A couple of years ago I was inspired to have a go at creating a board game after discussing Snakes and Ladders with a friend. Basically Snakes and Ladders a game without any choice or interaction, the dice decides who wins and looses. I wanted to have a go at amending that.
The first thing I wanted to do was to let people decide where the to put the ladders.
Each player is given three pawns to move instead of just one, all of which they have to get to the end.
Removing some of the Randomness
Rather than using a dice each player has an identical deck of cards. They have up to five cards from that deck in their hand, and on their turn they can play only three of the cards. This also adds another element of choice. The cards allow them to move, place ladders, or place bombs.
The players pawns interact with each other. They push each other over and can stop them getting up by standing on top of them.
Rather than having players slide back down the board they are knocked over when bombs (placed by the players) explode. This adds some hinderance but it is not overly punishing as it takes a move action to stand up again. In addition the bombs destroy ladders, and set off other bombs, so it is possible to set up catastrophic chain reactions.
Undoing some of the rules
In order to add a little bit of complexity and uncertainty a number of the standard rules can be undone by specific rare special cards. These stop you being pushed over, stop you being knocked over by a bomb, allow you to stand up when you’re at the bottom of a stack of people, and finally increase the rate at which bombs explode.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the game turned out. I’ve played it a few times with different groups of friends and its possibly not recognisable as a snakes and ladders variant any more.
The Final Game – Dragon’s Hoard
A dragon lays dead in the battlefield leaving his treasure unguarded. Will your team be the first to reach the top to claim the Dragon’s Hoard or will you be left behind.
Be the first to get your team of three to the top of the mountain to win. Use ladders to speed past other players or knock them over, stand on fallen competitors to stop them moving and blow things up with bombs.
2-4 Players, plays better with more players.
To play this you’ll need:
- 4 sets of 3 player tokens, I advise using the kind of meeple’s that you find incarcassonne. The main requirement is that you can lay them down in a distinguishable way and stack them on top of each other.
- To print 1 set of the Ladder and Bomb Tokens, preferably mounting them on card.
- To print the Board (finished size A3), again mount on card if you’ve got it.
- To print 4 sets of the Cards.
- Four sets of card sleeves to place the cards in, preferably matching the player token colours.
- And to read the Dragons Hoard Rules.