Skip to Content

How To Play Chutes And Ladders (3 minute guide)

How To Play Chutes And Ladders (3 minute guide)


Snakes and Ladders was a game that originated in Ancient India where players traveled through the game board climbing up ladders that symbolized good deeds and sliding down snakes into evil. It was brought to the United Kingdom in the late 1980s, and first published in the United States in 1943 by Milton Bradley. Supporting 2-4 players, this adaptation was a revision of the original game and was renamed Chutes and Ladders.

If you don’t own Chutes And Ladders already, check it out here on Amazon.



Begin by placing the game board in the middle of all players on the table. Players each choose a character piece, and place them all on the corner of the board next to the number 1 space. All players take turns spinning the spinner before the game starts, and whoever lands on the highest number goes first. If it is a tie, the tied players spin again until a high number is reached to determine the first player.


The object of the game Chutes and Ladders is to be the first player to get to the winner’s square number 100 at the end of the path.

Player Actions

The first player begins by spinning the spinner and moving their character piece along the path exactly that many spaces. Each square on the board is numbered in order horizontally across the entire board. Character pieces begin at the number 1 space in the bottom left hand corner of the board and follow the ascending numbers to the right. Once they reach the end of that row, they will move up one space and continue to the left on the next row. The players’ character pieces continue throughout the entire path in a zig-zag pattern climbing up the board toward the number 100.

If your piece lands on a square that is connected to a ladder, slide up the ladder and place your piece on the square that is connected to the top end of the ladder in the same turn. On the other hand, if your piece lands on a square that is connected to the top of a chute space, you will slide your piece downward and place it on the bottom square at the end of the chute. This continues around the board until the game is over.

How to End the Game

The first player that reaches the top left corner of the game board with the yellow spaced marked with the number 100 is the winner.

How the Game Changes Depending on the Number of Players

The game Chutes and Ladders generally supports up to 4 players, since the game comes with only 4 character pieces. However if there are more than 4 players, partnerships and teams can be created in order to effectively play the game. If there are 1-2 players in the game, there will be no change in rules and the only difference will be the additional character pieces that will not be in use during the game.

Rule Variations for Playing with Kids

Chutes and Ladders is actually a very simple game to play with children since no actual reading is required, players instead follow pictures and numbers. For very young children, it might be helpful to play with them in partners. Another variation of the game in this case could be allowing the youngest child to play first instead of spinning to determine who the first player will be.

Variations of the Game

There are many variations of the game Chutes and Ladders that have developed throughout the years including the English, Dutch, Nordic, and Multilingual Editions, as well as special character versions such as Marvel Super Hero, Toy Story 3, and Fairytale themed variations.


Time to play: 30 minutes

Alternative titles of the game: Snakes and Ladders, Aussymates snakes and ladders, Bible Ups and Downs

Manufacturer suggested player age: 3+

Community suggested player age: 3-8

List of expansions: Calliou Dragonflies & Snails, Rock With Barbie – Gladius Barbie Edition.

Community rating: 3/10

Popularity: Rank 16,756

Difficulty: Easy

Publisher credits: Milton Bradley

Published year: 1943

Hasbro website:

If you like this game you’ll also like:

Mouse Trap, Trouble, Sorry!

If you don’t like this game, you’ll want to try: 

Connect Four, Battleship, Operation