Olivia Meeple and Ryan review HABA’s Snail Sprint, a racing game with magnetic snails.
Published By: HABA
Player Count: 2-4
Designers: Rüdiger Dorn & Tim Rogasch
Game Type: Racing
Skills Learned: Matching Symbols
Note: HABA provided a free review copy for an honest review.
Overview. Snail Sprint is a cooperative racing game where no one is just one color/character. Instead, at the start of each game, everyone is given a card with 3 snail colors on it (there are a total of 6 colors in the game) – those three colors are the ones you want to get to the finish line in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Of course, you want to keep those colors a secret. So how do you race? Players take turns rolling 2 dice, each die has all 6 colors/shapes (each color is also a different shape) on it. One die stands for the color snail that is moved and the other die stands for the color/symbol they move to on the board (next available space). For example, a green and orange dice combo means I can either move the green snail to the next orange space or the orange snail to the next green space. However, there are a couple of twists. First, a snail counts as one color space. This means, sometimes you will be stacking snails on top of each, and only the top snail is allowed to move (and only the top snail is counted as the color of the space).
There is one more twist (possibly the best twist of the game) – the metal tin that the game comes in is also part of the racecourse. You have to climb up and down the tin when racing! The snails have magnets on the bottom of them which allows them to stick to the tin. (As a note, when racing up and down the tin – you don’t stack snails). Players play until there are 3 snails on the winner’s platform and then everyone reveals their personal scoring card. Players score points depending on which snails on their card are on the winner’s platform. The player with the most points wins.
A couple of things that should be noted here: First, the tin has a path printing on all four sides, meaning you can change the colors that come up by how you orient the tin at set up of the game. Also, the tin has the same path printed on the inside of the tin as the outside of the tin. So if you’re sitting on one side of the tin and playing a snail on the opposite side, you can view which color or shape is available by looking inside the tin. The cardboard part of the track is also double-sided with a more “advanced” board on the other side.
Parent’s Take: Snail Sprint! is a pretty neat HABA game that can be played with younger children. It reminds me a little like the Iello game, The Hare & The Tortoise. However, this one is easier for younger kids to get the hang of (as each snail moves the same) and it has that cool table presence of the game tin being part of the game with the magnetic snails. My wife likes to slide the snails on the tin, she said it feels thematic with the way snails moves. I will say the game takes a while to build up, but that may just me, no one else seems to mind that. However, as you start making your way down the tin and get closer to the finish line, gameplay starts to pick up more as you try to make sure you can maneuver the snail colors you want to the winner’s platform. In the end, I found myself liking more the novelty of the magnetic snails and the idea behind the game more than the gameplay itself (though my wife seems to really enjoy her plays). I will say that the novelty may bring other kids and families to the table that may not normally be interested in playing board games. And that this game seems to really do well with its target market, as seen by Olivia’s take below…
Olivia Meeple’s (Age 5) Take: I really like this game. I love that the magnetic snails stick to the gamebox. I love the cover, because there are two pretty snails racing on it. I like that pink and purple and blue and green snails! It uses all my favorite colors.
It’s just very fun! It’s very easy to play and other kids should play this game so they can see that it is fun and that is good too.
If you like to pick up a copy of that game, you can do so via HABA’s online store: https://www.habausa.com/snail-sprint/