Balance Cards and Gems for Maximum Points in Snarkas | Casual Game Revolution

Balance Cards and Gems for Maximum Points in Snarkas


Play one card to the table. That’s all you have to do! If there is a match on the table or several cards can add up to equal your card, they all go into your score pile — otherwise, your card simply stays put.

Published by Hootenanny Games, Snarkas is a 15-30 minute card game designed for 2-4 players. The basic gameplay might seem simple, but is there more strategy than at first meets the eye?


The deck is shuffled and each player is dealt a hand of cards (four or six, depending on player count). If you are playing with four players, then you play in teams of two. Next, the dealer draws four cards from the deck and places them face-up on the table. The rest of the deck is set to the side.

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. On your turn, you must play one card from your hand. Cards are either a number card, show the character of Aster or the character of Jolt, or are a zap card. When you play a card, if it matches one of the cards on the table, you add your card and its match to your score pile. If two or more cards add up to the value of the card you are playing, you move them and your card to your score pile. If you can make multiple combinations to add up to your card, you can move them all and your card to your score pile. If you manage to clear out all the cards in the center of the table this way, then you also earn a bonus card that is worth 10 points.

If nothing matches your card, it is simply added to the center of the table for other players to potentially make matches with on their turns. The two types of character cards can only match with the same character. Zap cards allow you to take all the cards in the center of the table and add them to your score pile, but this does not earn the bonus card.

When the center of the table runs out of cards, you do not draw new ones to replace them. The next player will simply play a card and not be able to make any matches. Once everyone has played all their cards, the dealer deals everyone a new hand of cards, and the game continues. Once the deck has run out of cards and everyone has played all their cards, players calculate their scores.

The player with the most cards in their score pile earns the three-point bonus card for the achievement. If you managed to collect all four of the Aster cards or all four of the Jolt cards, you also earn four bonus points. Next, you count all the gems on the cards you collected. Not all cards have gems, but each gem is worth one point. You then total up all the points you earned that round.

If any player has more than 50 points, the player or team with the most points wins. If no one has 50 points yet, you shuffle the deck and set up another round.

Snarkas Component


Snarkas is a very accessible, easy-to-learn card game which makes it a great fit for a wide range of groups. On your turn, you play a card. That’s it. You take one action. But there’s some interesting, light strategy as you choose how to play each hand, and decide which numbers will give you the best odds of making valuable matches and the best order to play them in.

You have to balance trying to collect the most cards with trying to collect gems, while choosing the order you play your cards — with the last card in your hand usually being an important choice. As you become more familiar with the game, you can start trying to track what cards are still in the deck. You sometimes also have to choose whether to try to block someone from collecting all of the Jolt or Aster cards, or focus on collecting cards that will earn you more points. There’s still plenty of luck weaved through this strategy, though, to keep the game from becoming simply a math exercise.

The game is best with two or four players, as the strategy of the game seems to work better with that player count, where you or a teammate will be the one taking the turn after your next opponent. Even while the rulebook suggests strategies for clearing the board to earn the bonus points, its reasoning makes less sense with a three-player game. Also, it should be stated in the rules (but isn’t) that the dealer should be rotated each round, as the player to the left of the dealer is the person who goes first each time a new hand of cards has been dealt out. Generally, in our plays, the player who went last felt at a slight disadvantage.

All the cards look quite nice, from the sparkly bonus cards to the design of the playing cards with their unique darker background color scheme with bold colors that still make them easy to read.

Snarkas is a solid, casual card game that can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages and experience levels. It also plays quite quickly with rounds moving at a nice pace. We never quite understood the game title, but that is a mild quibble at most, and the rulebook does give a paragraph of lighthearted story that might be unnecessary but is still fun.

Pros: Simplicity of rules, component quality, speed of play

Cons: Not at its best with three players, rulebook should remind players to rotate dealer between rounds

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.