Snakes and Ladders Game

Unique diceless game play!  Generate discussion and use other peoples’ mistakes to do them down!

Required Resources:

Snakes-Board Snakes and Ladder board - PDF Snakes and Ladders board - Word [Spanish versions:  Snakes and Ladder board Spanish - PDF Snakes and Ladders board Spanish - Word ]

Snakes-cards Snakes and Ladder cards - PDF Snakes and Ladders cards - Word [Spanish versions:  Snakes and Ladder cards Spanish - PDF Snakes and Ladders cards Spanish - Word ]

Some marker pens.

Some preparation time…

Some people.


Assuming you are downloading the board and cards and printing them out, you will need to cut the cards out.  I recommend laminating both the board and cards first, and keeping the ‘margins’ when you cut the cards out.  Note that different printers treat the margins in different ways – the document with the cards in prints out with nicely aligned tables on the front and back of the paper with the settings it has in the document, on my black and white printer; but sadly, on my colour printer, it mis-aligns them.

Why keep the margins?  Because you can cut them into smaller pieces, which you can bend in half to produce standing playing pieces – and the players can draw an avatar on them.

Setting up

Sort the cards into types (Movement, Interrupts and Events) and separate out the ‘blanks’ of each type.  Shuffle each type individually, and create 3 piles – one of each type – with the printed examples on the top of the pile, and the blanks at the bottom.  Put the piles face down around the board.


Game play

Each player (I suggest no more than 4 to a game) places their playing piece on square 1, and takes 2 movement cards, 2 interrupts and 2 events from the piles.


At the beginning of each player’s turn, if they have fewer than 2 interrupt cards in their hand, they draw new interrupt cards so that they have 2 of them.

Taking it in turns, each player plays a movement card, and moves the number of spaces it says on the card.  If they land on the base of a ladder or the head of a snake, they should draw an Event card, and read it out. Other players now have the opportunity to play an interrupt card on them, which can modify the number of spaces moved, or have other effects (some interrupt cards can only be played on certain types of movement cards, so watch out and make sure you are not trying to play a ‘works on variety cards’ card on a ‘critique’ card!)

All cards played during a players turn should be kept in front of them, as a record of what has happened in the game.

The Event cards set the scene for what is happening in your digital world (in the game).  In order to take advantage of a ladder, you should explain why the event, or how you handle it, is good for your Digital Identity.  In order to avoid a snake, you need to explain how you avoid potential pitfalls associated with the event.  The default position is that you do not go up a ladder without getting a majority of players in agreement with you, and you do go down a snake if you cannot secure a majority.  But the discussion is the important bit – if it gets heated, don’t worry about it!

You will notice that only half the cards actually have things written on them.  This is because once you are half way through the game, you should be thinking of things yourself which could cause issues for your Digital Identity.  Obviously, you should make sensible decisions about how far a movement card would take you, based on its description – so if I write a new card which says something like “Discover, and publish online, a cure for all cancers” it should probably have a positive movement value, and it should probably be quite big (maybe as much as 8).

At the end of each player’s turn, they replace the movement cards in their hand so that they still have 2 movement cards.


The winner is the person who makes it to position 100 first.  But it doesn’t really matter who ‘wins’ – indeed it can be quite fun to go back over the cards in front of each player and tell the story of what has been happening with their DI.  Have other people been supportive of them?  Or has jealousy and spite cut in?


We would be very pleased to hear how the game goes for you.  If you (or your players) create any amusing or insightful cards, please share them back with us.