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Snakes And Ladders- An Educational Board Game For Your Children

What a wonderful game “Snakes and Ladders” is, wouldn’t you agree? I am sure you would like to know where this game came from. Well, let me tell you all the major facts about this magical extraordinary game.

This ancient board game originated in India and was originally known as “Mokshapat”. It was also known by many other names like Paramapada Sopaanam, Vaikunthapaali. Invented by a Hindu Saint Gyandev, the snakes in the game indicated vices and the ladders represented virtues. The game was played with dices and cowrie shells in ancient days. The game of snakes and ladders was also called as “Leela” which reflected the Hinduism awareness around everyday life. Gradually, the game endured several modifications, but its meaning remained the same. Known by the name of “ladder to salvation”, the game made its perilous journey to Victorian England where a brand new version was introduced by John Jacques in the year 1892. In 1943, it made its way into the USA and was then given the name Snakes and ladders.

In the original game, the squares of virtue are:

Generosity (57), Asceticism (78), Reliability (51), Knowledge (76) and Faith (12)

The squares of evil are:


Vanity (44), Rage (84), Lying (58), Disobedience (41), Theft (52), Pride (95), Lust (99), Greed (92), Murder (73), Debt (69), Vulgarity (49), and Drunkenness (62)

Game’s Philosophy

Mokshapatam was linked with traditional Hindu philosophy contrasting destiny and desire. The game has also been inferred and used as a tool to teach the effects of good acts versus bad ones. The number of ladders is less than the number of snakes as a reminder that a path of goodness is not easy to attain as compared to the path of sins. The last number on the board, which is 100, signifies the salvation. The main aim of the game is to reach number 100.

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How to play Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders is a board game usually played by children. Follow the following rules and enjoy the game!

  1. Comprehend the objective of the game: The main aim of the game is to be the first player to reach the last square, 100 by moving across the board from First Square to the final one. So, for this you have to move left to right across the first row and then move up to the second row, and so on. You need to follow the number on the dice and move forward. For instance, if you are positioned on square number 11 and rolled a five, then you need to move your game piece to square number 16.
  1. Who will start the game? Decide it first: Roll the dice and see who gets the highest number. Whoever rolls the highest number gets to take the first turn. After the first player takes a turn, the person sitting on the left side will take a turn. In this way, the game continues in a circle going left.
  1. Roll the dice and move on: Take your turn and read the number on the die. Pick up the game piece and move forward.
  1. Ladder Challenge: The ladders in the game of Snakes and Ladders allow you to move up in the board game. In case you are positioned exactly on a square with the foot of a ladder, then you need to move your game piece all the way up to the top of the ladder. You never move down the ladders.
  1. Slide down snakes: If a player lands on a square having the head of a snake, then the player must automatically move down to the tail of the snake thus losing the position.
  1. Roll a six! Take an extra turn: If you roll a die and you get a six, then you get an extra turn. Move your piece forward six squares and again roll the die. Move up or down and follow the instructions in case you land up on any ladder or a snake. Roll the die again to take your extra turn.
  1. Land on the last square, 100 to WIN: The first player to reach the highest square i.e. 100 on the board is the winner.
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What’s great about this game? It’s actually a game that anyone of any age can play. Above all, the game of Snakes and Ladders triggers two emotions viz hope and despair.

Give a try, keep the dice rolling and reach Salvation!

Featured Photo: Snakes and Ladders by jacqui.brown33 under CC BY-SA 2.0

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