The Secret of Snakes and Ladders

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Genre: Education

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Vsauce2

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Shared January 28, 2020

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Snakes and Ladders -- also called Chutes and Ladders in the US -- might look like a simple board game for kids, but it actually goes back thousands of years with deep, meaningful origins. And along the path of creating a morality-based game to help kids navigate the world around them, humans stumbled onto some pretty interesting math.

From reaching nirvana to exploring Markov chains, Snakes and Ladders weaves a surprisingly complex tale of virtue, vice, and dumb luck. So, I decided to electrify it. Literally.

Imaginative engineering YouTuber Allen Pan of Sufficiently Advanced helped me customize an old Snakes and Ladders board by hooking up batteries to the board itself, with conductive position markers and steel line in the game pieces that could make a circuit all the way to the end. And at that final 100th space, a surprise mystery box that I’ve never seen before is activated…

Chutes And Ladders 1943 Photo Courtesy of Toy Tales
https://toytales.ca/chutes-ladders-mi...

*** SOURCES ***

“Chutes and Ladders for the Impatient,” The College Mathematics Journal, January 2011, by Leslie A. Cheteyan, Stewart Hengeveld and Michael A. Jones: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.4169/...

“How Long Is a Game of Snakes and Ladders?” The Mathematical Gazette, March 1993, by S. C. Althoen, L. King and K. Schilling: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3619261?...

“Markov Chains and Snakes and Ladders,” The Mathematical Gazette, December 1967, by D. E. Daykin, J. E. Jeacocke and D. G. Neal: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3612943?...

“Analysis of Chutes and Ladders,” February 2015: https://possiblywrong.wordpress.com/2...

“Analysis of Chutes and Ladders,” November 2011, by DataGenetics: http://datagenetics.com/blog/november...

“The Timelessness of Snakes and Ladders”: https://medium.com/re-form/the-timele...

“Chutes and Ladders Began as a Game to Teach Morality 2,000 Years Ago”: https://curiosity.com/topics/chutes-a...

*** LINKS ***

Vsauce2:
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Hosted and Produced by Kevin Lieber
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Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/thecreateunknown

Research And Writing by Matthew Tabor
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Editing by Aspect Science
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyi0...

Huge Thanks To Paula Lieber
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Select Music By Jake Chudnow: http://www.youtube.com/user/JakeChudnow

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