Flood Snakes & Ladders


An updated version of our interactive Flood Snakes & Ladders game will be available soon. This game takes participants on a flood journey from a child’s perspective, using real research data to explore what it is like to experience and recover from flooding.

Flood Snakes & Ladders was originally developed in 2009 by Lancaster University researchers from the Hull Floods Project. It was designed as a training tool for front-line workers to provide an insight into the difficulties that families encounter during the long-term recovery from a disaster. The idea for the game came from one adult participant in the research who told us that recovering from a flood was ‘…a bit like a game of snakes and ladders – you think you’re making progress and then you have a massive setback and have to go back to square one!’ Based on this comment, we designed the game to simulate the ‘backwards and forwards’ nature of recovery.

We have now updated that original version to focus on the experiences of children and young people, using quotations and photographs from our Children, Young People and Flooding Project. This game can be played either online or ‘live’ in a workshop setting and gives participants a first-hand insight into the experience of flooding from a child’s point of view.

Flood Snakes & Ladders is a versatile training tool that can be used in a variety of situations. For example:

  • With emergency planners – to highlight the issues that they might wish to think about when planning recovery
  • With policy makers – to help them experience how their policies are played out on the ground
  • With public and private sector practitioners involved in disaster recovery – for example, insurers, loss adjusters, damage management professionals, local government workers, teachers, health professionals – to highlight good and bad practice and stimulate debate on the best ways to manage recovery
  • With students – to help them explore the disaster recovery process, to illustrate the potential consequences of climate change and as the basis for exploring issues of flood preparedness and response
  • The game also makes an excellent ‘ice-breaker’ for courses dealing with a wide range of subjects – from hazard and disaster management to emergency planning and understanding the social impacts of climate change. While flooding is the case study used, the game shines a light on issues generic to disaster preparedness, experience and recovery

Guide to Playing Flood Snakes & Ladders