Special areas of the Ludo board are typically coloured bright yellow, green, red, and blue. Each player is assigned a colour and has four tokens of matching colour. The board is normally square with a cross-shaped playspace, with each arm of the cross consisting of three columns of squares—usually six squares per column. The middle columns usually have five squares coloured; these represent a player's home column. A sixth coloured square not on the home column is a player's starting square. At the centre of the board is a large finishing square, often composed of coloured triangles atop the players' home columns
Each player rolls the die, the highest roller begins the game. Players alternate turns in a clockwise direction.
To enter a token into play from its yard to its starting square, a player must roll a 6. If the player has no tokens yet in play and rolls other than a 6, the turn passes to the next player. Once a player has one or more tokens in play, he selects a token and moves it forwards along the track the number of squares indicated by the die. Players must always move a token 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 token already in play, or, may enter another staged token 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. If the advance of a token ends on a square occupied by an opponent's token, the opponent token is returned to its owner's yard. The returned token may only be reentered into play when the owner rolls a 6.