Hisss Game Review

The Basics:

  • Ages 2+ (box says 4+)
  • Players 2 – 5
  • 15 minutes

Geek Skills:

  • Emotional Coping Skills
  • Memorization & Pattern/Color Matching

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Build a snake, but really this is so inconsequential its hardly worth mentioning.

Endorsements:

  • Father Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Players take turns drawing cards that represent snake sections in an attempt to “build” an entire snake in the middle of the table. A snake is completed when it has a head, at least one mid-section, and a tail. When a player completes a snake, the cards that formed the snake are places their score pile.

There are 3 types of cards that are used in the game:

  • Head
  • Mid-section
  • Tail

A snake section will have a color on it for each uncapped end of the snake on the card. A mid-section will always have 2 different colors, and a head and a tail are only 1 color. The one exception are the “rainbow” colored sections that allow the player to attach it to any other colored section. Color is relevant because you cannot extend, or cap a snake unless the color matches.

When the draw pile is depleted, the game ends and the player with the most cards in their scoring pile wins. Ties are broken by the longest snake claimed.

Predictions

This game is not a total loss. It does incorporate colors and very simple pattern matching. These are skills that very young little geeks require and can build on. It’s difficult to make this game a good deal entertaining by doing so, but it’s there.

It is a safe prediction that this game will quickly find its way to a garage sale table soon as my little geeks finds something else to distract them, like another game or an activity that is a bit more involved. Possibly even a ball of yarn or rock to throw. Still, as an early development game, it has merit, but will not have much staying power.

Final Word

We are getting entirely too many positive reviews on this site, so I took it upon myself to be “that guy” to show the other end of family gaming that is all too prevalent when your kids are 2 and 4 years-old. I plan on doing so by highlighting games that are extraordinarily mind-numbing in and of itself for adults, but we play it anyway because it’s just greatly rewarding to see the kids have fun.

Let me be clear. One can have a good experience doing just about anything if the correct attitude is presented. I love playing games with my little geeks. With games like this, I am constantly having to remind myself that I am setting the foundation for relationships with my kids and future gaming where the gaming itself is satisfying rather than just the experience. I urge you to check out Nate’s article, “When I Don’t Want to Play“. This is a review about the game, not the experience gained by playing it with my kids.

As for the game, skip it.  It falls squarely in the corner of mind-numbing. Draw and place, draw and place, and hope the end is near. The winner will be the one who happens to draw the most snake completion cards when they are needed. There are simply better games available on the market today for your little geeks to play. FlipOut, for example, which is all about color matching, pattern matching, and memorization.

Another issue I have with the game is the table space that it can take up. As the snakes grow, one has to constantly shift them around to fit on the table. This breaks the visual memory for young kids because they remember things like “the snake with a open red midsection is near me”. Shifting them around disrupts the memory pattern, not to mention it causes a great deal of consternation at my family gaming table when the snakes get bumped around and cut into pieces.

There is a very small amount of strategy in the game. If you are winning, then you want to close down options as quickly as possible for extending existing snakes. If you have the lead, then you want to make it harder to rake in the cards on the table. Therefore, you want more partial snakes. You do this by choosing to minimize the open colors if you have the choice to do so over opening up a new one. This limits the options for the next card draw to be placed legally on an existing snake. This strategy is complete lost with my boys, but it is there.

About Brian

Euro Board Game Aficionado, and Father of Two, Brian played many family board games while growing up, but launched a foray into real geek gaming in 4th grade with his exposure to Risk, and then many sessions of Axis & Allies. Gaming in all forms has always been woven into his life with different phases including: video games starting with the Atari 2600, role playing Marvel Super Heroes, launching massive Battletech scenarios, blowing his small amount of bank on Magic: The Gathering, and then finally strategy board games. Settlers of Catan (1997) was his first introduction to the Euro-style game, and he has since been forever hooked. He embarked on a new stage of life in late 2006 with the birth of his first of two boys, and now cherishes the opportunity to learn the game of parenting. His desire is to raise two respectable men who still want to play a game with daddy even when they are father geeks themselves. Brian goes by the handle Vree on Board Game Geek.
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2 Responses to Hisss Game Review

  1. Darkwind says:

    I’ll admit it’s not the flashiest, or most strategic game. But it can be a lot of fun. And makes for a good “quick” game when you don’t have time for another, longer game. On our family game nights, this game almost always got played. Especially as the “10 minute” marker came around. Also, it’s just fun to make snake noises while collecting the snake you just completed. I use to sell a ton of these at Games By James. Bundle it with Rattlesnake and you’ve got yourself a fun, snake themed evening. ;-}

  2. ” Possibly even a ball of yarn or rock to throw.”
    I have to say that made me laugh quite a bit. I found this at Goodwill once for $1.99. I thought I might try it out and see how it plays. i knew it would be a light game but i figured for $1.99 I couldn’t lose. Well, I totally agree with your review. Somehow I still feel cheated.

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