SnapGammon is a game by Jeremy Lennert and William Fisher, published by Victory Point Games. It is for 2 players. In this game, players will take the role of two rival cowboys racing to load their cows onto the train. The player that can get all of their cows on board first will be declared the winner.
To begin, the board is laid out flat between the players. 15 red and 15 blue cow tokens are set up on the board as designated by the rules. The remaining tokens are set aside and will be used for the cards. The yellow doubling cube is placed with the “1” side facing up and is placed between the players. The cards are shuffled together. 3 cards are then dealt to each player with the remaining cards set aside, not to be used during the game. Players decide who goes first and play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they will roll the dice to see how far they can move. The dice will be used separately to each move one cow token or to move one cow token twice. The tokens are moved in a horseshoe direction, going down one side, over and then up toward the player’s train color. The only restriction is that cow tokens can now move to a space that already contains 2 or more of the opponents cows on it. If a player rolls doubles on the dice, they will play each die twice, giving them a total of 4 moves. If at any time a player moves to a space that contains exactly one of their opponents cow tokens, that token is removed from the board and placed in the player’s cowpen. Those tokens will start one space off the board and have to move all the way around to be placed on the train. Any cows inside the cowpen must be moved out before moving any other cow tokens. If the other player is blocking the space that the dice rolls would let you move to, that player forfeits the rest of their moves. Players can not board their cow tokens onto the train until all of their cows are in the player’s home station, which is the 6 spaces closest to their colored train. Once this happens, cows can be moved by using a rolled die with the exact distance on it. The cow token that is the furthest out can board the train by using a higher number than the remaining distance.
At any time during a player’s turn, they can play one of their cards from their hand. To do this, they will play the card face up and choose one of the two effects listed on it. Once used, the card is discarded. Only one card may be played on a player’s turn.
If players are playing multiple games, the doubling cube can really come into play. If on a player’s turn they feel like they are going to win and before they roll the dice, they can rotate the doubling cube to display the next highest number and then hand it to their opponent. The opponent has the option of resigning the game immediately. The doubling is nullified but the player that doubled wins the game. If the opponent does not resign, then the player that wins will now win twice as many points at the end of the game. The player can choose to double on their next turn as well, which then passes the cube back to the other player.
All of this continues until one player boards all of their cow tokens onto their colored train. That player is the winner. If playing multiple games, scoring then occurs based on whether the opponent has boarded any cows and if they have any cows left in the winners home station or in the cowpen. When playing multiple games, players add up their points and the player with the most overall points is the winner.
The game comes packaged inside a sleeved box, much like Columbia Games does with their games. There is a nice looking board that is made of very thin cardboard, much like the maps for Columbia Games war games. It looks very much like a brightly colored Backgammon board. There are some really unique looking cards that have some really nice looking artwork on them. I really like the cartoon like cow designs on them as well as on the tokens. Speaking of the tokens, there are quite a few cardboard tokens to punch out. They look really fun and silly. There are a couple of blank six sided dice with stickers that have to be placed on them. Good thing is there are instructions as well as extras in case you mess up. There are also some regular dice that are just your average every day six sided dice. Lastly, there is something that looked out of place inside the box, a white paper napkin. I thought, “What’s this doing here?” Then I read the writing on it. It said that this is used to wipe off any printing residue on the tokens. I thought, “Ok, sure.” That’s when I used it to wipe off the tokens only to find some really nasty looking black residue on the napkin. I guess that they knew what they were talking about. Anyway, the components are all really nice and the theme of rounding up cattle into your train is very much a part of each piece.
8 out of 10
The rulebook is really well done and looks really nice. It’s in full color which is a plus. Everything is put together really well and is easy to read and understand. There are lots of pictures throughout the book. There are even some great variants for changing up the game once you’re tired of playing it the normal way. There is a 4 page appendix that explains every card and how they work with pictures. I really like that this part was added as it helps if you get confused with the cards. Attention was definitely paid to every detail in this rulebook. I really like every aspect of it and think that it was really well done.
9 out of 10
This game is inspired by Backgammon and takes a lot of it’s strategy from there. However the added variants and theme make it feel like a completely different game. I’ll be honest, I don’t ever see me actually playing Backgammon. I really had no desire to even attempt the game. That’s one thing that’s really great about this game. You won’t realize that you’re playing Backgammon, especially when you add all the crazy variants. This is a really fun game and it’s easy to play. That’s why I really enjoy it. I always thought that Backgammon would be extremely difficult, even more so then Chess. For the record, I love Chess. This game opened my eyes to a classic game by placing a really cool looking wrapper and theme on it. It’s really fun and is something that you can easily play with the kids. I really enjoy it and find the theme lots of fun.
9 out of 10
SnapGammon is a great reimplementation of the classic game of Backgammon. It’s doesn’t take that long to play through a game. Most games average around 15 to 20 minutes. If you decide to go with multiple games for a match, of course that time frame is going to go a bit longer. The theme and artwork is very light and fun. The kids will enjoy it for sure. The game is very easy to learn but has tons of strategy, much like the classic game of Backgammon. This is a game that fans of Backgammon will enjoy as will new players. It’s one that Grandpa can play with the grandkids and both of them enjoy it. This is a really fun game and one that I definitely enjoy. I highly recommend it. It’s a great new classic.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Victory Point Games at their site.