Snatch, based on the Victorian word game of anagrams, is a very portable and nicely executed word game from US Games Systems, Inc..

Anagrams, under any name, is a word game you should know about. It is elegantly simple, with very few rules, and yet can become remarkably absorbing, intense, and challenging for even the best of word game players. The look and feel of the tiles is an important contribution to an overall excellent game, hence, our most wholehearted endorsement of Snatch.

You begin with a pool of letter tiles, all turned face down. On your turn, you turn over any tile. Then it’s the next player’s turn. As soon as any player sees a word that can be made from the exposed tiles, that player calls the word out and wins the tiles for herself. She places the tiles in front of her, face-up, so that all players can see her word. The game continues, tiles turned over one per turn, so to speak. Now here is the excruciating part – if any player can add some exposed tiles to one of your words so as to change it into a different word, that player can claim your tiles. So: 1) you never really own anything until the very end of the game, and, 2) as the game progresses, there are more and more snatch-worthy words to contemplate. Especially those long words.

So Snatch, even though it is not in itself a new game, is clearly Major FUN. It is reasonably priced, attractive, well-executed, the plastic tiles are smooth to the touch and slide easily on tablecloth or tabletop as you rearrange them (which you do often) – all the things you want in a good game. Though it can be played by as many players as are interested, we’ve found that it’s best in a smallish group (2-4) of people who are equally adept, word-wise, and equally competitive, reaction-time-wise.

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