I've had this one in my collection for a while now…time to post a review!
I bought Snap as the beginning of a sustained effort…to find kid-friendly games to introduce my growing family to the wonderful world of board games.
My son, then 4, had some experience putting together jig-saw puzzles, and I saw Snap as a way to add point values and victory conditions to an already engaging past time. Mwa-ha-ha!
At the beginning, he was more interested in making dragons than in playing the "game." However after a year of familiarity, he knows the rules and can make double-snap dragons with the best of them.
Points are gained from making entire dragons…a single point for making a dragon with a single "snap" or connection, double points for each "snap" in a dragon after that.
Valid strategies exist both in making lots of little single-snap dragons or going for the more awesome multi-snap beasts. In fact, you'll probably have to do a little of both if you plan on success. However…beware of your opponent seizing your carefully constructed multi-snap partial-dragon for his own dark machinations!
My son will pursue single snaps mostly, depending on his attention. However, the occasional "super dragon" is formed when he draws just the right piece to improbably fit several surrounding jig-saw pieces together. He always seems to find these, in fact I would go on to say there is some sort of "kindergartner luck field" which makes these 100-to-1 dragon creation scenarios possible.
Other non-point-scoring dragons include the dragon with no tail (and two heads), the dragon with no head (and two tails), or the most bizarre…the "ring dragon", like a similar dreaded intestinal parasite, lacks a clearly defined head or tail. The lack of points never seems to deter these strange creatures from arising out of the primordial jig-saw soup.
And of course there is the scoring. My copy came with a notepad and a pencil included…I wish more game designers would make this small investment. I now have a record of scores I can keep with the box (much like a Yatzee game) and see the gradual development in skill, penmanship…and hopefully the eventual dissipation of the "luck field" (perhaps when he enters 1st grade?). Seriously, he's matched 3 sides before!
Construction-wise, the jig-saw puzzle pieces do take a beating. My copy is already pretty worn with the cardboard separating on numerous pieces. Luckily, the colors on top matter more than how the components actually "fit" together…all colors naturally link up so even if the cardboard gets mushy the game can easily be played.
I really don't know how the jig-saw damage can be avoided, save for shrink-wrapping each individual piece. If someone goes ahead and does this…please post pictures and email me!
Game play works really well for 2 people, but I have also played 3 person (with wife) and 4 person (with grandparent). Easily scales upwards to include extra people.
If the game designers for this game are reading, I'd like to thank them personally for putting together a really solid, simple game. Love playing it!