THE photo showing Prince Harry playing Uckers (Yorkshire Post, January 28) is the first time that I have ever seen that word in print since I first had anything to do with the game, in the early 50s.
It is of course a game for adults and Ludo is the child’s game. As I understand it, the rules are the same, the differences being the language used and the size and durability of the boards used.
So far as I am aware, the Uckers board, having the same layout as the Ludo board, is not commercially available, and all those that I have ever seen were locally hand made, approximately two feet square and the counters the size of draught counters, having been cut from a broom handle.
I still have the one I made in 1952 and occasionally bring it into use when visitors are staying.
It was invaluable in helping our children learn to count and count quickly, and to learn how to be a good loser, but of course, it has been showing its age for some time now.
Over the years, I have made a number of Uckers boards using draughts counters suitably coloured, and they have found homes in Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Australia and southern England.
In my earlier years, the tale was being told of Uckers being played on an aircraft carrier flight deck suitably marked out, the counters of course being servicemen wearing suitably coloured upper garments.
When it came to forming a block (a term used in the game), one man had to be carried on the back of another. Although I didn’t experience it myself, I would loved to have done so, and I imagine many a bet was lost or won.
My guess is that if it did happen, then that was the origin of the name of the game.
I wish Prince Harry the very best at Uckers, but he must get his strategy worked out first.