Mandavoshka, the Russian Ludo
May 23, 2011
Posted by on
This is something I just came across and don’t know much about yet: There is a specifically Russian version of Pachisi/Ludo (cross-and-circle, if you prefer the more generic term) called Mandavoshka. The Russian Wikipedia has no article about it, just a subsection on the Parchís page. According to that, it is usually played with two dice and five tokens per player, but rules vary locally.
The name is a bit strange. According to the Alternative Russian Dictionary, мандавошка is a genital louse, but the word is often used to name any unknown insect. A google search brings all kinds of weird results, obviously some people use it as a screen name too.
The social status seems to be quite different from similar games outside India. The English Ludo, the German Mensch ärgere Dich nicht, the American Sorry! are first and foremost considered children’s games, their boards are printed on cardboard in bright colors. The Ludo index is now about the most colorful page on my old site. But Mandavoshka boards are often crafted in wood, more like chess boards, lovely pieces of folk art. Here are some pictures I found on Russian boards (if I violate anybody’s copyright, please leave a comment, and I’ll remove the offending pic):
This seems to be the traditional board layout. There is another one which I’ll call the modern layout, since the boards tend to be simpler and more in the modern style:
This is about all I know for now. I’ll see if I can find some computer implementations.