Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders are a board game for two or more players acknowledged today as a worldwide classic. The game, known as Moksha Patam in ancient India, was introduced to the United Kingdom in the 1890s. This game is played on a gridded game board that has numbered squares. There are various "ladders" and "snakes" on the board, each linking two different board squares.

Object: The object of the game is to move one's game piece from the bottom (bottom square) to the top (top square) utilizing die rolls, ascending ladders, and avoiding tumbling down snakes. The Snakes and Ladders game is a basic race that is popular among young children and is dependent solely on luck.

Origin: The original version was based on morality lectures, in which a player's movement up the board reflected a life journey wrought with virtues (ladders) and vices (stairs) (snakes). The game is also known by various names, including Chutes and Ladders, Bible Ups and Downs, and others, some of which have a morality theme.

History of Snakes and Ladders

  • Snakes and Ladders board game originated in ancient India, where it was known as Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu.
  • It is unknown when or who originated it, but it is thought to have been played as early as the 2nd century BC.
  • Saint Gyandev, according to some historians, originated the game in the 13th century AD
  • Originally, the snake ladder game was designed to teach children about morality.
  • The squares on the snakes and ladders board where ladders begin were supposed to represent a virtue, while those with a snake's head were supposed to represent evil.
  • In the ancient Hindu game, the snakes outnumbered the ladders.
  • In the latter half of the nineteenth century, colonial rulers brought the game to England with minor adjustments.
  • The game was renamed Snakes and Ladders, and its moral and religious overtones were removed, as well as the number of ladders and snakes.
  • Chutes and Ladders was the name given to the game when it was first released in the United States in 1943.

 Names of Snakes and Ladders Game and Symbolism

  • Snakes and ladders came from a family of Indian Board and dice games called gyan chauper and pachisi (known in English as Ludo and Parcheesi).
  •  It found its way to England and was marketed as "Snakes and Ladders," before being renamed Chutes and Ladders in the United States.
  • The variant linked with Jain philosophy, Gyan chauper/jnan chauper (game of wisdom), included principles such as karma and Moksha.
  • Moksha Patam was the name given to the game in ancient India.
  • It was also linked to Hindu philosophy, which contrasted karma and kama, or fate and desire.
  • It placed a greater emphasis on fate than games like pachisi, which stressed life as a combination of talent, free will, and luck.
  • A variant of the game was introduced in Victorian England in 1892, based on the game's fundamental values.
  • The game has also been understood and utilized to teach the consequences of good and bad conduct.
  • The board was covered in symbolic imagery, with gods, angels, and majestic beings at the top and representations of animals, flowers, and humans covering the rest of the board.
  • The snakes signified vices such as desire, rage, murder, and theft, while the ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility.

  • The game's morality lesson was that doing good leads to salvation (Moksha), but doing evil leads to reincarnation as lower forms of existence.
  • The number of ladders was smaller than the number of snakes, as a reminder that walking the path of righteousness is far more difficult than walking the path of wickedness.
  • Reaching the last square (number 100) presumably signified the attainment of Moksha (spiritual liberation).
  • The Indian virtues and vices were replaced with English ones when the game was brought to England in the hopes of better representing Victorian morality ideals.
  • Ladders of Thrift, Penitence, and Industry led to Squares of Fulfillment, Grace, and Success, whereas snakes of Indulgence, Disobedience, and Indolence led to Illness, Disgrace, and Poverty.
  • While snakes outnumbered ladders in the Indian version of the game, the English version was more merciful because both were present in equal amounts.
  • With the return of colonial families from India during the British Raj, the snakes and ladders became associated with India and gyan chauper.
  • This link is reflected in the early English boardroom décor and art of the twentieth century.
  •  Due to the economic pressures of the war and the end of British control in India, there were very few graphic references to Indian culture by the 1940s.
  • The physical allusions to religious and philosophical philosophy in the game as shown in Indian models appear to have all but gone, despite the game's sense of morality lasting through generations.

  • A putative Buddhist variant of the game existed in India during the Pala-Sena period, according to evidence.
  • The Snakes and Ladders board game is known as Vaikunthapali or Paramapada Sopana Patam (the stairway to salvation) in Telugu in Andhra Pradesh.
  • This game is known as Saanp aur Seedhi, Saanp Seedhi, and Mokshapat in Hindi.
  • The game is known as parama padam in Tamil Nadu, and it is frequently performed by devotees of the Hindu god Vishnu during the Vaikuntha Ekadashi festival to keep them up during the night.
  • It is known as Shap Shiri or Shapludu in Bengali-speaking areas such as West Bengal in India and Bangladesh.
  • Faith (12), Reliability (51), Generosity (57), Knowledge (76), and Asceticism are the virtue squares in the original game (78). Disobedience (41), Vanity (44), Vulgarity (49), Theft (52), Lying (58), Drunkenness (62), Debt (69), Murder (73), Rage (84), Greed (92), Pride (95), and Lust are the squares of vice or evil (99)Snakes and Ladders

How Do You play Snakes and Ladders

Let us see how to snakes and ladders game below.

Snakes and Ladders

A board game that has become a worldwide classic! Avoid the snakes and take shortcuts up the ladders as you navigate your piece from beginning to end. This game's origins can be traced back to ancient India, where it was known as 'Moksha-Patamu.' Moving up the board reflected a player's spiritual path, which was complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).


