Ladders and Board Games
Ladders are great and useful tools, and ones that we would certainly be stuck without.
Ladders are more prominent in our lives than we might think, and even feature in a number of board games and general games for children. Of course, there is one obvious one we can all think of, which will be included here, but there are more ladder related games than just Snakes and Ladders!
- Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders is an ancient Indian game, that has origins based on morality, and was used to teach children and adults what good and bad deeds were. The original game had â€œsquares of virtueâ€where the ladders represented good deeds, and the snakes represented the bad ones. The number of ladders is less than the number of snakes to remind us that the path to being a good and moral person is harder than leading a life of badness and sin. Reaching the last square on the board (100) represented the attainment of spiritual liberation.It was brought to England during the Victorian period and the meaning of the squares, ladders, and snakes were changed to fit English ideals as opposed to the Indian ones. They also altered the number of ladders and made them equal to the number of snakes as they felt this was more forgiving in terms of gameplay. The final concept displays that for every sin committed there is an equal chance at redemption. Over time, references and artistic similarities to the Indian game faded due to war and the collapse of the Empire.
- Chutes and Ladders
In the USA, they have Chutes and Ladders, a game that is considered to be more child friendly than its traditional counterpart. The snakes were replaced by slides and the game set in the playground so create a friendly atmosphere as the children did not react well to the initial inclusion of snakes at the time. The game did, however, include lessons in morality. The traditional board bore images of children doing good deeds near the ladders and reaping the rewards for them at the top of the box. Children who were mischievous were depicted at the top of the chutes (slides).The gameplay for this version of the classic game is also slightly different. In Snakes and Ladders, you would use dice to see how many squares you advance on the board, whereas in Chutes and Ladders you use a spinner to determine you space advancement.
A few years after its release, Chutes and Ladders became more commercialised and the concept of morals was removed, leaving us with the version played today.
- Chinese Ladders
This popular game is played by children in the playground or in interactive lessons. Some words are chosen as keywords and assigned to certain children. Once the words are assigned they then listen to a story while sitting on the floor in two rows (facing each other) with their legs stretched out and feet touching. This is how they make the ladder effect. When you say the studentâ€™s word they have to get up, run down the middle of the ladder (so over the â€œrungsâ€), around the ladder, and then back up from the bottom until they get back to their place. The fastest student gets a point for their team.So there you go â€“ ladder have been used for centuries to provide lessons in morality, fun and exercise! Who would have thought it? Can you think of any games we may have missed here? Let us know in the comments.