Games you can play for free – Animal Snap

Continuing with my project to create a list of great games you can play for free, this post features a silly but fun card game. Animal Snap is a variation of Snap as presented in Dice and Card Games by Jon Tremaine.

Animal Snap

Number of players: 2 – 4 (for more players, add another deck of cards)

Playing time: 15 minutes

You will need:

  • A standard deck of playing cards

Each player adopts the name of an animal. It is usually more fun if these names are silly or obscure (e.g. Duck-billed Platypus). Make sure that all players are aware of everybody’s animal name before play begins.

All cards are dealt face-down between the players. Each round, when ready, all players simultaneously call out “go”. At this point, everyone turns over the top card of their face-down pile, placing it into a face-up pile next to their face-down pile. If two or more cards are of the same rank, players owning those cards should call out the animal name of another player whose card matches their own. The first player to do so adds to the bottom of their face-down pile, all cards in the face-up piles owned by the players whose cards matched the rank of their own. Players whose cards are not equal in rank to any other cards can not lose the cards in their face-up pile, nor can they win the cards in any other player’s face-up pile. A player who calls out the name of a player whose card does not match their own, looses the ability to call out anything in the next round.

The game ends either when one player owns all the cards, or after a set amount of time/number of rounds. In the latter case, the player who owns the most cards is the winner.

– An optional variation to resolve close calls (when two or more players call out names at the same time) involves the creation of a zoo. When two or more players call out names at the same time, face-up cards owned by those players are put face-up into the ‘zoo’. In addition to calling out animal names, players can call out “zoo” if the card they just turned over is of the same rank as the top card in the zoo. The first player to do this wins all cards in the zoo, adding them to their face-down pile. A player who incorrectly calls out “zoo” looses the ability to call out anything in the next round.