  • Board of Snakes and Ladders.
  • 1 dice.
  • Pieces to play.

The grid size varies, but it is often 8*8, 10*10, or 12*12 squares. Snakes and ladders start and end on different squares on the board, which affects the length of play. A unique game piece token is used to represent each player. In the traditional mode of play, a single die is used to determine the random movement of a player's token; two dice may be used for a shorter game.


Each player will roll one die before the game begins, and the player who throws the highest number will take the first turn.


  • Each player is given a token on the starting square which is usually the "1" grid square in the bottom left corner, or simply off the board next to the "1" grid square.
  • Players take turns rolling a single die to move their token to a certain number of squares.
  • Tokens travel along a pre-determined path on the gameboard, which commonly follows a boustrophedon (ox-plow) track from the bottom to the top of the playing area, passing through each square once.
  • If a player's token lands on the lower-numbered end of a "ladder" after completing a move, the player pushes the token up to the ladder's higher-numbered tile.
  • If a player falls on a snake's higher-numbered square, the token must be moved down to the snake's lower-numbered square.
  • If a 6 is rolled, the player immediately moves and rolls again for another round; otherwise, the turn is passed to the next player in turn.
  • The winner is the first player to get their token to the last square on the track.

How to Play Snakes and Ladders is Explained in Detail Below?

Following the numbers on the board, players will move their pieces from left to right before advancing to the next row from right to left and repeating the procedure. As per the snakes and ladders rules, a player's piece will move four spaces if he or she rolls a four.


  • When a player's playing piece lands on the top of a snake, it will slide down to the snake's bottom.
  • When a player lands on the bottom of a snake, they will stay there until their next turn.


  • When a player lands at the bottom of a ladder, it instantly begins climbing to the top.
  • Landing at the top of a ladder, on the other hand, will keep the player there until the next turn. The gamer does not descend the ladder to the bottom.

Winning Snakes and Ladders

  • The first player to reach the 100th space on the board wins the game.
  • To win, the player must roll the exact number to reach the final space.
  • If a player rolls a number that is more than the number required to land exactly on 100, their piece does not move and remains in place until the next turn when they can roll again.
  • In some variations, a player must roll the exact number to reach the final tile.
  • If the die roll is too large, the token either stays in place or moves off the final square and back again, depending on the variation.
  • For example, if a player needs a 3 to win, the token advances three spaces ahead, then two spaces back.
  • In some cases (such as when a player rolls a 5 when a 1 is necessary to win), a player's move can result in them being further away from the last square than they were before.

The Bounce Back Variation

The game is won by the first player to reach the 100th space on the board. To win, the player must roll the correct number to reach the final space. The player's piece will bounce off the last space and travel back if the roll is too high. If a player needed four spaces to reach 100 and rolled a 6, the piece would travel four spaces to 100 and then "bounce back" two spaces to 98.

Rules to play Snakes and Ladders

Below are the snakes and ladders rules.

  • Each player places their counter on the start here' spot.
  • It's a game of taking turns rolling the dice.
  • Increase the number of spaces on your counter by the number of spaces shown on the dice.
  • You can transfer your counter to the top of a ladder if it lands at the bottom of one.
  • If your counter lands on a snake's head, you must slide down to the snake's tail.
  • The winner is the player who reaches the 'home' space first.
  • When a piece lands on a number that is on the top of a snake's face (face of the snake), the piece/token will fall to the bottom of the snake's tail (tail of the snake), which is considered an unfortunate move.
  • If the piece lands on the base of the ladder, it will quickly climb to the top (which is considered to be a lucky move).
  • If a player lands at the bottom of a snake or the top of a ladder, he or she will remain in the same location (same number) and will not be influenced by any rules.
  • The players will never be able to move down the ladders.
  • Different players' pieces can overlap each other without knocking anyone out. In Snakes and Ladders, there is no concept of being knocked out by your opponent.
  • The player must roll the exact amount of dice to land on the number 100 to win. If he or she fails to do so, the player must roll the die again the following turn.
  • If a player is on number 98 and the die roll indicates 4, the player cannot move his or her piece until he or she receives a 2 to win or a 1 to be on the 99th number.
  • The player who is the first to reach the board's top/final square (typically the number 100) wins.

Poker vs Snakes & Ladders

The following is the difference between poker and snakes and ladders.

  1. Poker is a card game. Whereas snakes and ladders are a board game.
  2. Poker is played in casinos. Whereas snakes and ladders are a game that is played indoors.
  3. Online poker is trending. You can play snakes and ladders online too.
  4. Poker is popularly played for real money game. Snakes and ladders are not as popularly played for real money gaming as poker.

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Snakes & Ladder FAQs

1.) What does the phrase Snakes and Ladders mean?

When climbing a ladder, you make rapid progress. You go back when you go down a snake.

2.) What is the rule of snake and ladder?

If your counter lands at the bottom of a ladder, you can climb to the top. If your counter strikes the head of a snake, you must slide down to its tail.

3.) What is Snakes and Ladders called now?

The other popular names of Snakes and Ladders are Chutes and Ladders and Bible Ups and Downs.

4.) What is the origin of Snakes and Ladders?

Snakes and Ladders originated in ancient India.