Cobra Paw by Bananagrams Review

Theme and What is It?

I need to preface this entire review with one statement; I do not like dexterity games. I just don’t find them interesting or fun. 

How then, does Cobra Paw have so much charm? It is a simple dexterity game, and I really was inclined to dislike it. I’m just that gamer… I’m snooty I guess. But rolling the dice is more of a puzzle than you would other wise think, and it just works. 

The gamer in me, can’t believe Cobra Paw made our top ten in show for GenCon 2017. The dad in me, can see why.

Gameplay Mechanics

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The game is silly, and does not take itself at all seriously. It is meant to make you laugh and giggle, and you will, unless your last name is Grinch (apologies in advance to all nice Grinch’s).

The idea is so straight forward that you need no rules. Roll dice, and first to snatch the tile corresponding to the symbols on the dice, win the round. There are some other add-on rules, which can make the game more complex, but they are not needed. The game has all the charm of George Clooney on a romantic comedy. 

Initial Impressions

The box is cute, art is what you would expect a game by the name of cobra paw to be, and it just screams mass market. These are all good things.

Quality of Components and Insert

Dice and tiles. Makes me think of the movie 300 for some reason (and yes, I’ve used that joke before, and will again.)

The game is big chunky dice, a favorite of mine in board games, and mahjong like tiles; and that is all it needs to be. The charm is in the quality and simplicity. Over complication bogs some games down, not Cobra Paw.

Artistic Direction

How do you expect a house-cat to look as a ninja? 

I think Bananagrams nailed the looked perfectly. House-cats should make messy ninjas, that are self-absorbed. This cat, looks exactly as it should, and the bright colors of the box, fit a ninja cat personality perfectly.

Fun Factor

I like Cobra Paw. I do not want to like Cobra Paw. I like Cobra Paw, a lot.

This is a game that would normally fly far under my radar. Yet, it keeps popping up as one of the best games at GenCon. If you have a list of five for the holidays, this should be on it. It just has that much charm and character, and is easy to get to table with non-gamers.

Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion

The game is set as 42+ in cat years. Ninja Cats however, are dishonest, so you may want to use the earth year equivalent on the box, of 6+. 

6+ is appropriate, my daughter is nearly 6, and she gets the game. She likes the game. She asks to play the game. As a father, that says to me, the gameplay is what it should be, and is at the level it should be.

Adults beware! You may find yourself taking this game to play with your friends. It just generates a silly amount of fun, and is liquid friendly, in case a ninja cat, has imbibed one too many and is messy.

Conclusions

You should know that Cobra Paw became a MeepleGamers GenCon Top10 game. It would not be fair of us to review the game without letting you know we liked it prior to writing the full review. 

When at the Bananagrams booth at GenCon50, I said, “Man, it’s cute and fun, but I want to review serious, meaty games.” Cobra Paw is neither serious, nor meaty, but it is fun, and it is a game that will regularly be played. 

Ultimately when looking at a game, shouldn’t the idea of how much playtime also be taken into consideration? Despite my initial inclination, I am glad Bananagrams set MeepleGamers up with a review copy. It deserves its place on the MeepleGamers Top Ten. If anything, because it caters to a different audience, yet still has charmed me, it should be higher on the list. What’s next Bananagrams?

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