Last updated
Man and woman playing ban-sugoroku
(from Hikone Screen) Hikone Sugoroku.jpg
Man and woman playing ban-sugoroku
(from Hikone Screen)

Sugoroku(雙六 or 双六) (literally 'double six') refers to two different forms of a Japanese board game: ban-sugoroku (盤双六, 'board-sugoroku') which is similar to western backgammon, and e-sugoroku (絵双六, 'picture-sugoroku') which is similar to western Snakes and Ladders. [1]

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Board game game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules

A board game is a tabletop game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Some games are based on pure strategy, but many contain an element of chance; and some are purely chance, with no element of skill.

Backgammon one of the oldest board games for two players

Backgammon is one of the oldest known board games. Its history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archeological discoveries in the Middle East, originally in Iran. It is a two player game where each player has fifteen pieces (checkers) which move between twenty-four triangles (points) according to the roll of two dice. The objective of the game is to be first to bear off, i.e. move all fifteen checkers off the board. Backgammon is a member of the tables family, one of the oldest classes of board games.



Ban-sugoroku plays identically to backgammon (it even has the same starting position), except for the following differences:

The game is thought to have been introduced from China (where it was known as Shuanglu) into Japan in the sixth century.

China State in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

It is known that in the centuries following the game's introduction into Japan it was made illegal several times, most prominently in 689 and 754. This is because the simple and luck-based nature of sugoroku made it an ideal gambling game. This version of sugoroku and records of playing for gambling continuously appeared until early Edo era. In early Edo-era, a new and quick gambling game called Chō-han (丁半) appeared and using sugoroku for gambling quickly dwindled.

Chō-Han Bakuchi or simply Chō-Han (丁半) is a traditional Japanese gambling game using dice.

This variant of the backgammon family has died out in Japan and most other countries, with the Western style modern backgammon (with doubling-cube) having some avid players.


E-Sugoroku (1925) Sugoroku2500.jpg
E-Sugoroku (1925)

A simpler e-sugoroku, with rules similar to snakes and ladders, appeared as early as late 13th century and was made popular due to the cheap and elaborate wooden block printing technology of the Edo period. Thousands of variations of boards were made with pictures and themes from religion, political, actors, and even adult material. In the Meiji and later periods, this variation of the game remained popular and was often included in child-oriented magazines. With ban-sugoroku being obsolete, today the word sugoroku almost always means e-sugoroku.

Other Sugoroku games

Many sugoroku-based video games were released, including: Kiteretsu Daihyakka: Chōjikū Sugoroku , Sugoroku Ginga Senki, Battle Hunter , Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Sugoroku , Dokodemo Hamster 4: Doki Doki Sugoroku Daibouken!, Hello Kitty: Minna de Sugoroku , Gotouchi Hello Kitty Sugoroku Monogatari , Yu-Gi-Oh! Sugoroku's Board Game , Family Pirate Party , Hidamari Sketch: Doko Demo Sugoroku x 365 , and PictureBook Games: Pop-Up Pursuit .

<i>Battle Hunter</i> 1999 video game

Battle Hunter, known in Japan as Battle Sugoroku: Hunter and in Europe as The Hunter, is an anime-styled tactical role-playing game, released for the PlayStation in 1999. It was released in Japan as part of the SuperLite 1500 series of budget games. The game revolves around a player-controlled hunter that must compete with three other hunters in order to win a relic, and makes heavy use of traditional RPG conventions such as dice and tile-based movement.

Hello Kitty fictional character

Hello Kitty, also known by her full name Kitty White, is a fictional cartoon character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, created by Yuko Shimizu and currently designed by Yuko Yamaguchi. She is depicted as a female Gijinka with a red bow and, notably, no mouth. According to her backstory, she is a perpetual 3rd-grade student who lives outside London. According to Sanrio, she is not a cat: she is simply a cartoon character. Sanrio announced in 2018 that Hello Kitty's birthday is 1 November. Since the cartoon character's creation, Hello Kitty has a media franchise including a product line, clothing apparel, toy-line, manga comics, anime series, popular music, and other media.

<i>Family Pirate Party</i> video game

Family Pirate Party is a pirate-themed party video game developed by Arc System Works for WiiWare. It was released in Japan on January 17, 2009, and later, released in North America on May 11, 2009 and the PAL region on July 30, 2010.

The video game Samurai Warriors 2 features a mini-game named Sugoroku, but it bears very little resemblance to traditional Sugoroku. Instead, it plays very much like Itadaki Street , Wily & Right no RockBoard: That's Paradise , or a simplified version of Monopoly : players take turns in moving around a board, the spaces of which are designated as different territories of Japan. By landing on an unoccupied space, the player is able to buy that space for a set amount of money. If one player lands on a space purchased by another, they must pay a fee to that player, or else can choose to challenge the player for control of that space (utilising the main Samurai Warriors 2 game engine for special challenge games). Also present on the board are "Shrine" spaces, which are roughly analogous to Monopoly's Chance and Community Chest spaces.

<i>Samurai Warriors 2</i>

Samurai Warriors 2 is a sequel to the original Samurai Warriors, created by Koei and Omega Force. The game was released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, and ported to Microsoft Windows in 2008. Like the Dynasty Warriors series, an Empires expansion was released as well, and an Xtreme Legends expansion followed on August 23, 2007 in Japan. The game, alongside its two expansions, Xtreme Legends and Empires also receive a HD-enhanced port for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita under the name Sengoku Musou 2 with Moushouden & Empires: HD Version.

