How Do You Play Snakes and Ladders?

Snakes and Ladders is played using a die and a board with spaces that are numbered from one to 100, explains Keith Thomasson of Postal Games. Any number of players can participate in the game. Snakes and Ladders was originally adapted by Alan Parr for postal play, who published the rules in 1995.

The board’s layout and structure can be a conventional board, with numbers that are logically arranged, says Thomasson. The positions and effects of the snakes and ladders are consistent throughout the game. For instance, all squares in a specific column can be the feet of ladders that move players by 10 spaces per ladder. Similarly, snakes can be located in spaces whose digits add up to eight, and reaching these squares sends players back 15 spaces.

All of the players start at space zero. They each get a turn to throw the die once. Initial rounds have single turns, while later rounds require orders for two turns that are sent together. Every set of orders allows players to nominate one space as a trapdoor, and all spaces that receive at least three nominations turn into trapdoors throughout the round. The winner of the game is the first player to end a turn on or beyond square 100.