Who Invented the Board Game Snakes and Ladders?
Snakes 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 having numbered, gridded squares. A number of “ladders” and “snakes” are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares.
The object of the game is to navigate one’s game piece, according to die rolls, from the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and snakes respectively.
The game is a simple race contest based on sheer luck, and is popular with young children. The historic version had root in morality lessons, where a player’s progression up the board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).
It’s believed that the game was played at a time as early as 2nd century BC. According to some historians, the game was invented by Saint Gyandev in the 13th century AD.
The game was transported to England by the colonial rulers in the latter part of the 19th century, with some modifications. The modified game was named Snakes and Ladders and stripped of its moral and religious aspects and the number of ladders and snakes were equalized. In 1943, the game was introduced in the US under the name Chutes and Ladders.