SNAP Review – Poisons
It’s the Poison Vendor Association gala. Use this opportunity to prove how sneaky you are, and poison the drinks of the competition!
This is a SNAP review for Poisons, a game for 3-8 players by Chris Darsaklis and Bruno Faidutti.
It’s published by Ankama Games, and brought to the United States by Luma Imports.
An entire game of Poisons plays in 15 minutes or less, and it’s appropriate for ages 8 and up.
The illustrations by Marion Arbona are delightful. The characters are just creepy enough (kind of Tim Burton-esque) and kind of surreal. It’s adorable, weirdly.
But there’s nothing explicitly scary or violent on the cards. Frog-guy is a little gross. It gives the right feeling for a game that’s all about poisoning each other!
The graphic design is great, too. It’s easy to tell who each card “belongs” to when they’re distributed into a “goblet” (which we’ll explain in a minute). Both picture on the back of the card and the colored background behind the cup/bottle/potion is very clear.
The point tokens are the weakest part of the art design, and they’re still fine.
Each player has a hand of cards with one poison, and the rest of their cards representing “plain drinks”.
Slide your character card to the player on your left, on the table. They place a card from their hand face down underneath your character card.
Keep sliding character cards around the table and placing a drink card underneath. (You can think of this almost like a drafting game. Normally you’d pass your hand, but this time you’re passing characters instead.) When your character gets back to you, it’s time to decide whether or not you want to drink.
Everyone sticks their hands out. On the count of 3, all show thumbs up (DRINK!) or thumbs down (DON’T DRINK!)
Anyone who chooses not to drink gets exactly 1 point this round. If you take a risk and “drink” your goblet, then you need to reveal all the cards – you only get points if there is no poison hiding in the stack.
Play Poisons over four rounds. Increase the risk and the reward by including “special” drinks in later rounds – these replace one of your plain drink cards to place in another person’s goblet. All players use the same randomly selected card in a round.
Each round, the point value for each player’s goblet is randomized, so it starts to provide some incentive for who you might want to poison.
After four rounds, the player with the most points wins!
Our family (except for Andrew) enjoys In Vino Morte, a microgame where a dealer passes out a single card to each player, either drink or poison. With Poisons, I was excited to see if giving this game style a little more meat would work out for me.
There’s a different way to play at 3 players (the minimum player count). This made me a little nervous. I don’t like it when a game claims to support a player count that doesn’t actually work in practice. But the 3 player count worked really well! In a 3 player game, each person has two characters in front of them, and you “double-fist” your voting.
<Andrew> I actually enjoyed playing Poisons! I enjoyed it more than In Vino Morte. I like that there’s more game here.
The special cards give you more to think about. The strategies around who to poison (because you only have one poison) are interesting, especially with the variable scoring.
It’s certainly more complex than we were expecting, but it’s still not a hard game.
The other surprise was that not all of our children enjoyed Poisons. It’s hard to say exactly why, but I think it’s the chaos, not being able to effect what’s in your cup. Having to guess every round “should I drink or not” – if you choose not to drink, you’ll only get 1 point. That’s a hard decision to make.
- great for all ages, as long as the theme doesn’t bother you – no reading required, but some knowledge of math/probability helps.
- Since you can see who poisoned you, there is some possibility for hard feelings
- up to 8 players makes it great for larger families.
- 3 player version is calmer.
We give Poisons 4 poisoned goblets out of 5.
Find it on Amazon or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Poisons from Luma Imports for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Age Range: 8+ (we say 5+)
Number of Players: 3-8
Playtime: 15 minutes