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Gyan Chaupar (Snakes and Ladders, Chutes and Ladders)





Southern Asia


Board, Race, Reach.


Gyan Chaupar is a game originating in India at an unknown time in the past. Since its origin in India, the game had moralistic tones, with setback and boons in the game associated with immoral or moral behavior, respectively. There are different variations based on Jain, Hindu, Islamic, and other religious traditions. It came to England around 1890 and was commercialized in other places like the Unites States as "Snakes (or Chutes) and Ladders."


10x10 board. Each player has one piece and move according to the roll of one die. Representations of snakes and ladders are scattered throughout the board, connecting two spaces. If a player lands at the bottom of the ladder at the end of their move, they advance to the space at the top of the ladder. If a player ends their turn on a space with the head of a snake, they move down to the space with the tail of the snake. The first player to move off the last space of the board wins.

Topsfield 2006: 86.



Ludeme Description

Gyan Chaupar.lud


Murray 1951: 143

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Murray, H.J.R. 1951. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Topsfield, A. 2006. Instant karma: The meaning of Snakes and Ladders. In Topsfield, A. ed., The Art of Play: Board and Card Games of India. Mumbai: Marg Publications. pp. 75–89.




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