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Eels & Escalators: How does it work?

At first glace we might assume that "Eels & Escalators" is simply a sub-aquatic take on the classic "Snakes & Ladders". But this is not the case at all. Let's take a closer look at the game board.

It seems simple enough. There's a start square, a finish square, a path between those two points and a series of eels and escalators. This is where the shenanigans begin. In a typical game of Snakes & Ladders, landing on a ladder is a positive move and takes you closer to the finish line. Snakes have the opposite effect. In Eels & Escalators, however, one of the escalators actually impedes your progress and one of the eels takes you to the square adjacent to the finish line.

Then there's the dice. Given that the object of the game is to travel along a path, you'd expect the dice to be numbered, right? Wrong. In Eels & Escalators, both dice feature pictures of eels and escalators. Roll two eels, you ride the eel. Roll two escalators, you ride the escalator. Roll one of each, you sit there wondering what the heck you are supposed to do and why the game even comes with two dice when your eel/escalator fate could be much more easily decided with a single die. The main path through the middle of the board is completely useless, by the way, since without a numbered die you have no means of navigating it.

Provided you don't roll any unmatching pairs, you might get lucky and ride three escalators in a row. Unfortunately, none of the escalators take you to the finish square so this does not constitute a win, but it's the closest you're going to get. From that point on you have no choice but to continue rolling the dice until you ride every single eel, finishing with the "You Lose!" eel. That's right - there's a losing space and the only way to end the game is for all players to land on it.

In conclusion, Eels & Escalators may be one of the most sadistic board games in existence and fully justifies SpongeBob's use of Bad Word #11.