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How To Play A New Game Slides And Ladders On A Checkerboard

Updated on April 21, 2015

When I was a kid, I played a board game called Slides and Ladders. I'm sure most kids did.

The board contained a pathway of squares moving back and forth across the board starting at the bottom and ending at the top. You used a six-sided die to move your playing piece along the path. You moved from one row of squares to another at the sides of the board. Along the path were ladders that lifted you higher on the path, and slides that dropped you lower. The first player to reach the last square in the path won the game.

There was no skill involved, just the luck of the roll of the die. But it was fun to play, fun to climb the ladders, even fun to slide down the slides. It was fun to win, but it was also fun just to play the game.

Snakes and Ladders on a Checkerboard

You can still buy Slides and Ladders in stores. But you can also play a version of Slides and Ladders on a checkerboard. All you need is a standard die, a checkerboard, and checkers.

Like the store-bought game, you start at the leftmost square at the bottom row of the board, and move left-to-right along the bottom row. You move up one square at the right end of the row, and move right-to-left along the second row. You move up one square at the left end of the row, and move left-to-right along the third row, etc. But the squares are not numbered, so you need something to tell you which way to move in each row, especially if you climb up to or slide down to a different row.

You make movement along the pathway easy by placing a checker at one end of each row, and always moving your playing piece toward the checker in each row. Place a checker on the right-side of the bottom row, and on the right-side of every other row along the right side of the board moving up. And place a checker on the left-side of the second row from the bottom, and on the left-side of every other row along the left side of the board moving up.

The last square in the game is the square at the upper-left corner of the checkerboard.

The ladders and slides are determined by the color of the squares. On a black and red checkerboard, the black squares are ladders, and the red squares are slides. You climb up a ladder if you land on a black square and you can climb diagonally up to a black square in the direction you are moving. You slide down a slide if you land on a red square, and you can slide diagonally down to a red square in the direction you are moving. So you cannot slide on the bottom row, and you cannot climb on the top row. And you cannot climb or slide if you land on the last square in a row.

If your checkerboard does not have black and red squares, use the darker squares as ladders and the lighter squares as slides.

How to Play the Game

Slides and Ladders can be played by two to six players. To play, lay the checkerboard, checkers, and die on the table, and seat the players around the table. Lay eight checkers on the sides of the checkerboard to show the direction of movement along each row.

Each player takes a checker to play with. Then each player rolls the die, and the player with the highest roll becomes the starting player. If more than one player has the high roll, those players roll the dice again until one player has the high roll.

Then the players take turns playing beginning with the starting player and moving clockwise around the table. Each player starts on the square at the lower-left corner of the board.

On your turn, roll the die, and move your checker along the pathway of squares. If you land on a black square that allows you to climb, climb diagonally up to the black square in the next row. If you land on a red square that allows you to slide, slide diagonally down to the red square in the next row.

If your checker lands on another player's checker, move it forward along the pathway until it lands on an empty square.

If you come close to the final square, roll the die and move your checker along the top row if you land on or short of the final square. If your roll would take you beyond the final square, you must leave your checker where it is until your next turn.

If you land on the final square, you win the game.

Variations

There are several variations to the rules of Slides and Ladders on a Checkerboard that you can use.

You can limit the slides and chutes to the middle four rows on the board.

You can climb up two squares and slide down two squares on the middle four columns on the board. The climbs are limited to the lower six rows and the slides are limited to the upper six rows on the checkerboard. When you climb up or slide down two squares, move in a straight diagonal line.

You can place coins on specific squares to mark where you can climb up or slide down two squares. You can even use pennies for two square and nickels for three square climbs or slides. Again when you climb up or slide down multiple squares, move in a straight diagonal line. You can only place coins where a climb or slide is possible.

You can use two dice instead of one die. Switch to one die when you reach the top row.

Conclusion

Give Slides and Ladders on a Checkerboard a try. Tell me what you think.

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