the Jamaican Ludo Board from the original Pachisi.
1. The Jamaican Ludo/Ludi/Ludy Game board is generally larger. Typically a 24 inch x 24 inch board, often made by hand and in professional cases, by a manufacturer if sold in large quantities.
2. The Game layout is rather different, leaving more room for game pieces and players to move around visibly.
3. Jamaican Ludo Gameplay often has many more features like "Barrier", which means two game pieces from the same "yard" occupies the same spot.
4. The barrier described in #3 above can either allow a "barrier" to jump over the barrier with a double play of the dice (like throwing a double 4).
5. Another favorable addition is to allow a barrier to kill another barrier. So example, if a barrier is three spaces ahead, and another barrier is behind and throws a double three on the dice, the front barrier (both pieces) can be killed and sent to it's "Yard" and need to start again.
6. Team-up Mode is a gameplay mode where two or more players team up to keep another player's game pieces in it's yard until another player finishes the game. This is done to allow for a certain type of "Losing Title", such as "Born-less", "Heavy-Less", or "Dutty Shut/Shirt".
7. Lock On Stop is another gameplay mode that requires that two game pieces "Lock" on the home stretch position before game pieces can go home.
8. Born-less happens if the game ends and a player has all four game pieces in the "Yard" position with no game pieces on the board started.
9. Heavy-Less happens when a player has only one game piece in the "Home" spot.
10. Dutty Shut/Shirt happens when a player has game pieces on the board but none reach the home position.