Chutes & Ladders is an evil game that wants to destroy me.

chutes laddersThere is a game called Chutes & Ladders. You may remember playing it as a kid. I don’t. I’ve always known there was such a game, but I have no recollection of playing it. Not until recently, anyway.

Let me tell you something. You want no part of this game. This game is from Hell. This game was conceived by Satan in the pits of Hades by Morlocks, or Orcs, or some such. Imagine deep down in the bowels of a vomitous volcano, in a cavernous space where flame rises from infinitely deep canyons and silhouettes of nightmarish creatures raise metal tools high overhead, bringing them down on hard metal, clanking rhythmically, perhaps singing in some evil tongue that others won’t utter even in the full light of day. In such a place, this game was forged.

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Problem 1: The box says it’s for preschoolers. This is a vicious lie. Preschoolers can’t comprehend the movement of the pieces. Left? Right? Up? Down? Their heads are spinning, and they always move in the wrong direction, thereby prolonging an already never-ending game. Advantage: Satan.

Like Hell itself, this game is torturous and never-ending. There is nothing you can do to make it go faster, or to end it. It is entirely out of your hands. You can spin a spinner. You can move the number of squares indicated by your spin. And you can go forwards a space or two. That is all. Then you wait.

You wait for your next turn at the spinner. You spin again, and you may advance a space or two. You might also land on a ladder, which may advance you a level or two. Or six! The six might seem great, but do not be fooled. For no matter how many ladders you land on, no matter how high or far you climb, you are equally at risk of landing on a chute which will cause you to plummet one or two levels, or six.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

chutes ladders 2

Problem 2: Preschoolers can’t comprehend the concept of ladders and slides on a board lying flat on a table. They land on a square, they want to slide or climb. They don’t care whether it’s a ladder or a chute. They’re going for a ride. Advantage: Insanity.

If you guessed nowhere, you are correct. Because this game is bereft of strategy. Players have absolutely no control over their fate. They are at the mercy of the spinner. And the spinner is brutal. You may think you’ve lucked out by landing on that big ladder that rockets you to the top. No matter. You will land on a chute, and this chute will suck you right back down.

And you will never land on the one square with the ladder that takes you to the winning square. Ever.

You will also never land on the winning square on your own. You have to spin the exact number of squares needed, according to the rules. This will never happen, as your spinner is rigged by Hell not to land on that number. And because in between you and the winning square are too many chutes for you not to land on one and be sucked right back down into the fiery pits.

This is how the game works. Chutes and Ladders indeed. A never-ending cycle of rising and falling, of being tossed about by the turbulence of life. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes down. And just when you think you’ve won, the whole thing crashes down.

This is the cruelest, most miserable game I’ve ever had the misfortune to play.

And my girls love it.

Until they don’t.

Until one of them gets bored. Or cheats. I can tell you right now which one will get bored, and which one will cheat. I can tell you which one will shout-scream the other’s name in frustration, and which one will lock evil eyes on the other as if consumed by the demon quietly enticing her to sweep all the pieces to the floor while shooting eye-bullets of hell-fire.

I can’t blame either one of them. It’s not their fault. The game is unwinnable. It’s evil. It’s foul. It’s the Ouija Board of children’s games. No one should ever go near it. There are dark forces at work here that shouldn’t be woken. They don’t want you to win, but they don’t want you to lose. They just want to destroy you. And they’ve created the perfect game to do it.

Stay away from Chutes & Ladders. Stay far away.

44 thoughts on “Chutes & Ladders is an evil game that wants to destroy me.

  1. This game sounds very much like the game “Snakes and Ladders” where exactly the same happens.

    I suppose in the days of no computer games, it may have been a hit, but I rather liked playing “Mouse Trap” where the whole game was about building a huge construction of a mouse trap, which took about an hour to build, then when the time came to set off the mouse trap, it was all over in less than 10 seconds! Such a disappointment for any child.

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    • Hi Hugh! Yes, I read that the name was changed from snakes to chutes to make it more kid-friendly. I do rememeber Mouse Trap. It did seem like a lot of work for not much payoff. I’m generally not a big fan of board games, but my favorite as a kid was Risk and my favorite as an adult is Axis & Allies, both war strategy games. I can really get into those. Monopoly is okay too, if you don’t mind losing several hours of your life to it. But generally, I’d rather sit and talk. My wife and step dad play a game called Chickenfoot and it’s all out war because they are so competitive. They get frustrated with me when I play because I’m never all that into. They want a real battle.

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      • You know I had no idea they had changed the name of this classic game, Walt. I suppose children (and even adults) can be frightened of snakes, so hence the name change, but what about ladders? Maybe change them for escalators? πŸ™‚

        I remember Risk and, of course, Monopoly, which I really did love to play. Both now having moved to computer versions. I’ve never heard of Chickenfoot and although I do enjoy boardgames, nobody I know seems to play them anymore. Another classic game was ‘Cluedo’ which actually gave me some inspiration for my ‘Miss Maple’ posts I wrote last summer. Happy memories all round. πŸ™‚

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      • Chickenfoot is played with dominoes, if you go for that sort of game, and can be fun once in awhile (just not EVERY TIME my parents visit!). I had a feeling that Cluedo was what I know as Clue, so I checked online and sure enough, we changed the name of that one too. And your Mr. Black is Mr. Boddy to us, I just read. I don’t know why we always have to change your perfectly good names. We did this with Harry Potter too, you probably know (Philosopher’s Stone became Sorcerer’s Stone). We even changed up the Beatles’ records, adding and removing songs, and switching their order around. The version of Revolver that English fans knew was very different than what Americans knew. At least until many years later when someone came to their senses and put everything back the way it was. To me, if it works, it works. It doesn’t need retooling! Oh well, I’m going off the rails, so I’ll stop! πŸ™‚

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    • I think you’re right about that. One time we left a monopoly game out overnight to finish the next day. I snuck down and shifted money from around the table into my stacks. Didn’t matter. I still lost big-time.

