Snakes and Ladders is a board game that originated in ancient India, where it was known as Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu. It is unknown when or who originated it, but it is thought to have been played as early as the 2nd century BC. Saint Gyandev, according to some historians, originated the game in the 13th century AD. Originally, the game was designed to teach children about morality. The squares where ladders begin were supposed to represent virtue, while those with a snake’s head were supposed to represent evil.
In the ancient Hindu game, the snakes outnumbered the ladders. The game was brought to England by colonial authorities in the late nineteenth century, with minor alterations. The game was renamed Snakes and Ladders, and its moral and religious overtones were removed, as well as the number of ladders and snakes. Chutes and Ladders was first released in the United States in 1943.