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Tabletop Time Machine

1892 SNAKES AND LADDERS

One of the most famous and instantly recognisable board games of all time is the childhood favourite known in the UK as Snakes and Ladders. Like many games we know so well, Snakes and Ladders has an interesting history. The game originated in ancient India, where it was known as Moksha Patamu. The original game appears to have been designed to embrace the Hindu philosophies of karma, a causality theory based on good or bad deeds, and samskaras, which are rituals marking life events. In Moksha Patamu the snakes led you down towards ‘asuras’ – which are power-seeking, demon-like deities – while the ladders allowed you to climb up to either a god or a version of heaven such as Kailasa, Vaikuntha or Brahmaloka. Early board games in the UK were usually viewed as a vehicle for religion and education rather than the pursuit of pure entertainment.

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About Tabletop Gaming

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