top of page

Chutes and Ladders - Dastardly Review #030

Updated: Jul 2, 2018

Chutes and Ladders is one of those games that we never played much...why? It is 100% luck based. No skill. Nothing learned. No strategy. Nothing. Oh...roll and move. Exciting. Or spin a spinner and move. Even more challenging.

Why are all those smiling, happy kids dotting the board? And why are they doing such good things? Yes...beware the subliminal messages in this game!

Chutes and Ladders is the Americanized version of the English game Snakes and Ladders. And Snakes and Ladders was copied from the ancient Indian game Moksha Patam. Moksha means salvation. Even way, way back this game was really about good v evil. The 100 squares were full of notations about doing good or the power of evil. The ladders represented following the path of good decisions and ultimately achieving salvation. The player moved up to higher and higher numbered squares. The evil snakes sent you sliding down (yes...sometimes to the very, very bad place...square one!) There were more snakes and routes away from salvation than ladders leading upwards because the path to salvation is difficult.

Some guy named Milton Bradley brought the game over from England in 1943. He renamed it Chutes and Ladders, changed the morality notations to pictures of kids smiling and doing good things and finally replaced snakes with brightly colored slides (evidently kids prefer slides over poisonous fangs).

Where does that leave Chutes and Ladders? A long, running classic game that is 100% luck.

The Good: Chutes and Ladders gave us the phrase “back to square one.”

The Bad: MB got rid of the snakes.

The Dastardly: A game that teaches about the path to salvation is 100% luck based! A player makes no decisions to win and achieve salvation. It is all in the luck of the roll

bottom of page