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Snap: The Interlocking Dragon-Making Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First session of Snap with my 4-yo rss

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Rebekah B
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I picked up a copy of Snap at the thrift store over the weekend. It was missing the rules, but Gamewright's website includes rules to all their games. Snap includes four game variations. The first version, called Snap, seemed the most interesting. Basically, it's a tile game where you're trying to earn the most points by completing dragons. Longer dragons give you more points, and special tiger tiles act like bonuses.

The rules suggested an age range of 10 to adult, but I didn't see anything that looked too difficult for my 4-yo, who is used to tile-laying games like The Ark of the Covenant and Snake Pit. The latter has some definite similarities to Snap, so I didn't see the age as a problem.

My son had played with the game tiles, putting them together like a puzzle, several times since I'd brought the game home. His familiarity with the pieces and how they fit together showed right away. He could see where the connections were much faster than I could. I felt a little cross-eyed looking at the pieces.

In the game, you score points based on how many connections (called snaps) are in a completed dragon. A one-snap dragon counts for one point, and a multiple-snap dragon counts for twice the points as there are snaps. I managed to complete the first dragon to score all of one point. The next turn, he played a tile that completed two dragons, giving him nine points. He continued to rack up a sizeable lead until I started to close the gap.

When the score was 20-24 with my son leading, I drew a lucky tile. One particular dragon had gotten quite large. Earlier in the game, I had had the tiles in my hand to finish the dragon over multiple turns, but my son had made a play that made my plan impossible. Now, I had the tile needed to finish that dragon. Not only was it large (seven snaps), but it was also next to a tiger tile, meaning it would count double the points. With one tile, I went ahead 48-24.

My son got a little frustrated at this, until he drew the last card, which was a tiger tile. If you play a tiger tile touching a completed dragon, you get to rescore the points for it. He was able to play it on the large dragon, which brought us to a slight problem with the rules. Because that dragon was already touching a tiger tile (and thus originally scored double), I wasn't sure if he was supposed to score the amount for the dragon itself (14 points), or the dragon plus the original bonus (28 points). We went with the latter, giving us a final score of 59-58, my win.

Some thoughts: There seems to be a lot of luck-of-the-draw in the game, only partially offset by the strategy. You only keep three tiles in your hand at a time, so I felt like a lot of the game was spent waiting for a good tile. The tiger tiles played an interesting part in the game. There's definitely an advantage to being the one to draw and place a tiger, but it can also help your opponent, who can play off the tiger once it's on the table. In our game, my son had placed the tiger that gave me the big bonus points. I personally prefer games that allow players to come from behind until the very end, and I feel the tiger tiles allow this. On the other hand, the swings in score were so large that they pretty much decided the game. It will be interesting to see if that holds true in future games.

Overall, it was a fun game that requires more thought than many kids' games.
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