Aspects of Play: Snakes and Ladders

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Snakes and Ladders’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Snakes and Ladders, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon and Alea

In terms of Mimicry takes control of a counter that traverses dependant on a dice roll, through the level in order to reach the end. Agon comes in the form of competition were the player is pitted against another player and they have to race to the end, the stipulation that applies is if the player or opponent lands infront of a ladder they advance to the correlating space but if they land infront of a snake, they are transported back towards that section of the grid. Illinx doesn’t play a part in the game because of the lack of disorientation that comes in board games. Alea is simply the dice rolling that the players use to determine the amount of spaces to use.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the balance of gameplay with the use of the snakes being determinantal to player progress, whereas the ladders would be more benefiting to progress.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. I found that it being a turn-based board game that was fairly short, it was particularly difficult to attain flow because the challenge wasn’t the player, it was working against the chance of the dice roll and that was particularly trivial.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would implement upgrades or power-up cards that could allow the player to bypass being caught by a snake and enforcing a level of chance on a greater scale, by making those power-ups attainable only after a certain point in the game.


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