Snakes & Ladders (Solution)

by Mike Yi and Darby Kimball, based on an idea by Amos Eshel

Teams must play a game of Snakes & Ladders on the board such that they travel from the start square containing SNAKE to the final square containing LADDER while constructing a valid word ladder between the two words that contains all of the puzzle answers contributing to the meta. The number of rolls listed below the board indicate the number of die rolls that must be made to go between one keyword to the next (for example, to go from SNAKE to the first puzzle answer PLOT requires six rolls); the number of spaces moved with each roll is a number from 1 to 6.

On each space is inscribed a letter, which determines how the word ladder should proceed. On a space without a ladder (blue arrow upwards) or snake (red arrow downwards), a letter in the word coming into the square must be replaced by the letter contained in the square (e.g. from the start square, a roll of 2 lands on the letter R in square 3, suggesting the change from start word SNAKE to the word SNARE). When landing on the foot of a ladder, the letter at that location should first be inserted into the word, then the letter at the ladder's head should be replaced as if that square was landed on with a regular roll. When landing on the top of a snake, a letter in the word matching the letter at the snake's head must be removed, then the letter at the snake's tail should be replaced as per a normal roll. In the case of a letter addition or subtraction due to a ladder or snake, the intermediate word should also be valid as the player travels up or down.

If the ladder is constructed properly, note the squares in which the puzzle answers are generated in the word ladder. Taking the differences between the square numbers for consecutive keywords (including the endpoints) and converting them into numbers (1=A, 2=B, etc.), you obtain the puzzle answer GREAT WALL.

RollSquare (letter)Word
(start)1 (SNAKE)SNAKE
23 (R)snare
69 (H)share
615 (O)shore
520 (T)short
121 (-R)shot
(snake)2 (L)slot
68 (P)PLOT
311 (W)plow
617 (-P)low
(snake)4 (C)cow
37 (D)cod
310 (+L)cold
(ladder)13 (H)hold
114 (Y)holy
216 (+L)holly
(ladder)26 (M)MOLLY
430 (D)moldy
636 (O)moody
339 (G)goody
241 (S)goods
344 (-O)gods
(snake)27 (E)goes
633 (D)does
538 (I)dies
442 (-E)dis
(snake)23 (D)did
528 (A)dad
129 (M)mad
231 (N)MAN
435 (B)ban
540 (+E)bane
(ladder)63 (L)bale
568 (-B)ale
(snake)32 (I)ALI
537 (+T)alit
(ladder)80 (S)slit
282 (P)spit
284 (-S)pit
(snake)46 (F)fit
652 (A)FAT
153 (M)mat
154 (+H)math
(ladder)75 (S)MASH
277 (C)cash
178 (+R)crash
(ladder)83 (B)brash
689 (-R)bash
(snake)70 (T)bath
676 (O)OATH
379 (-H)oat
(snake)60 (E)eat
565 (+S)east
(ladder)88 (L)LAST
290 (I)list
393 (-S)lit
(snake)47 (E)lie
451 (P)pie
657 (+R)pier
(ladder)64 (T)tier
569 (+G)tiger
(ladder)72 (L)liger
173 (A)lager
174 (+R)larger
(ladder)97 (D)larder
3100 (D)LADDER