Posted by: gschloesser | August 11, 2011


Design by:  Alvin Madden
Publisher:  SimplyFun
2 – 8 Players, 20 – 30 minutes
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser 

Remember the silly card game Spoons, wherein players attempt to collect sets of cards and quickly grab spoons once that task is accomplished?  It is a very light card game completely devoid of any strategy, and is best left to young children and pre-teens.  That was about my age the last time I played, and I haven’t really missed it. 

SimplyFun has resurrected the game under the name Sneaks.  Gone is the necessity to raid the cutlery drawer for spoons, as the game comes complete with seven rubber sneakers.   A customized deck of cards, numbered 1 – 10 in four suits, completes the components. 

Game play could not be simpler.  A number of sneakers equal to one less than the number of players are placed within reach of all players.  Each player is dealt four cards, and the dealer begins the game by drawing one card from the deck.  Players simultaneously pass one card to the player on their left, taking the card passed to them into their hands.  The player to the right of the dealer discards a card.  This procedure continues – usually at a frantic pace – with cards flowing into and out of players’ hands until one player manages to collect a set of four cards.  That player deftly grabs a sneaker, at which point observant players will then rush to grab one of the remaining sneakers.  One player will be left without a shoe, and will receive a letter.  The dealer role then moves to the next player, and the entire process is repeated over and over until one player accumulates enough letters to spell “S-N-E-A-K-S”.  That player is eliminated, and play continues until only one player remains.  He is the Sneaks champion.

While there is absolutely no strategy involved, the game is light, silly fun.  The frantic pace escalates the tension, and players must keep an eye on their opponents so they will be able to quickly react when one reaches for a sneaker.  The mad rush to grab a sneaker generally results in much excitement and laughter, which is really what the game is all about. 

While fun, the game does have its drawbacks.  In addition to being devoid of any strategy, the game is an elimination game.  If played by the rules as written, players will be bumped from the game one-by-one, forcing players to sit idly and watch the remainder of the game.  Further, this process takes WAY too long for the fun derived.  While the box says 20 – 30 minutes, my experience is that it takes longer.  I would suggest playing until the first player is eliminated, and declaring the winner to be the player with the fewest letters.  This results in a mercifully shorter game. 

The biggest potential drawback, however, is that the game is a packaged version of a game that is available for free in the public domain.  If you have a deck of playing cards and some spoons – or a handful of just about any other item – you can play the game for free.  The choice is whether to spend the $17.50 for quality components, or use items found around your house and play for free.

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