Snakes and Ladders (or Chutes and Ladders) is an ancient Indian board game regarded today as a worldwide classic. It is played between two or more players on a game board havingnumbered, gridded squares. A number of "ladders" and "snakes" (or "chutes") are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares. The object of the game is to navigate one's game piecefrom the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and snakes, respectively. The historic version had root in morality lessons, where a player's progression upthe board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).
The simplicity and seesawing nature of the contest make the game popular with younger children, but the lackof any skill component makes the game less appealing for older players.
The size of the grid (most commonly 8×8, 10×10, or 12×12) varies from board to board, as does the exactarrangement of the snakes and ladders, with both factors affecting the duration of play. As a result, the game can be represented as an absorbing Markov chain. Random dice rolls determine game piecemovement in the traditional form of the game.
Snakes and Ladders originated in India as part of a family of dice board games, including pachisi (modern day Ludo). It was known as moksha pAtam orvaikunthapaali or paramapada sopaanam (the ladder to salvation). The game made its way to England and was sold as Snakes and Ladders, then the basic concept was introduced in the United States asChutes and Ladders (an "improved new version of England's famous indoor sport") by game pioneer Milton Bradley in 1943.
The game as popularly played in ancient India was known as Moksha Patam, andemphasized the role of fate or karma. A Jain version, Gyanbazi, dates to the 16th century. The game was called Leela and reflected the Hinduism consciousness surrounding everyday life. Impressed by the...