Cobra Paw Review:
I love the use of dominoes in a game. Mexican Train was always a staple in my family, so when Bananagrams reached out to us regarding Cobra Paw, needless to say I was excited. This unassuming domino/dice game takes the simplicity of dice and adds in an extra dose of chance and lightning fast paced gameplay. The game comes with 21 tiles, 2 dice, and instructions. The game also brings with it a wide appeal, with recommended player ages at 5+ and overall participants from between 2 and 6. It also retails for $15 at Target.
The premise of Cobra Paw is very simple – roll the dice and then be the first person to pick up the domino with the corresponding symbols. The dice themselves (along with the dominoes) contain six unique symbols. They resemble what looks like Asian writing of some sort, though they are probably just symbols. While the victory conditions can easily be modified to fit your particular tastes, the basic rules require any one player to grab up six tiles in order to win the game. Whoever gains a tile during a given round is the one who rolls the dice for the next round. Players are unable to use their entire hands when grabbing for tiles, only fingers. This may not seem completely enforceable, so it’s best to have a judge (or parent) to be the deciding factor when it comes to tile grabbing etiquette. That entails the entirety of the game! Sounds simple right?
Cobra Paw is a great game for kids in early childhood. While I can see the game being used as a filler game, the symbol identification and matching aspect of this game would be very entertaining and beneficial to children. If you know a child who is in a ninja phase, this a perfect family friendly game that help the motor skills of those who play it. As stated before, it’d be a good idea to clearly outline the rules regarding how to grab a tile in addition to having a leader to be the final decision maker for any disputes that will inevitably arise. Because it is a game of impulse and instincts, it’s easy to cover the tiles with your entire arm (or body) in an attempt to gain an advantage. This is actually a good problem though, in that it means that you’re getting into the game.
Banagrams could have gone a lot of different ways with the theme of this game, but I like the Ninja Cat theme in that brings an element of silliness, innocence, and creativity to the game. Even if playing without kids I’d say this is a solid beer and pretzels game, depending on how seriously the players take it. The aesthetics of the game are also top notch. The dark tiles and colorful symbols add to the dexterity of the game, while the box is uniquely shaped as well (it’s a hexagon). I think the biggest strength this game has is its simplicity and quick playing time. Cobra Paw will have a wide appeal to most kids who don’t usually have a lot gaming experience, and it teaches them to think on their feet while promoting matching/identifying skills. Not many games are able to be both entertaining and beneficial to the players.
This isn’t a game marketed towards adults who enjoy four-hour war gaming sessions. So if you’re looking for that, you may want to pass on this. However, if you’re looking to play a game that won’t take too long, will bring out the competitor inside of you, and will leave you with either the adulation of victory or the agony of defeat, then you should check this game out. The wide appeal that the game brings is only matched by its simplicity and ability to make you lunge across a table grabbing for a tile that isn’t yours.