Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"Snorta!" by Out of the Box Games

(originally published in the Missoulian of Missoula, MT on 05/01/05)

Parties aren’t the best place to try out a new game. No one knows the rules, the game could be terrible, and even if it is a good game, it might not be a good fit for the festive atmosphere.
Well, I’d like to say that I took these things into account when Annie and I went over to my co-worker Lynn’s place for Easter Sunday. We brought two games, and I’d like to say that we thought long and hard about which games would be appropriate for a family of five.


I am sorry to report that, while we did consider one game, we also grabbed one we hadn’t even opened. To our surprise, however, the game we thought would be great was not (it wasn’t a party game), and the game we knew absolutely nothing about stole the show. The hit was called Snorta!

Snorta! is the product of Chris Childs and Tony Richardson at Out-of-the-Box Games and is a true original . While it might take a while getting comfortable with the name, Snorta! takes virtually no time to learn. Each player receives a certain amount of animal cards. Then he picks an animal figurine (a rooster, a cow, a cat, a pig, etc.) and makes the appropriate animal sound, so that everyone else can hear. Once the players hide their animals behind their mini-barns, the fun begins.

One player starts the game by flipping over a card. The next player does the same, and this continues until there is a match. A speed battle ensues, and the first player to shout out the opponent’s animal sound (not the sound of the matched animal cards) wins the stand-off. Cards are given to the loser, and the first player to run out of cards wins.

Annie and I played a few games with Lynn’s kids Anderson, Randall, and Bailey, as well as a few games including Lynn. I wanted to know what the kids thought, so I set up a time to speak with them.

Bailey, a second grader at Lewis and Clark Elementary, had nothing but good things to say about Snorta! When asked what he liked best, Bailey said, "I like that ... you have to be fast and good at remembering." When pressed for anything he didn’t like, he said, "I like all of it." On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), Bailey gave Snorta! a 10.

Anderson, a seventh grader at Washington Middle School, liked "the little [figurines] of animals." She had a problem with the special "SWAP" card which forces players to change animals mid-game and felt that it made the game "easier." A tougher critic than her little brother, she gave Snorta! a 7.

Randall could not be reached for comment.

Lynn had a few things to add as well. "I liked that we could all play it," she said, "It wasn’t exclusive. The ability level is the same for everybody." She gave Snorta! a 9.

Anyone listening that Easter evening would have heard a variety of animal sounds (Moo! Baa! Quack!) followed by uncontrolled laughter. Sure, there was a certain level of risk involved in bringing a brand new game to the party, but I’ve never been more glad I did.

Cost: $19.99
Players: 4 to 8
Age: 8 and up
Time to play: 30 minutes
Rating (1 to 10, 10 being the best): 7
Additional Comments: This game is the great equalizer. It's an awesome game for a big family or a big group of friends. Best for younger crowds.


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10:32 PM  

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