Pros: Teaches kids how to count; Inexpensive Cons: Counting back and forth gets confusing; Often brings out the worst in kids-can be highly frustrating. The Bottom Line: Chutes and Ladders is an acceptable game, but it is not without its faults. Most board games require at least some knowledge of reading, spelling, etc., but this game doesn't require the ability to read and is designed for young children. Chutes and Ladders is like a classic game that introduces kids to board games. Basic goal: Be the first player to reach the last square on the game board and you win. The last square happens to be numbered 100 and between that square and the beginning, there are other numbered squares: Ten rows of ten squares each, to be exact. Players start just outside of square one and slowly work their way up the game board until someone reaches the 100th square. Getting to the top can be either aided or impeded depending on the space on which a player lands. If a player lands at the base of a ladder, he/she can climb the ladder to the space above, at the top of the ladder. Land on the top of a chute, and the player must slide down the chute to a lower square. Players begin Chutes and Ladders game play by selecting a token (a cardboard cutout of a person, placed in a plastic base) and then spinning the spinner device. The spinner contains the numbers one through six and whatever number the spinner points to is the number of spaces one gets to advance. Play continues, with players moving back and forth, counting up and down the rows of numbers, climbing ladders and sliding down chutes, until someone reaches the final square. Chutes and Ladders is a game made with children in mind and there are likely few among us who do not have memories of playing this game at some point in their early years. There is no reading required with Chutes and Ladders. All one needs to be able to do is count as high as six and be able to at least read the number on the spinner. Because of its basic design and strategy, Chutes and Ladders is a good introductory game to the world of board games and it's the type of game that most any child, age three and up, can figure out with minimal guidance. Those at the lower end of the recommended age range can benefit from playing Chutes and Ladders because it helps them learn to count. Kids who are older can play the game with siblings and/or friends and keep themselves entertained for at least fifteen minutes and sometimes longer [Great if you need to, say, cook dinner!]. Chutes and Ladders is a good game for teaching kids what board games are all about and it serves as a launching point for other games. For this and other reasons, Chutes and Ladders deserves at least some respect. However, I am not willing to award this game the five star rating and the rave review that others have often given. How could I possibly not appreciate the greatness of Chutes and Ladders, you ask? Well, it is because Chutes and Ladders isn't the perfect game that many believe it to be and it actually has more flaws than meets the eye. You may not notice these flaws right away, but they become more evident as you play the game with your kids. Let's begin with the game board. As stated before, Chutes and Ladders is a simple game. All the players have to do is start at square number one and gradually count their way back and forth as they climb to the final square. This sounds simple enough, but the problem is that the squares, while numbered, do not quickly indicate which way is forward and which way is backward. The game begins by moving to the right but once you reach the tenth square, you have to move up one square and then move to the left. The problem is that children will get confused and will start moving in the opposite direction. You can't blame them- they were moving to the right on the previous row and now they have to move to the left. True, the squares are numbered but kids (and actually, many adults, too) will not even notice the numbers on the squares. They will just take their token in hand and start to count the number of spaces indicated by the spinner. They often will not even realize that they are moving backward. Next, I have an issue with the frustration that comes with playing Chutes and Ladders. Now, we all agree that, when playing a game, someone has to win and someone has to lose and that learning how to lose is part of the game of life. But the problem with Chutes and Ladders is that it seems to bring out the frustration and resentment levels in kids to a greater degree than other games. A child will be close to winning and then, suddenly, he/she lands on the long chute near the top and suddenly finds himself in last place. His confidence is deflated and he feels resentful toward his opponents who are now several rows ahead. I have witnessed several games of Chutes and Ladders that ended with one player angrily walking away and refusing to finish due to the negative psychological effects of those annoying chutes. Sure, it happens in other games, too, but the hurt feelings seem to occur with greater frequency when playing Chutes and Ladders. All in all, it does get confusing when counting back and forth and the game can lead to frustration in children. However, this is something that even kids must go through and learn from! Chutes and Ladders still serves its purpose as a launching pad for the enjoyment of board games in general. I love Chutes and Ladders and it has its merits and is worthy of an introduction to a family with young kids. But at the same time, I know many who have been so frustrated with this as a kid they never want to see the board again! Take away -- try it out, the price isn't at all going to make or break the outcome. Yes I would recommend this for a friend.
Yes I would purchase this as a gift for a child of a friend or a child's friend.
Definitely not for those with low tolerance for all things frustrating, set backs, and downward stock markets. ha ha.
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