In England, where I grew up, it goes by the name Snakes and Ladders. According to the internet, it is possible to trace the origins of the game back to the 2nd Century B.C. as the Indian game of Paramapada Sopanam — "The Ladder to Salvation."
It was invented by Hindu spiritual leaders to teach children about the rewards of good deeds and the negative consequences of bad ones. The snakes represent vices and poor decisions, and the ladders represent virtues and sound morality. The game first made its way to England in 1892, and was commercially sold in the United States in 1943 by Milton Bradley under the name Chutes and Ladders. It has been speculated that Square 100 represents the Hindu idea of Nirvana (and you thought it was just a kids’ game!)
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