<i>Wily & Right no RockBoard: Thats Paradise</i> 1993 video game

Wily & Right no RockBoard: That's Paradise is a spin-off video game title in the original Mega Man series from Capcom. It is a business simulation game that is similar to board game Monopoly, in which players and the computer AI take turns going around a set of connected squares, buying up property, and charging other participants rent when they land on those spaces.

<i>Monopoly</i> (game) Board game about property trading and management

Monopoly is a board game that is currently published by Hasbro. In the game, players roll two six-sided dice to move around the game board, buying and trading properties, and developing them with houses and hotels. Players collect rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them into bankruptcy. Money can also be gained or lost through Chance and Community Chest cards, and tax squares; players can end up in jail, which they cannot move from until they have met one of several conditions. The game has numerous house rules, and hundreds of different editions exist, as well as many spin-offs and related media. Monopoly has become a part of international popular culture, having been licensed locally in more than 103 countries and printed in more than 37 languages.

Related Research Articles

Dice throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random outcomes

Dice are small throwable objects that can rest in multiple positions, used for generating random numbers. Dice are suitable as gambling devices for games like craps and are also used in non-gambling tabletop games.

Snakes and Ladders board game

Snakes and Ladders is an ancient Indian board game regarded today as a worldwide classic. It is played between two or more players on a gameboard having numbered, gridded squares. A number of "ladders" and "snakes" are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares. The object of the game is to navigate one's game piece, according to die rolls, from the start to the finish, helped or hindered by ladders and snakes, respectively.

Tables (board game) class of board games

Tables is a general name given to a class of board games similar to backgammon, played on a board with two rows of 12 vertical markings called "points". Players roll dice to determine the movement of pieces. Tables games are among the oldest known board games, and many variants are played throughout the world.

Hypergammon is a variant of backgammon.

Acey-deucey game similar to backgammon

Acey-deucey is a variant of backgammon. Since World War I, it has been a favorite game of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine. Some evidence shows that it was played in the early 1900s aboard U.S. Navy ships. The game is believed to be rooted in the Middle East, Greece, or Turkey, where there were variants in which the game started with pieces off the board.

Snake eyes rolling double ones in a dice game, particularly craps

In gambling in general and the game of craps in particular, snake eyes is the outcome of rolling the dice in a game and getting only one pip on each die. The pair of pips resembles a pair of eyes, which is appended to the word snake because of the creature's long-standing association with treachery and betrayal. The dictionary of etymology traces use of the term as far back as 1919. Ancient Roman dice games used the term dogs to describe a throw of double ones, referring to this as "the dog throw".


Plakoto is a tables game popular in Greece. The object of Plakoto is for the player to bring all their checkers around to their own home board and then bear them off. The player who bears off all of his checkers first wins the game. This game is usually played along with two other variants, Fevga and Portes. Together these three games are called Tavli, and are played in sequence usually one after the other. They have matches of three, five or seven points. A Bulgarian version of Plakoto is known as Tapa. And also as Tsilido, in Cyprus.

Indoor games and sports are a variety of structured forms of play or competitive physical activity, typically carried out either in the home or in specially constructed indoor facilities.

<i>Clubhouse Games</i> video game

Clubhouse Games, known in parts of Europe as 42 All-Time Classics and in Japan as Daredemo Asobi Taizen, is a compilation video game consisting of card, board, and parlor games developed by Agenda and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console. It was first released in Japan on November 3, 2005, in Europe on September 29, 2006, in North America on October 9, 2006, and in Australia on October 26, 2006.

Tapa (Тапа) is a version of Backgammon played in Bulgaria and Macedonia. It is also played in Greece, where it is known as Plakoto. The word tapa means bottle cap.

<i>Goemon Mononoke Sugoroku</i> 1999 video game

Goemon: Mononoke Sugoroku is a video game for the Nintendo 64, released in 1999. The game is based on the Goemon series and despite the series' relative popularity in the west for the system, the game was released only in Japan.

Race game is a large category of board games, in which the object is to be the first to move all one's pieces to the end of a track. This is both the earliest type of board game known, with implements and representations dating back to at least the 3rd millennium BC in Egypt, Iraq, and Iran; and also the most widely dispersed: "all cultures that have games at all have race games." Race games often use dice to decide game options and how far to move pieces.


Ssangryuk is a traditional Korean game.

In backgammon, there are a number of strategies that are distinct to match play as opposed to money play. These differences are most apparent when a player is within a few points of winning the match.

Gacha games are video games that adapt and virtualize the "gacha" mechanic. In the monetization of video games, it is similar to loot boxes, in inducing players to spend money. Most of these games are free-to-play mobile games. In Gacha games, players spend virtual currency, which can be from a machine; however real money is usually eventually spent to obtain the virtual currency and opportunities to use it.

Kontra or Contra is a term used in certain card games of Central European origin that is called by players to raise the stakes. It is the equivalent of "double" in other games. The term comes from the Latin word, contra, which means "against". In German there is also a verb, kontrieren, which means "to double" or "to announce 'Kontra'".


  1. Rebecca Salter (2006). "Japanese Popular Prints: From Votive Slips to Playing Cards". University of Hawaii Press. p. 164.