Review: Cobra Paw

Sometimes, when picking a game, you want something quick. Something that doesn’t have 20 pages of rules to recap on, something you can play with anyone without having to water down the rules, a game which is so pick-up-and-play that you’re up and running in 30 seconds and laughing within a minute. That’s what Cobra Paw is all about, and while it’s quite unlikely you’ll fill a gaming night with just this one game, for killing half an hour it’s clear to see that this will prove a hit with the more casual gamers in your life.

There’s not much to explain about the Cobra Paw rules really. Domino-style tiles are laid out on the table, and players take it in turns to roll the two chunky dice to reveal two symbols to search for. Whoever finds the tile first and picks it up (using their fingers, according to the rules it’s shameful to slam your palm down onto it) and places it next to them. Whoever gets 6 tiles first wins. Easy. Easy? Not always.

There’s an additional twist to the grabbing procedure. Those tiles that you won and placed next to you? They’re still part of the game, and can be grabbed by any player when that dice roll comes up. If you don’t notice first and reclaim your tile you’ll lose it to the player that took it before you, so you’re not only keeping an eye on the pile of tiles scattered in the middle, but also yours and everyone else’s piles of winnings.

Aaaaand… that’s it. Games take about 10 minutes, will often result in fun, laughing and a small about of swearing if someone takes a tile of yours when you’re on the cusp of winning, but it’s a fast and frantic game that really is enjoyable for any age or level of gaming experience. There are a few variations to the rules too which tweak things slightly to give some variety, but essentially it’s the same game just with a few extra caveats added in for good measure.

Reviewing a game like this is quite tricky. I feel like I should be writing more, going into depth about tactics, or various ways to play, or the other things often looked for in a tabletop game, but Cobra Paw doesn’t need any of this. it’s just a fun, simple game that you should most definitely look at if you’re in the market for a light, family friendly game to play at short notice.

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