Snakes and Ladders - How the Meaning of an Ancient Children's Game Adapted Over Time - Extra Credits -

Snakes and Ladders – How the Meaning of an Ancient Children’s Game Adapted Over Time – Extra Credits

Extra Credits
Views: 471734
Like: 13028
Snakes and Ladders, or Chutes and Ladders, has been around for generations, going back perhaps 2000 years to its invention in India. Though simple – or perhaps through its simplicity – the game conveys a deliberate message about life that has stood the test of time. Snakes and Ladders requires no skill, relying purely on luck to demonstrate to the player that fate is beyond their control, and that they will stumble upon both sins that bring them down (snakes) and moral actions that lift them up (ladders) on the passage towards their goal in life.
Subscribe for new episodes every Wednesday! (—More below)

Get your Extra Credits gear at the store!
Play games with us on Extra Play!

Watch more episodes from this season of Extra Credits!

Contribute community subtitles to Extra Credits: …

Talk to us on Twitter (@ExtraCreditz):
Follow us on Facebook:
Get our list of recommended games on Steam:

Would you like James to speak at your school or organization? For info, contact us at:

♪ Intro Music: “Penguin Cap” by CarboHydroM

♪ Outro Music: “Snowbound” by bLiNd


  1. Indian philosopher saint Dnyaneshwar invented snake ladder

  2. Not to mention that the snakes are more punishing than the ladders are rewarding.

  3. Ancient India and Modern India ia not the same. Stop humiliating Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan by not showing them in the "Ancient India" map!

  4. One thing you missed is that the number of vices and virtues in the original version represent how it is easy to slip into bad habits and do bad things while being though to do the right thing

  5. I had snakes and ladders in classic games 100 games box!

  6. Such a deep game. Every 8-year-old's mind is now blown.

  7. i believe this game to be far older and that it has its origins in pre dynastic egypt.

  8. I think this game makes sense if you consider the "Lila ( )" aspect of Hinduism. It would be fit into "Monist (" philosophy (one of the many and famous philosophies of Hinduism) if you are relying on random chances. Moksha ( is the end of this game (then the vices and virtues don't matter, you are out of this samsara). Having said that, another game "Pachisi" also is there, which does have skill and agency involved. So whatever suits your taste, you can learn from there (like the various philosophies and practices of Hinduism).
    Or it is just a game and someone thought let's include moral teaching in it and so they did without thinking too much. It didn't turn out to be perfect, and we are here overthinking it.

  9. Not surprised at all. Coz
    English people didn't just took snakes and ladder from India.
    Entered with almost 60% GPD and left it with 0.5% GPD.
    235 million Lives
    And not to forget that Diamond which she still wears proudly.
    Anyway Shit is getting reversed quickly.
    You know what I mean.


  10. The English version didn't include drunkenness as a vice. Hilarious.

  11. So this just proves my point, a worldview/perceptions can adversely effect how you see the world and engage with the people in it

  12. 3:23 “Quarrelsomeness”? Well, that’s a mouthful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *