Rules of Express Parcheesi

How to play Express Parcheesi

Ludo is one of the most popular board games in the world. For many years it has been enjoyed by both adults and children, and by people from all walks of life.

The rules for Ludo vary from place to place, but there are some basic rules that stay the same. Here we explain the rules for Ludo Express.

  • It is a four-player game.
  • It is played using a board, four counters per player and two dice.
  • Players are identified by their colours (each player has one of four colours), which is the same colour as their starting square and the first square as they leave base – known as a safe spot.
  • Play consists of moving your counters around the board the number of squares indicated by rolling the dice. The winner is the first player to get all of their counters home.
  • A maximum of two counters can occupy one square at a time, belonging to either the same player or different players.
  • Rolling a double grants another roll. However, if another double is rolled, the player must return whichever of their counters is in the lead to base.

The board is made up like this:

  • There are four starting points, one in each corner. These are the bases that players remove their counters from.
  • The aim. There is a square in the middle of the board. This is where players must get their counters in order to win. There are four entry points, one for each player.
  • The track. This is the track of squares that directs the course of play. These are the white squares.
  • Safe spots. These coloured squares are found at the exit points (the first square as you leave base) and are distributed around the board, separated by five spaces, and seven on the bends. The safe spots by the exit points are the colour of the player whose base it is and are only for their use. The other safe spots are neutral and can be used by any player.


To leave base you cannot simply roll the dice and start play. There are certain rules.

  • You can only remove a counter from base and commence play if you roll a 5. If you roll a double 5, you can remove two counters.
  • The first square as you exit is a safe spot for your counter. If that square is occupied when you exit base, that player must remove their counter and return it to base because they have been “taken”.


There are a few rules to bear in mind when moving your counters around the board:

  • The number rolled on the dice is the number of squares that you may move a selected counter already in play.
  • In this version of Ludo, you do not have to roll the exact number of spaces to win. For example, if you need a 2 to reach home and you roll a 4, your counter will still reach the finish line.


  • Being captured by another player is the most frustrating part of Ludo. When a player lands on the same square as another player, that player is “taken” and they must return their counter to base.
  • The fact that players can take each other means that there are some hilarious chases in Ludo, generating some serious rivalry.
  • A counter cannot be “taken” as long as it occupies a safe spot.


Rewards in Ludo come in the form of squares:

  • When a player takes another player’s counter, they receive a reward of 20 squares. These 20 reward squares cannot be used to advance the counter that “took” the other player’s counter; they must be used to advance another counter.
  • When a counter reaches home, that player receives 10 reward squares that they can use to advance another counter.


A player can block another player by placing two counters on the same safe spot or white square. This prevents other players from passing. However, despite delaying opponents from advancing, it also prevents the two counters occupying the spot from advancing. Players must therefore think carefully about blocking. A block can be passed by rolling a 6.

If a block is made with counters of different colours, players are not prevented from passing but can pass over the block.

Parcheesi Rules
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