How to Play Snakes & Ladders

Multiplayer Snakes & Ladders (At least two people)

How to play:

  1. Each player puts their counter on the space that says 'start here'.
  2. Take it in turns to roll the dice. ...
  3. If your counter lands at the bottom of a ladder, you can move up to the top of the ladder.
  4. If your counter lands on the head of a snake, you must slide down to the bottom of the snake.

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How to Play Snakes and Ladders

The game Snakes and Ladders has enthralled generations of children, and gone through a few name changes along the way. Sometimes sold as Chutes and Ladders in the United States, and originally Snakes and Arrows in India, the game has barely changed in all this time. If you've lost the rules or you've made your own Snakes and Ladders mat, you may want to review the rules before you play or perhaps try a variation on the traditional rules.


Understand the object of the game. The object of the game is to be the first player to reach the end by moving across the mat from square one to the final square.

Most mats wrap back and forth, so you move left to right across first row, then move up to the second and move right to left, and so on. Follow the numbers on the mat to see how to move forward. For example, if you rolled a five and you were on space number 11, then you would move your game piece to space number 16.


Decide who goes first. Each player should roll one die to see who gets the highest number. Whoever rolls the highest number gets to take the first turn. After the first player takes a turn, the person sitting to that player’s left will take a turn. Play continues in a circle going left. If two or more people roll the same number, and it is the highest number rolled, each of those people roll the die an additional time to see who gets to go first.


Roll the die and move. To take your turn, roll the die again and read the number that you rolled. Pick up your game piece and move forward that number of spaces. For example, if you roll a two, move your piece to square two. On your next turn, if you roll a five, move your piece forward five squares, ending up on square seven. Some people play that you can only move onto the mat if you roll a one, and if you don't get a one, you just skip your turn. This isn't recommended, since this can be frustrating for unlucky players.


Climb up ladders. The ladders on the game mat allow you to move upwards and get ahead faster. If you land exactly on a square that shows an image of the bottom of a ladder, then you may move your game piece all the way up to the square at the top of the ladder. If you land at the top of a ladder or somewhere in the middle of a ladder, just stay put. You never move down ladders.


Slide down snakes or chutes. Some versions have snakes on the mat, while others have chutes (slides). Snakes (or chutes) move you back on the mat because you have to slide down them. If you land exactly at the top of a snake or chute, slide your game piece all the way to the square at the bottom of the snake or chute. If you land on a square that is in the middle or at the bottom of a snake (or chute), just stay put. You only slide down if you land on the top square of a snake (or chute).


Take an extra turn if you roll a six. If you roll a six, then you get an extra turn. First, move your piece forward six squares and then roll the die again. If you land on any snakes or ladders, follow the instructions above to move up or down and then roll again to take your extra turn. As long as you keep rolling sixes, you can keep moving!


Land exactly on the last square to win. The first person to reach the highest square on the mat wins, usually square 100. But there's a twist! If you roll too high, your piece "bounces" off the last square and moves back. You can only win by rolling the exact number needed to land on the last square. For example, if you are on square 99 and roll a four, move your game piece to 100 (one move), then "bounce" back to 99, 98, 97 (two, three, then four moves.) If square 97 is a ladder base or snake head, climb or slide as usual.


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