Sugoroku - Board games to roll the dice


You know what it is sugoroku? Have you ever heard about those board games where you roll a dice to advance several squares and reach the end? There is no specific name for this type of game, but some refer to the name of the first invented western game called Snakes and Stairs.

In Japanese this game is called Sugoroku [双六], in this article we will see some curiosities about this game in Japan and in the West. The word sugo-roku [双 - 六] literally means pair [双] of six [六], probably referring to the 2 dice that are used to play (雙六 can also be written).

The word can be used to refer to any classic style game to roll the dice, advance squares and do what is written on each square. This word can also be used to refer to the traditional japanese board game look like the classic backgammon (ban-sugoroku).

Sugoroku - jogos de tabuleiro de jogar o dado


The Sugoroku story

The first bansugoroku game is similar to backgammon, with few differences, as well as the rules invented or rules cut every time we play something with someone different. The game is believed to have been introduced in China and brought to Japan in the 6th century. Like backgammon, gambling was banned because it became a game of chance.

Soon the betting game called chouhan [丁半] appeared and killed the traditional ban-sugoroku. In the late 13th century the traditional game of playing dice and moving houses on the board appeared in Japan using the name esugoroku. Thousands of boards were made with different themes involving religion, politics and even adult things.

At it was Meiji and other periods later, this style of play became so popular that it was frequently launched in children's magazines. With ban-sugoroku obsolete, the word sugoroku is almost always used to refer to board games of playing dice and moving houses.

Sugoroku - jogos de tabuleiro de jogar o dado

Different boards in sugoroku

There are thousands of current games that have revolutionized the board game style of playing double dice to advance houses, among them is the famous real estate bank games like Monopoly or game of life.


Elementary school kids often create sugoroku boards with challenges in every home where the unlucky one has to stop (episode 8 of asobi asobase). There are countless different ways to play, it can be just one die, it can be endless boards, there are no rules! You make up your rules!

In addition to the traditional board games of playing and moving dice, even video games used this lucky scheme to create their own board games like Mario Party, Kiteretsu Daihyakka and many Japanese spin-off games from different franchises that bear the name of sugoroku.

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