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      • I should have said I was a kid when I did that, getting trounced by my parents. I would like to think I wouldn’t do that as an adult, but who knows? Money does strange things to people. Even fake money.

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  2. Actually, I loved that game when I was a little kid…It’s from an old Hindu game and is supposed to be based on karma/destiny (original name: snakes and ladders, as you know). It’s true, it’s all luck–or karma–not skill…Maybe you should stick to Candy Land, lol.

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    • Ah, but I think Candyland is just as vicious. It’s just flicking a spinner and doing what it says. Now, I don’t feel the overwhelming sense of doom and pointlessness when playing Candyland, but then again I’m not sure we’re following all the rules either. I’m also pretty sure that my kid who likes to cheat has made up some rules that enable easy victories. I’m very much in favor of those rules. They get the game over with much faster.

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  3. Another one is Go To the Head of the Class. I was the baby of the family. It’s a trivia game for kids. My question was “What animal lays eggs?” A Pig, A Chicken or A Cow. I knew bacon came from a pig and we eat eggs and bacon so I said Pig. My family laughed at me then and still brings it up now. I think I was 4 or 5 years old. My brother is a Monopoly whore. I won’t play those type of board games with him at all. Settlers of Catan is extremely competitive and can ruin marriages.

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    • I’ve heard of Go to the Head of the Class but never played it. Though wrong, your reasoning about the eggs seems rock solid. I would have given you the point. My kids are that age right now, and they’re starting to get better at games, but 3 is way too young for C&L. What were they thinking when they stamped that age on the box? Maybe they were thinking about natural selection. You definitely don’t want to play Monopoly with someone who’s more into it than you are. That’s just disastrous. So maybe that’s why Settlers of Catan is so popular – it’s a quick way to end marriages.

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      • I have a 16 yr old and a 3 yr old and we don’t do board games. The 3 yr old likes cars and tracks and anything mickey mouse. I will remember not to get c&l. Settlers of Catan is a good marriage breaker, I’m divorced. Though for many other reasons πŸ˜€

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  4. I think I can cope with the evil nature of Chutes and Ladders. Monopoly though…Monopoly destroys lives, at least figuratively. And if you want a real challenge, try playing Scrabble with people from five or six different countries. It’s doable, but I’m convinced that we could start a war that way.

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  5. We to, called it snakes and ladders, now Tiddly-Winks, there is a focking waste of time. I have an evil co-worker playing a similar game these days, a humorless wretch, out to destroy, perhaps I will suggest a round of snakes…

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    • Loose the snakes! Tiddly-Winks I’ve never played. What I always thought was the ultimate waste of time was solitaire. Coming home in the middle of the day to find someone playing solitaire all the time was pretty depressing. Lo and behold, I tried it on the computer once and got hooked for a while. The satisfying “fwip” of all those cards flying around at the end was pretty…well, satisfying. I justified it as multi-tasking too, since I was usually listening to music and enjoying a relaxing beverage at the same time.

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  6. A very fun read! Being MUCH older than you….and also loving the power of words (see my About) in terms of naming, perception, defining, and living…..when my two kids (now 40 and 38) were in their Terrific Twos (I refuse to say the other T word usually associated with the age of two) — I found myself saying “Use your words” in their moments of those high-pitched screaming or their “I Want” stage. And here I am, using the same moniker on myself, having discovered a love for writing poetry about two months ago — and “finding” the world of blogging about the same time! Yes — Chutes and Ladders is the penultimate in frustration for the parent and the child — those high pitched screams translated into groans — and somehow we get this as one of the “early” games that’s supposed to “teach” our children how to follow rules in games. Really? On the other hand, earlier early games like Pick Up Sticks and Jacks were only winnable by those with good coordination — something many little children are slower to develop. It takes no coordination to “slide” a piece up or down a ladder — just crushes the spirit instead! Maybe the old games of Button Button, Whose Got the Button and tossing a velcro covered ball to a velcro mitt are better? Thanks for the trip down memory lane with this post! Stop by any time….
    lillian

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    • Well, I bet you aren’t so MUCH older than me as you think – I’m older than both of your kids! “Use your words” is a good tactic that we employ here in such times. You’re right about sliding down a chute ‘crushing the spirit.’ That’s what brings on the screaming sometimes. Glad you’ve discovered the magic of writing/blogging. Best of luck to you in your new adventure…I will pop over and say hi.

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  7. You make me laugh I’ll give you that! A question that I’d honestly like to know the answer to- are you interested in reading? You strike me as the kind of person who may be (don’t hate, I’ve only just discovered your gem of a blog!) Would you consider being part of my kind-of-but-not-really-online-book-club?! If you are, could you drop me a line about it either on my blog post ‘Bank Holiday Book Binge’ (I roughly explained the concept there) or via email (acharlottething@gmail.com is my enquiries account) Good wishes being sent your way, friend! πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks so much for the invitation! You know I used to read voraciously. In college. I read when I should’ve been studying. I pulled an all-nighter one time because I was writing a paper I didn’t want to write, so I kept taking breaks to read chapters from the Lord of the Rings! But now, between work and the kids, I don’t have as much time or energy for reading. I will check out your post though and visit your blog. Thank you!

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  8. Whatever has Chutes and Ladders done to deserve this wrath?
    Oh wait. This manipulating board game’s creator was Satan.

    Beware! This game is unpredictable and may put your life at risk!

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  9. One board game to rule them all, one game find them
    One game to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them
    In the land of Chutes and Ladders where the shadows lie

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