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Snowhere

The world is aflame! Only carefully laid cards and judiciously applied snow will put out the fire and restore order.

Published by NSV and designed by Steffen Benndorf (The Game and Ohanami), this is a unique and unusual puzzle game.

Gameplay

You shuffle the deck and place it on the table, fire side up. You then randomly spread the cards out across the table. Players can choose how big they want to make the game area, but all cards must form one cohesive area. No cards should be separated from the main spread of cards.

Snowhere is either played as a solo game in which you take all the turns, or as a cooperative game in which players take turns, and discuss their choices as they go. Each turn, you pick up one fire card. You may only choose a fire card that is not covered, even partially, by one or more cards. The only exception is if it is only covered by one card and only by one millimeter or less.

You then turn the card over. If it has a snowflake on it, you set it aside and go on to the next turn. If it is a regular snow card, you add it to the playing area, covering fire cards. When playing a snow card, you are free to choose where you’re placing it, but there are a few rules. If you place it adjacent to other snow cards, it must at least partially overlap them. If you play it on the edge of the card area, then it must at least partially cover part of the playing surface. Also, you may not lay a snow card so that it completely covers a single fire card exactly.

Once you’ve played your snow card, it is time for the next turn and a new fire card to be drawn. Once there is no legal fire card to draw, the game ends. If you have any snowflake cards, you may now play them, following the same rules you used for playing regular snow cards. You then check how much fire is still visible. The less amount of fire visible, the better you did. If there is no fire at all visible, then you’ve successfully completed the puzzle.

Snowhere Components

Review

Steffen Benndorf always comes up with such unique ideas for games. Snowhere had us thinking along lines that no other game ever has. We were looking at how cards overlapped on the table, and using that to deduce where it was best to lay the snow and which fire cards to pick up to free others. This was an unusual puzzle that we’ve not encountered before.

Snowhere is not going to be for all players. But it’s something to respect whether you enjoy it or not. It takes a deck of cards and figures out something fresh and original to do with them. The fact that you spread out the cards at the beginning of each game automatically changes the puzzle each time and ensures variety.

The theme, though light, is dramatic and rather fun, and the artwork captures the blazing fire nicely. We liked the quality of the cards, and there’s a nice player aid included to help remind you of legal moves.

This definitely works better as a solo experience. It’s a light, fast puzzle game, that’s quick to set up, and if you’re looking for something short and sweet to unwind with, there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy this one. There is probably a limited number of times you’re going to be playing this in a short span of time, but it’s something that if you do enjoy you could easily pull out several months later to play again.

Pros: A unique puzzle concept, plays quickly and is simple to learn, variety in the puzzle set up, components and artwork

Cons: Definitely won’t be for everyone, best as a solo game and not as a cooperative experience

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