Board Game Reviews Snakes and Ladders

There are several variations available of this popular game, though it’s a game that has thrilled generations of children. The origination of the game is interesting and not known to many of its players. Originating in India, where the game had the name of Mokshapat, it is thought to have been played in the 2nd century BC, although others state that it was invented in the 13th century BC by a gentleman called Saint Gyandev. As with most games, this game was used to help children to develop social skills, and failure and success depended upon the role of the dice, just as it might in real life where each situation demands different responses, and setbacks are common, as well as advancement. It’s not surprising that the British brought the game back to the United Kingdom, while they were ruling India as a colony, and since then, the game has been adapted for the US market, and has been a popular game in that country since the early 1940s.

Available on Amazon in different formats, the game offers children the thrills and spills of success and failure, and presents a very good life lesson about winning and losing. The players each have their own counter which is placed on the board and which advances through the maze of numbers from one to one hundred, which is the ultimate winning place. However, their route through the board is not as simple as one might imagine, the hurdles being placed in their way being the snakes and the ladders.

Ladders are used for climbing, and thus advancement. Land on the bottom of a ladder, and the player gets the right to climb to the top of that ladder, thus gaining ground against their opponent. Land on a snake, and the reverse is true. The player will have to slide down the snake to the square which contains the snake’s tail and will lose ground.

Simplicity is the name of the game because the rules are so clear cut that children who are very young can understand the concept of going backward and forward. With the squares all being numbered, smaller children can also learn the significance of numbers and the order in which they are used in mathematics, easily counting from the square upon which their counter is placed toward the square where their dice dictates that they will go.

Although games such as this have been put to one side in favor of computer games, the merit of the board game is that it helps children develop social skills, taking positive and negative aspects into their stride as they make their way from one end of the board to the other.

To stimulate the interest of small children, the game now comes in a variety of styles, and for the younger generation, the three dimensional game allows the child to see the actions of sliding down the snake or climbing the ladder, as these elements are placed upon the board rather than being flat illustrations. The children gain fun from setting up the board and from seeing the effects of gravity when their piece is placed upon a snake or a ladder. This variation also changes the format of the game into a grid which winds up the board toward the end, rather than one which uses a standard grid. Other versions of the three dimensional Snakes and Ladders exist, though it’s important that parents look at the age recommendations, and note that many of the small parts can be swallowed by children who are too young.

Want to see those snakes come to life? The nearest you will get is with the version made for the iPad which incorporates wiggly snakes. This modern version shows the continuing pattern of value the game has, and provides kids with hours of entertainment. 

The American version of Snakes and Ladders is called Chutes and Ladders, and versions available in this game are original and may entertain children with specific interests. For example, the game comes in a Sesame Street theme, so that those kids interested in that TV program can gain more enthusiasm by knowing the characters and being familiar with the program.

On a par with games such as Candy Land, Snakes and Ladders is suited to children of all ages, though the games produced these days are aimed toward younger children, still in the throws of learning their numbers.

Snakes and Ladders has been a popular game for years, and those who wish to can even help their children to create their own version. What is needed is card, or an old box with a flat surface which is square, a felt tipped pen to create a grid and the imagination of a child to determine where the snakes and ladders should go. A dice is needed as when thrown, this determines which child goes first, and to which square they move. To start the game, a child needs to throw a six, and players cannot commence until this is achieved. The counters can be made from almost anything from cardboard cutouts to large buttons of different colors. The important thing is that the counters themselves should be different, so that players can distinguish which counter belongs to them.

Overall conclusion

When you look at the history of Snakes and Ladders, its popular appeal speaks for itself. For generations, children have incorporated this game into their childhood at some stage, and as the iPad version is now available, no doubt, other versions will follow which take into account modern technology as it emerges. A top favorite and one which will still be played for many more years.