Who invented Snakes and Ladders?

Snakes and ladders origin - Moksha Patam

Snakes and Ladders board game was originally created by Sant Dnyaneshwar, a Marathi saint and philosopher, with the purpose of imparting moral lessons to children and highlighting the repercussions of their actions. Over time, the game evolved and was introduced to England in the late 19th century.

In today’s world, Snakes and Ladders have transitioned into the digital realm, and you can conveniently enjoy the game online. In the realm of popular games, Snakes and Ladders, along with Ludo, is another online dice board game that has left a notable impression. What’s more? You can even win real money by playing Snakes and Ladders online! Watch the video below to learn the online gameplay for money:

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This blog post is your ultimate guide to understanding who invented snakes and ladders and how this timeless game has transformed through the ages.

Moksha Patam: The Inception of Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders, also known as ‘Chutes and Ladders’ in some parts of the world, can trace its origins back to ancient India. It was initially known as “Moksha Patam” or “Moksha Patamu,” a game designed to impart moral and spiritual lessons. In its earliest form, the game was used as a tool for teaching morality and ethics. The ladders represented virtues, while the snakes symbolized vices. Players aimed to climb the ladders, representing their journey towards enlightenment and salvation while avoiding the snakes that led to spiritual downfall.

Moksha Patam: Origin of Snakes and Ladders

Moksha Patam Game Parts

  • Game Board: It had a grid of squares, usually 72 or 100 in total, arranged in rows and columns. The board represented a spiritual journey from the bottom to the top. Some squares had special illustrations of virtues, while others showed vices. These virtues and vices were represented by images of animals, deities, or other symbols.
  • Tokens: Players used small tokens or markers to represent themselves on the game board. Each player had their own token, and these tokens were placed at the starting point of the game board.
  • Dice or Cowrie Shells: Traditionally, cowrie shells were used as dice. Players would toss these shells to determine how many squares they could move on their turn. The number of shells landing with the open side up determined the player’s move.

Moksha Patam Gameplay

Here are the steps to play Moksha Patam:

  1. Players took turns to roll the dice or cowrie shells and then moved their tokens forward on the board according to the number rolled.
  2. If a player landed on a square with a ladder, they could ascend to the higher square, representing a virtuous deed and progress on their spiritual journey.
  3. Conversely, if they landed on a square with a snake, they would descend to the lower square, symbolizing a vice or setback.
  4. The game emphasized the consequences of one’s actions, teaching moral lessons along the way.
  5. The goal was to reach the top of the board, which represented spiritual enlightenment or Moksha. The first player to reach this square was considered the winner.

Moksha Patam was not just a game; it was a way to teach moral values and life lessons through gameplay. It illustrated that our choices could lead us toward spiritual growth (represented by climbing ladders) or away from it (represented by descending on snakes).

Evolution of Moksha Patam

As time passed, Moksha Patam made its way to the Western world and underwent several changes in name and purpose. It gained popularity as a family board game and started to be known by its present name, Snakes and Ladders.

The transformation of Moksha Patam into the modern Snakes and Ladders game we know today is a fascinating journey that took place in the late 19th century. Here’s the story of how this evolution occurred:

Introduction to Great Britain

  • Towards the end of the 19th century, India’s colonial rulers introduced the game of Moksha Patam to Great Britain.
  • The original gameplay was retained, but the moral and spiritual lessons central to Moksha Patam did not play a significant role in the modified version.
  • In the modern Snakes and Ladders game, the specific significance of individual board squares, whether representing virtues or vices, was diminished. The focus shifted more toward recreational gameplay.
  • In contrast to the older version, where snakes outnumbered ladders, the modified game had an equal number of snakes and ladders.

Journey to the United States

  • From Great Britain, the game made its way to the United States, where it was introduced in 1943 by Milton Bradley as “Chutes and Ladders.”
  • In 1892, Frederick Henry Hayes, a renowned toymaker from Aldgate, London, patented the game. By this time, the moral and religious aspects intrinsic to the original Moksha Patam had faded away.

Victorian Variations and Local Adaptations

  • In Victorian England, some versions of the game still carried Christian morality encoded into the boards. Specific squares symbolized virtues like charity, while others represented vices, reinforcing Christian values during gameplay.
  • The game also had various local adaptations, such as “Moksha Pat,” “Paramapada,” “Sopanam,” as well as Bengali variations like “Golok Dham” and Tibetan adaptations like “Sa Nam lam sha.”
  • A Victorian version of the game is the “Kismet” board game, dating to around 1895 and now part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection.
  • Similar games with moral themes existed, such as “Virtue Rewarded” and “Vice Punished” (1818) and the “New Game of Human Life” (1790), although the latter did not include snakes and ladders on its board.

