Players place ladder and girder cards in a particular pattern on the playing field starting from a girder strip to build a high-rise structure up to Donkey Kong who sits on his cardboard throne. Each time a card is played, the player moves their respective Mario pawn by die count up the card structure.
In addition to the plain ladder and girder cards are obstacle and remedy cards that are self-explanatory. If you're the first player to move your pawn up, above the highest girder where Donkey Kong sits, then you'll capture Donkey Kong and win the game. Oh joy!