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Movable snakes and ladders and an evolving board layout turns a simple kid’s dice game into a game of tactics and probability.
159 backers pledged £5,185 to help bring this project to life.

About

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£5,185

159

'Snakes and Ladders: Unleashed' is a fast-paced dice game with a continuously evolving board layout and movable snakes and ladders. Players try to improve their chances of gaining ground faster, whilst at the same time trying to block their opponents’ progress.

 
  • Game play lasts typically 15-30 mins depending on the size of the board and the number of players.
  • Playable with all age groups 5 years + and skill levels, and highly portable. 
  • Set up in a few minutes
  • Very easy to learn.
  • Endless board configurations – the cards are the board – every game is different. 
  • Can be flexed to make easier or harder game play, depending on the player level and age.
  • Dice manipulation action cards to make the game even more tactical if you want.
  • Add-ons now included in the final week, so check them out below


This tactical card and dice game is the second Kickstarter campaign from award-winning games designer, Rafi Arkin.

An Example Board Layout (prototype card designs)
An Example Board Layout (prototype card designs)

The cards will be produced and printed by MPC. They are high quality square playing cards. 300gsm 60mm x 60mm. The wooden snakes and ladder pieces are locally sourced, and the players’ pieces are traditional wooden Meeples, but thicker and better.

The Logo!!!!
The Logo!!!!

Extensive play testing earlier this year has teased out the right balance of action cards, board sizes and snake/ladder lengths but players can make game play harder or easier by removing cards from the deck.

Example Board Layout (Prototype Cards)
Example Board Layout (Prototype Cards)

Why pledge now: 

We are still in early prototype design stage, so please don’t worry about the card finish you see on the video or in the images – these are early prototypes for play testing. We were just so keen to get the game out there that we couldn’t wait for prototypes. Isn’t that what Kickstarter should be all about?

By pledging now, you can help guide the final development of the game. We’ll listen to our backers and try to incorporate their useful suggestions and improvements.

Backers will receive the game at a discount as a reward and every reward set will have a limited edition number to make it extra special.

Without your help, we won’t be able to get this game out there.

Close in on the action (Inkjet card prototypes)
Close in on the action (Inkjet card prototypes)

Some of the best soundbites from our lovely play testers in London, UK:

“Snakes and Ladders on speed”

“A cross between Labyrinth and Craps”

“I never knew how mean my friends could be when I was leading!”

“Really easy to pick up”

“Rafi, you’re a genius. No really, you are” (my personal favourite)

“At times, reminded me a bit of Chaos – a single roll could start a hilarious chain reaction!"

The Snakes and Ladders that Move!
The Snakes and Ladders that Move!

Add-ons are finally here (in the last week of the campaign!) and not a moment too soon...  

Over the last month, I've had a number of requests for add-ons, so to conclude the final week, here are some add-ons designed to make Snakes & Ladders Unleashed even more fun, chaotic, personalised and flexible. 

We're handling all surveys and fulfilment etc. in-house so here's the instructions: 

1. Check out the add-ons below. If you want to add any, all you need to do is add up the total cost of the add-ons you want and increase your pledge amount by that much! 

2. When the survey comes out, you'll be able to tell us which add-ons you want along with your shipping info. There is no additional shipping costs for the add-ons, as long as you don't go overboard and they all fit into the box/bag! 

**

The List of add-ons (see below image for pledge amounts) 

12-card extension pack with additional action cards. Collaborative co-creation effort. I'll be asking the community for your ideas on this... 

Your own unique action card for your personal deck if you can't wait to find out if your idea makes it to the extension deck (* T&Cs creator has final say on the wording. No obscenities etc.!!) 

2 x Additional Meeples for games of 7 players or more. Games will get crazy, but why not! 

2 x Lamp Posts. For climbing up and shimmying down. Adds a new dimension to the game and who's ever heard of a lamp post in the original version of Snakes & Ladders?!

2 x additional Snakes and Ladders, for those of you just want to go a bit too far.

Add-ons list
Add-ons list

Any questions or confusion on this, let me know.   


Lay out ready to start
Lay out ready to start

The Rules of the Game.

Aim of the game: Get past the finish line first.