The modern Snakes and Ladders game has come a long way from its origins as Moksha Patam, with its transformation reflecting the changing cultural and educational influences of different times and places.

Snakes and Ladders Modern-Day Adaptations

Snakes and Ladders, a classic board game, offers simple yet engaging gameplay. The objective is to be the first to reach the 100th square on the board, often a grid of 10×10. Here are the steps to playing the classic Snakes and Ladders game:

  1. Choose Board and Tokens: Start by selecting the game board of your choice, available in various materials and player configurations. Each player picks a token and places it at the starting position.
  2. Starting Player: Determine the starting player by rolling the dice. The highest roll usually goes first. Player order may follow a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, based on preference.
  3. Movement: Players roll a dice to determine how many squares their token advances. If a square contains the base of a ladder, the token climbs to the top, aiding progress. Conversely, if the token lands on a square with a snake’s head, it descends to the square with the snake’s tail, posing obstacles.
  4. Extra Moves: Rolling six grants an extra turn. However, if a token lands on a snake’s head or the base of a ladder, it moves accordingly before taking the extra turn.
  5. Winning: To win, a player must roll an exact dice value to reach the 100th square. Rolling too high keeps the token in its current position. The first player to reach the finish wins. In multiplayer games, other players can continue competing until the first winner is declared.

In the digital age, Snakes and Ladders have evolved further, with online versions allowing players to enjoy the game from the comfort of their homes. Some platforms like Zupee even offer the excitement of playing for real money, adding a thrilling twist to the traditional game. Take a look at the online features of the Snakes and Ladders game:

Snakes and ladders mordern version

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Learn the difference between the online vs. classic gameplay.

Snakes and Ladders History

In conclusion, the history of Snakes and Ladders is a captivating journey from its origins in ancient India, where it served as a tool for moral teachings, to its role as a cherished family game in the West. This game has evolved over the years, adapting to the digital age and providing entertainment for people worldwide.

As we revel in the nostalgia of playing Snakes and Ladders, let’s remember that this game’s allure lies not only in its gameplay but also in the rich history that accompanies it. It’s a classic that continues to captivate the hearts of both young and old, transcending time and borders. So, the next time you roll the dice and make your move, you’re participating in a tradition that has spanned centuries, from ancient India to the modern world. Enjoy the journey and embrace the enduring magic of Snakes and Ladders.

Who invented Snakes and Ladders: FAQs

What is the history of Snakes and Ladders game?

Snakes and Ladders board game is believed to have originated in India, where it was known as “Moksha Patam” or “Paramapada Sopanam.” Sant Dnyaneshwar, a Marathi saint and philosopher, created the game with the purpose of imparting moral lessons to children and highlighting the repercussions of their actions. The game evolved over centuries, making it challenging to attribute its invention to a single individual. Here are the alternatives to Snakes and Ladders game.

Are there any historical records of the game’s creation?

Historical records about the invention of Snakes and Ladders are scarce. The game has roots in ancient India, where it was used to teach moral and spiritual lessons. While there are references to similar games in historical texts, the specific creator and date of invention remain unverified.

What is the significance of Snakes and Ladders in its original form?

In its original form, known as “Moksha Patam” or “Paramapada Sopanam,” the game was designed to impart moral and spiritual lessons. Ladders symbolized virtues leading to spiritual growth, while snakes represented vices leading to setbacks on one’s spiritual path. It was a tool for teaching values and ethics.

When did the game transform into the Snakes and Ladders we know today?

The game made its way to England in the late 19th century, and it underwent significant modifications. The game’s original moral and spiritual teachings were largely replaced, and it evolved into the simplified racing game known as Snakes and Ladders in Western cultures. Take a look at the Snakes and Ladders rules in the modern era.

Are there any variations of Snakes and Ladders in different cultures?

Yes, there are various adaptations and regional versions of Snakes and Ladders worldwide. In different cultures, the game may have unique themes, board layouts, and rules. Some adaptations retain cultural and moral elements while others focus on entertainment, making Snakes and Ladders a diverse and enduring game across the globe. Play Snakes and Ladders Multiplayer game online and win cash.

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