Submission #8994: Winslinator's GBA Chutes and Ladders in 01:12.50

(Link to video)
Game Boy Advance
BizHawk 2.9.1
Submitted by Winslinator on 4/2/2024 2:23:08 PM
Submission Comments


  • Heavy luck manipulation
  • Genre: Board game

The Concept of Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders is a children's game in which you flick a spinner and move the number of spaces indicated. If you land on a space at the foot of a ladder, you get to climb up it and move several spaces ahead. Land on the top of a slide though, and you'll slide down several spaces back. There is still no decision-making to be had and no skill to be applied, making the game literally 100% luck.

Fastest Game in Theory

The game can be completed in as little as seven turns, and there are multiple paths which can be taken to do so. This blog post estimates the probability of such a game at 1 in 622, and would be a rare yet ideal game to get in a TAS.


Each number given from the spinner is not like some sort of Schrodinger's cat situation, where you could manipulate luck and spin a different number by waiting a certain number of frames. No, the entire number spin sequence is set all the way back when pressing "Start" on the main title screen (the one for all three games). Going back to the main title screen will not advance RNG in any meaningful way (i.e., it will simply start over). Therefore, the only way to change the numbers spun in any game of Chutes and Ladders is to wait more frames on the main title screen. This also means if we have to wait a long time on the main title screen to manipulate a seven-turn game, it may end up being slower in favor of a game taking more turns but didn't have to wait on the main title screen as long. The question is, how could we quickly filter our what main title screen start frame yields the fastest game? After all, that is a lot of games to check.

TASing Process

In this TAS we select a 1 player vs 1 computer mode. However, there is another mode available which makes this significantly easier to TAS, which is that you can make BOTH players be controlled by the computer. In selecting this mode, you wouldn't need to press a single button to watch the game reach its conclusion. This means in theory, we could write a lua script which would iterate through each main title screen start frame, navigate through a predetermined sequence of inputs to get through the subsequent menus, do nothing as the two computers duke it out, then output the time when one of the players reaches the final space on the board in a timely manner. This will give us a rough idea of which games would be fastest when replayed with an active player introduced.
Interestingly, the fastest game after I processed all candidate computer simulations into played games was the frame 733 start, which not only lasted 8 turns, but also had player 2 finish first (that's 1.5 turns more than best). Despite this, it ended up being fastest because 1) The wait on the title screen wasn't that long, and 2) neither player took unnecessary ladders or slides, which would have particularly costly animations. Compare this to the first 7-turn game I found which not only occurs at start frame 931 (198 frames later), but both players also took three unnecessary ladders and a slide. That game finishes 819 frames slower than the one in this submission.

Darkman425: Gonna climb up this ladder first before judging this.
Darkman425: I was going to make a joke about Snakes & Ladders but ended up in a small bit about learning the game's relation to Indian culture that was a fun read.
As for the submission, these notes are gonna sound familiar with the ones a few moments ago. The submission plays out a game that takes slightly longer than the theoretical shortest game in turn count. However, it ends up faster as the first found 7 turn took longer to get the RNG seed for as well as being a more eventful game with longer turns. I do like situations where the intuitively fastest approach, in this case a game with the shortest number of turns, ends up slower than what was found in practice. Nice work again on quickly finishing board games!
Accepting to Standard.
fsvgm777: Processing.
Last Edited by fsvgm777 6 days ago
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