Game components

  • 130 action/movement cards (also used to create the board area)
  • 6 x snakes (2 different sizes)
  • 6 x ladders (2 different sizes)
  • 6 ‘Meeples’ playing pieces
  • 2 dice
The Game Components Including Six Wooden Meeples
The Game Components Including Six Wooden Meeples

Sample Action Cards

  • Move 2 spaces forward
  • Move a snake
  • Swap two players pieces
  • Send someone back 3 spaces.
  • Dice Adjust
Overview of the cards (Inkjet prototypes)
Overview of the cards (Inkjet prototypes)

Choosing who starts: 

Roll the dice – highest goes first. Play goes clockwise

Play about to start
Play about to start

Before starting

1. Lay out the board with the cards – you can select how big the board will be, but here are some recommendations.

For 2 players, 8 cards across x 6 rows up

For 3-4 players, 8 cards across x 5 rows up

For 5 or more players, 8 across x 4 rows up, or 10 x 3

Position all cards with the ‘arrows’ facing the way of play.

2. Allocate the snakes and ladders evenly among all the players. Each player gets to lay down a snake or ladder wherever they choose to. You cannot place the head of a snake on the same card as the bottom of the ladder. However, you can create a series of ladders or snakes by putting the start of one on the end of the other.

3. Deal 3 cards to each person.

Three cards each at the start
Three cards each at the start

A turn consists of the following actions:

1. Play a card from your hand. You may either use a black and white action card directly from your hand. Or add any card in your hand to the board on whichever card you wish to cover. Or discard a card. But you must always play a card.

2. Pick up another card to ensure you still have three in your hand.  

3. Roll the two dice. Move your go – the amount rolled on the two dice.  

4. If you land on the head (top) of a snake, or the bottom of a ladder, move down or up appropriately ignoring what is on the card where you originally landed.   

5. Do the action that is on the card you land on once you’ve gone up the ladder or down the snake.  

6. Continue following any actions as you land on cards. If your action involves another player moving, then they have to action whatever card they land on, until they land on a card with no actions. 

The Red Meeple Close Up!
The Red Meeple Close Up!

At the end of the game: 

The first player across the finish line triggers the end of the game. All remaining players can have one more turn. Note, crossing the finishing line is moving past the last card on the board. 

Once every player has had one more turn, if more than one player has crossed the finish line, then whoever is holding the highest movement card score wins (positives and negatives added together). E.g. If you have a +2 and a -1, then you are +1. If you have no positives or negatives, then you are 0. 

If there is a draw, then the drawing players should draw further cards from the pile. Until someone has a higher score than the others. 

The Wild Card (Inkjet printed prototype)
The Wild Card (Inkjet printed prototype)

There are a number of additional scenarios and rules to comply with: 

You can’t swap or move another player once they’ve crossed the finish line. They are safe.

A snake or ladder trumps an action card – you go up or down the snake/ladder – don’t play the action on the card. Do play the action on the end of a snake or ladder, once you have climbed / fallen. If you move a ladder or snake to a player’s current space, it does not apply to them. 

You can only go up or down a snake/ladder if you land on it from your dice role, or subsequent action move.

A card can be placed under someone’s piece, but it will not affect that person unless they land on that card again later in the game.

Snakes and ladders can be positioned wherever cards and distance allows.

Every card action can only happen once on each turn. E.g. if you land on a +2 that moves you forward to a -2, you are sent back and stay on the +2.

Bespoke made wooden pieces from a seller on Etsy
Bespoke made wooden pieces from a seller on Etsy

Game variations:  

The game components are designed to make the game play as flexible as possible and you can include different rules depending on how confident players are and how strategic or tactical you want the game play to be.

To make the game play simpler:

  • Remove some of the action cards, positive and negative cards. This increases the percentage of blank cards in the deck, simplifying game play. 
  • Remove the number of snakes and ladders. Typically four ladders and four snakes are plenty in an 8 x 5 board.

