The game had its origin in India and was called Moksha Patam or Parama Padam or Mokshapat. It was used to teach Hinduism and Hindu values to children. The British renamed it as Snake and Ladders.
Now, when and who created this game? Most people believe it was created by the 13th century poet saint Gyandev. There are certain references which take the game back to 2nd century BC.
The ladders represented virtues and snakes vices. In the original game square 12 was faith, 51 was Reliability, 57 was Generosity, 76 was Knowledge, and 78 was Asceticism. These were the squares were the ladder was found.