this games are great for the little ones, it helps them to understand the concept of taking turns during a game, it is also excellent for helping then learn their number and how to add. my little plays it since he was two and mastered numbers in no time with the help of this two wonderful games... good old fashion didactic fun with your little ones.
I think everyone reading this will have played both snakes and ladders and ludo at some point. Both are derived from ancient Indian games. Ludo comes from Pachesi. The precursor to Snkaes and Ladders had too many names for me to list, but they seem to translate as ladder to salvation. In the original Indian game, the ladders represented virtues and the snakes vices, showing that morality can lead one to salvation. The original English and American versions (called Chutes and Ladders), both showed good and bad behaviour as well, and were intended to teach children the rewards of good behaviour. Some of the first boards have brilliant art work, but I'm afraid the modern ones can be a bit dull. I chose this version because I liked the wildlife theme. This does not teach morals in anyway, but then I'm not so sure how effective a game board would be for this anyway.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX ?
A simple double sided game board. On the snakes and ladders side we have friendly animals who help you climb higher, and less friendly ones who chase you back down. The Ludo side depicts four different habitats : ocean, arctic, South American jungle and African Savannah.
You also get a single dice, a tiny plastic cup to shake the dice in, and some very thin, small plastic disks to use as counters. We quickly discarded these using plastic animals or dinosaurs instead. I find the little plastic chips difficult to pick up and easy to knock out of place. Finally there is a brief, easy to understand instruction sheet in several languages.
GAMEPLAY - LUDO
This is simple racing game. Very little skill is involved, it is primarily luck, although a very limited amount of strategy can be deployed. The object is to get all four of your counters safely to their own home, while preventing your opponent from doing the same. If you land on a opponent, you send them back to start. The only difference between this and Frustration is that you can place two of your counters on the same square, making a safe spot where you can not be attacked.
For the most part, we follow the rules on this game. The one exception I make is to allow a player to get out of start on a roll of 1 or 6 to make the game play out a bit quicker. Educational value is limited, but as with any game using dice, it does teach children the numbers 1 -6 and simple counting. It can be made slightly more educational by selecting the correct plastic animals for each habitat and discussing the differences in habitats.
GAMEPLAY - SNAKES AND LADDERS
This is one of the simplest games to play. Absolutely no skill is involved. You simply roll the dice and move the required number of spaces. If you land on a ladder, you move up. If you land on a snake you move down. The first player to reach 100 wins. The outcome of the game is purely down to luck. This means the youngest child has every bit as much chance of winning as the adult, and every player will eventually experience both winning and losing. If you like to throw the game in a child's favour, it really isn't possible in this game, but learning to lose is an important lesson as well. This game could easily be played by a child as young as three. The main educational value to this game stems from the fact that squares are numbered 1 -100, thus helping children learn to count to higher numbers. This is reinforced by calling out the number of each square landed on. This game can growing quite quickly. But adding a few variations can make this game both more fun and more educational.
The simplest variation is to add another dice. This means the game moves much faster, and will better keep the interest of very young children. It also means they are adding the two numbers and counting up to twelve on each move rather than six. Too make this a bit more educational a number of maths operations can be included. You can add a functions dice with plus and minus, one with addition, subtraction and multiplication, a home made dice with operations of your own, or simply agree on a single operation for the game. If you are working with division or subtraction, it may be worthwhile to use polyhedron dice. I have one that goes up to 90, but this is a bit too high. My next highest is currently 12, but I'm ordering another set. Or you can use three dice, such as two white and one red. Add the white together and then either subtract the red from the sum or divide it into the sum.
Another variation is to use two dice of different colours and the + and - signs. The red dice is always subtracted from the white dice, even if this results in a negative number. In this case, the player must move backwards. To keep the game from lasting too long with this variant I would suggest a dice with four plus squares and two minus squares.
Snake and ladder squares work as normal for these variants and the first player to reach 100 wins.
Finally if you have enough markers of any kind such as draughts pieces, pennies and 5 pence coins, coloured buttons etc... you can make a completely different game of this. We use glass pebbles. You make question cards with answers from one to 100. Each time you answer a question correctly , you place your marker on that square. The winner is the first to get four in a row.
By introducing these variants, the educational value goes way up, and it does add some novelty to the game. I purchased this game primarily for educational value. My children do have enough race to finish games already, and quite frankly, they would rather play Frustration or Angry Birds Popomatic than Ludo most of the time, and tend to prefer the Orchard Toys games such as "Run, Run as Fast as You Can" for race to the finish type games. It is OK for something different, but as far as play value goes, I couldn't possibly rate this higher than 3 stars. Adding themed animals will bring the fun value up though, especially for real nature lovers.
This game is wonderful for teaching children to count to 100, and with a few variations has a great deal of educational value. True, playing games with maths sums is not the most exciting of board games. But it is a lot more fun than work books and gives us something to break up the routine. We currently have one day per week in which we spend the whole day on activities like board games, science kits or arts and crafts, and this is a wonderful way to teach maths without pen and paper. For educational value this easily takes 5 stars.
I paid £3.99 for this, and thought I got a real bargain. It is currently £6.99, which I find a bit dear. If you are just looking for a fun board game, which will be played over and over for a bit quality family time, I'm afraid I really would not recommend this. There are too many better games available now. If however you want to help your child learn numbers to 100, this is worth buying just to help with this skill through the occasional game. If you are home educating, my recommendation goes much higher. It works out cheaper in the long run to buy games than work books, especially if you have more than one child, and with a few variations there are a vast number of skills which can be learned from this game.