How Snakes and Ladders Has Evolved Over the Years

How Snakes and Ladders Has Evolved Over the Years

When technology had not peaked, people all around the globe loved indulging in different types of board games physically, i.e., using physical game boards and other equipment. However, people now prefer indulging in online iterations of board games like ludo, snakes and ladders, chess, etc., primarily because they offer numerous benefits to players as opposed to the orthodox offline version.

One such game is the online snakes and ladders board game. Besides offering players an immersive and enjoyable online gaming experience, iterations of the snakes and ladders board game online offer players exciting in-game bonuses and prizes, which further add to players’ experience.

Despite being centuries old, the classic board game remained evergreen, thanks to its appealing features. This article will shed light on the history of the board game and its evolution over the years. Let us begin:

Origination of Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders, the classic board game played by millions of individuals every day in distinctive modes, originated as a crucial part of a particular family of Indian dice board games. The famous collection of games, each of which used dice, also included numerous other similar games like Gyan Chauper and Pachisi, which now is referred to as ludo or the most popular game of all time.

From India, the game traveled to different parts of the globe. For starters, it reached the English subcontinent, where it came to be known as “Snakes and Ladders.” Due to its appealing features, it instantly became a hit among the masses. Then, from the U.K., the game traveled to the United States, where it was sold in the form of physical game boards under the name of “Chutes and Ladders.”

Evolution of the Classic Board Game Over the Years

The snakes and ladders board game that is popular among the masses today as a classic board game with appealing features was not always like this i.e., there have been numerous iterations of the game over the years. Based on the region they were played in, they had different features. Here is a deep dive into some of the most popular ones:

  • Moksha Patam – Ancient India

The first form of the classic snakes and ladders board game was Moksha Patam. Besides its name, the game featured concepts that were immensely different from that of today’s snakes and ladders board game. The game was found in ancient India, and back then, it was associated with multiple theories and postulates of the conventional Hindu philosophy.

Moksha Patam sheds light on the differences between crucial virtues, including the likes of karma (kama), destiny, and desire. This successor of the snakes and ladders board game focused heavily on destiny, which made it immensely different from other similar games of the time, like Pachisi, which was all about human life as a mix of skills and luck.

Back in the day, Moksha Patam was seen less as a game and more as a teaching tool. It was used to teach individuals the effects of doing good deeds versus evil deeds. The physical game board of Moksha Patam featured different types of symbolic images, including ones of gods, angels, flowers, etc.

Suggested Read: Snakes and Ladders originated in India

  •  Snakes and Ladders – England

 When Moksha Patam became a rage in ancient India, word about the game spread all around the globe. For starters, the game traveled to England around 1892, receiving immense love from the masses. However, this iteration of the game replaced Indian virtues and vices with English ones.

For starters, ladders present in the game became representatives of fulfillment, success, grace, contentment, etc. On the other hand, the virtues snakes represented were disobedience, laziness, indulgence, etc.

Moreover, as opposed to the Indian variant of the game, which featured more snakes than ladders, the English version featured an equal number of snakes and ladders. Besides being a tool for teaching individuals the importance of real-life morals, the English variant aimed at helping individuals, especially children, sharpen their mathematical skills.

  • Chutes and Ladders – United States of America

From England, the game traveled to leave its mark on the United States of America. Even though the concept reached the United States shortly after having a booming effect in England, the official American version of the game was launched by Milton Bradley in 1943.

However, there was one major change in the American variant. Instead of being called snakes and ladders, the board game featured the banner of “Chutes and Ladders.”

The chutes and ladders board game instantly became a hit. However, as opposed to the previous two iterations, the chutes and ladders game was popularized as a fun and enjoyable board game rather than being seen or used as a teaching tool.

Other Iterations of the Game

Once the game was popularized in America, numerous other regions around the world undertook the game’s concept under different names. Here is a brief look at two of them:

  • Shatranj al- ’urafa – Shatranj al- ’urafa was an iteration of the snakes and ladders game that became popular in countries where most Muslims resided, such as Iran, Turkey, etc.
  • Shap Shiri or Shapludu – The classic board game, with all its rules and features, was adopted and popularized in Bengali-speaking regions as “Shap Shiri” or “Shapludu.”

The classic snakes and ladders board game has had quite a journey since it originated numerous centuries ago. The game is still played and loved by millions worldwide, thanks to its top-tier features and functionalities.

Suggested Read: 10 Traditional Indoor Games in India

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.