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Jamaican Ludi / Ludo
#1 Jamaican Board Game!

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by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

So you are walking on the beach right, it's a cool evening, people are out just chilling and enjoying themselves. You happen to come upon a group of people sitting under a tree, huddling around a table with a big colorful board at the center.

Suddenly there is a loud outburst and the entire group erupts in boisterous laughter, more colourful words from the Jamaican vocabulary are being used and threats are being shouted.

Donโ€™t be fearful, do not panic, they are simply playing an intense game of Ludi, one of the most loved Jamaican board game ๐Ÿ˜Š

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Most if not all Jamaicans would think that the game was created by us. But just as our motto says, out of many one people, it is true to our culture.

Our countryโ€™s people can trace their ethnicities back to many different countries and thus our culture is made up of many different cultures from around the world.

We then take that and make it into something that is quite unique to Jamaica and our people. The Ludi or Ludo as it is originally called, is a prime example of that. 

Where Did Ludi Originate?

The game actually originated in India. It is a version of the traditional Indian game Pachisi. When it got to England in 1896, modifications were made and the game was rebranded, Ludo.

These changes to the original game were made by a Mr. Alfred Collier who it is said, claimed he invented the game.

What Does The Jamaican Ludi Board Look Like?


In the Jamaican version of the game the board is usually painted in red, black, green and yellow, a mixture of the colours from our national flag or the Rastafarian flag.

Most times the home bases have the same as popular Jamaican restaurants, animals, attractions, cities or Jamaican parishes.

How Do You Play Jamaican Ludi Board Game?

Alright! So, you are fascinated enough by the game and want to give it a try and play with your family and friends.

Here are the basic rules you need to keep in mind and steps to playing this Jamaican board game.

How many dice do you need to play Ludi?

To play Ludi or Ludo, it is required for each player to have 2 dice.

The game can also be played with a single die but playing with two gives the player the added advantage or higher probability to be "born" faster, which is basically getting your first piece or what us Jamaicans like to call "man" on the board and to also make bigger moves on the board.

Each player gets 4 men (counters) to move on the board. Each square is a player's base and each triangle a player's home.

The aim of the game is for each player to get all four of their counters to home. The first player to accomplish that wins. Easy right?

Ludi Board Game - The Jamaican Rules

Select your home/base/colour then place your counters at the starting point.

To determine who goes first, players take turns rolling the dice, the person with the highest outcome goes first.

The game will then go in a clockwise order starting with that player. This does count as a turn, and players are not allowed to move their counters just yet.

  1. To begin the game, players must roll the dice on the board for it to be valid. If the dice falls off the board, the turn is passed to the next player.

  2. To get a counter on the board you need to roll a 6. If you are using 2 dice, then you must roll 6 on at least one die.

  3. If you do not roll a 6, the play or turn passes to the next player and you will have to try again on your next turn.

  4. Once you have moved a piece forward, each roll of the dice tells you how many moves you can make. You are not allowed to turn back, you can only make clockwise moves in the direction of your home.

  5.  If you roll a 6 you can choose to move another counter from your base (starting point) or move a counter already on the board forward. Throwing a 6 also gives you an extra chance to roll the dice. 

  6. A player's single counter/man can be captured by another player if it moves onto the same square. This will send the first player's counter back to the starting point where he will need to be born again to enter the game. 

  7. To get your piece into your home, you must roll the exact number of squares on the dice that you need to move into your home. If you roll a higher number than you need you must either move another piece on the board or pass the play to the next player and wait for your next turn.

  8. If you don't create a block when you are close to entering your home, you run the risk of having another player capture your piece.

You might be wondering what a block is. Let me explain.

Blocks are created when a player places to of their counters onto the same square. Only the creator of the block is allowed to land on or move around the block.

All other players will be forced to stop their counters behind the block until the player who created the block decides to move one of their pieces.

A block can also be formed on another player's starting point or gate, keeping that player's counters from moving forward.

Ludi is great for playing with your entire family, age is not a concern, and may heighten or develop your strategic thinking skills. If you are staying at a villa, or guesthouse they probably will have a Ludi board around.

Or you can try buying a replica of the Jamaican Ludi board from a giftshop in Jamaica or from our online store here.

You might like these

Other Pages Related To Jamaican Ludi

You will also find these pages quite helpful as well:

Return to Jamaican Games from Jamaican Ludi
Return to My Island Jamaica Homepage from Jamaican Ludi

References & Sources For Jamaican Ludi

  1. How to Play Ludo,
  2. How Pachisi, An Indian Board Game, Became Ludo | Madras Courier,
  3. How to Play Ludi JAMAICAN RULES,
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