Games

Ligato – Play history in the DDR Museum

As Lothar Schubert in December 1984 wrote the rules of a new game, he didn’t guess yet, that his work would be published first 30 years later. Now everybody can play it on his smartphone or in the DDR Museum.
by Michael Geithner (28 Jan 2015)

As Lothar Schubert in December 1984 wrote the rules of a new game, he didn’t guess yet, that his work would be published first 30 years later. Now everybody can play it on his smartphone or in the DDR Museum.

Ligato is a tactical, agonal game, like draughts, mill game or chess. Two persons play with each six gaming pieces on a board with six squares in breadth and ten squares in length. After each player fielded his gaming pieces it is the aim to bring all your gaming pieces to the opposing base line and this before the opponent reached this. At the same time the game gets along without dices, because you move the gaming piece as far as gaming pieces stand in the row of the moving gaming piece. If the gaming piece stands alone, he’s only allowed to move one square forwards, if there are standing an own gaming piece and additional an opposing gaming piece in the same row (in total three gaming pieces) you can move three squares forwards or backwards. It sounds easy and fast and that’s it.

Game author Lothar Schuber from Riesa experienced with Ligato a story, how it only could happen in the GDR. After he had developed the game, he sold it 1987 to the game publisher VEB Berlinplast, which planned the production for 1989, so the plan required it. First in February 1990 the first three sample copies were printed. Then six months nothing happened anymore till the meanwhile converted Berlinplast GmbH in July canceled the production and sent Schubert one of the hand samples. It is today the only known game that still exists. The remaining two were lost in the chaos of the handling of Berlinplast.

In 2013 the game initiative “Nachgemacht – Spielkopien aus der DDR” rediscovered Ligato. During a visit to Lothar Schubert this video was produced that also shows the original Ligato: http://vimeo.com/47825193

“Nachgemacht” collects games which were handmade in the GDR and replicated the first time with Ligato a game. With their (present) means the eponymous app emerged, that can be downloaded free-to-play for iPhone and iPad. Here you can also play against the computer, collect badges and unlock the background story of the game. As a reward the player gets drawings (illustration: Alex Wohlrab) and original documents. The atmospheric music to the game was composed by Peter Drechsel. In the DDR Museum now each visitor can play Ligato against the computer or in the multiplayer mode against each other.

Try it the next time you visit us!

(Translation: Valerie Holbein)

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