Snakesss from Big Potato Games combines the best of trivia contests with the next-level play of hidden identities. Trivia board games have been among the most popular for decades, but some players seek more social gaming than straight tests of knowledge. Classic games like Mafia and Werewolf have players using a different part of their brains working through deception and logic to figure out who is the group’s betrayer. Snakesss presents the best of both worlds with answering trivia questions and some players seeking sabotage.
Snakesss consists of six rounds, each of which has players draw to be ordinary humans, snakes, or the Mongoose of Truth. The Mongoose of Truth serves as the only one who is guaranteed not to be a snake and thus trustworthy.
A question card is drawn with a multiple-choice bit of trivia on it, and the snakes get a sneak peek at the answer. Over the course of a debate, the snakes work to dissuade the humans of the right answer, using psychology, reverse psychology, and every other manipulative tool to get the humans mixed up. The questions are well crafted to inspire debate even if someone knows the right answer, such as asking “In which country did apples originate: Kazakhstan, China, or India?”
At the end of two minutes, everyone casts their votes for the right or wrong answer. The votes reveal humans’ answers as well as who was a snake. Humans and mongooses who answer correctly get points for every player who answered correctly, while snakes get a point for each incorrect answer. If a human or mongoose answered incorrectly, they get nothing for the round. After six rounds, the player with the most points wins.
Rather than having players stuck in the same role for the whole game, Snakesss changes things up by having players re-draw their role tiles each round. This gives everyone a chance to play as a scoundrel while also giving everyone a chance to find out how people act when they are given a particular role. Players might pursue a strategy of maintaining a flat character throughout, or they may go completely overboard with so much energy that people will trust them even when they do not know an answer.
One novel take on hidden-identity games used in Snakesss is that the moderator is still able to play. Usually, the moderator is out of play in hidden identity games, keeping track of rounds and calling out when which types of players can act. While Snakesss still goes through the stages of having the snakes open their eyes, having the answer on the back of the card allows it to be flipped and flipped back without ruining any surprises.
Snakesss is a trivia-and-hidden-identity game for four to eight players aged 12 and up. Each round is quick, lasting only a few minutes, so a whole game can be played in about half an hour. With its speediness and constant change-up in questions and roles, Snakesss is a great game night or party activity that will keep players guessing at the trivia as much as at each other.