For 2 player games:  

  • Make the game more tactical by giving each player four cards and allowing them to play two cards each turn.
Close up of the 'Reverse Snakes & Ladders' Card
Close up of the 'Reverse Snakes & Ladders' Card

There are several ways to make the game play harder and more tactical:

  • Blank Removal: Remove 10-15 of the blanks cards from the pack.
  • Four card hands: Give all players four cards in their hands to make it easier to hold powerful cards towards the end of the game.
  • Two-card placement: Allow players to play 2 cards each turn.  
  • Board Extension: Allow players to extend the board area by placing cards into a new row at the top of the board.  
  • Dice Manipulation Cards: Include the ‘Adjust dice roll’ cards. When you play these cards allow you to adjust your dice roll by up to 3 points either way (+/-3). So if you roll a 7, you can move 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Of course, to make the game even less random, you can increase this to +/-4 points either way. You play these the same way as any action card. Play at the start of your turn, and once you’ve rolled the dice, use Adjustment when moving your piece.  
  • Snake Eyes: Roll a double-one and you go back to the start.  
  • Snake Eyes Evil: Roll a double-one and send someone else back to the start.
Dice Adjust Card Design (inkjet prototype)
Dice Adjust Card Design (inkjet prototype)

If you come across any further scenarios that have not been explained in the rules, agree among all players how to apply the rules. Let us know what they are, so that we can add them to future rules. 

The White Meeple Close Up
The White Meeple Close Up

What are you funding?

You’re funding the prototypes, designs and first print run of ‘Snakes and Ladders: Unleashed'.

Unlike some Kickstarter game campaigns, we haven’t printed a prototype set yet – we were too excited to get the game out there. What you currently see are just mock-ups to bring the game to life. As the campaign goes forward, we hope to bring you some more images of the prototypes.

The money raised will go on printing, packaging and sending of the prototypes and then the first edition game packs themselves. (And any fees from Kickstarter etc.)

Early prototype featuring Lamp posts for Snakes!
Early prototype featuring Lamp posts for Snakes!

The Rewards


There are two main levels of reward. 

The first is a set of 'Snakes and Ladders: Unleashed' in a cotton drawstring bag. 

The second is a set that will be sent in a varnished wooden box. 

The only differences are the vessel and the associated cost of the reward and the postage. The bag is more versatile when you're travelling and need to pack the game away. The box is more substantial.

Here's the sample box, not quite finished, and with a test logo print on the top.

Test Box - unfinished, test logo print
Test Box - unfinished, test logo print

Next Steps

  • Once we’re successfully funded, it’s simple. We press the button on the printing process.
  • We start with producing the prototypes, to make sure that the designs are working.
  • Once prototypes approved, we print the first limited edition, for backer’s rewards.

MPC will be producing the high quality playing cards. Gloss, 300gsm. MPC produced our last Kickstarter campaign, Letter Playing Cards, and have produced some of the most successful Kickstarter playing card projects. The boxes will be sourced from an established supplier.

MPC Printers
MPC Printers
 
Snake Close Up
Snake Close Up

Time Line

We hope to have the rewards out to all our backers by mid-December, so you receive them in time for the Christmas holidays. Saying that, worst case is January, as per our original estimate on the rewards.
Timeline
Timeline
 
Alternative Board Layout Scenario
Alternative Board Layout Scenario
 

Who’s in the team?

Rafi Arkin came up with the game idea, and brought it to life. I’m an award-winning games designer, and also work in marketing, developing strategy and running successful advertising campaigns for many successful brands.

A number of supportive and creative people helped develop the designs and copy.

The Gold Meeple and Dice
The Gold Meeple and Dice

Thank you

If you’ve reached the end of the page, then we’d like to thank you for your interest in the project so far. If you have any questions, please ask. 

Overview after placement (Inkjet printed prototypes)
Overview after placement (Inkjet printed prototypes)

Risks and challenges

The risks to this board game launch are limited and few.

Reaching the funding amount: We’ve kept it really low. Practically break-even.

Printing – we’re using MPC. They’ve successfully helped dozens of Kickstarter projects. Reliable is their middle name and we've used them before with Letter Playing Cards.

Timings. We know how long each step takes. We have set aside six weeks for two rounds of prototype cards to be printed, and six weeks for the final print run and distribution. We’ll keep you up to speed along the way so you know how your rewards are coming along. If we can get the rewards out before Christmas, we'll let you know.

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    Pledge £46 or more About $59

    2 x sets in a varnished wooden box

    You will receive two sets of Snakes & Ladders: Unleashed in a varnished wooden box.

    You can keep one and give one away, give them both away, or keep them both and create huge boards with double the fun!

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Funding period

- (45 days)