by Bret

The art of family entertainment is one of the most difficult to succeed at. To make a product that gives enjoyment and satisfaction to children and adults alike is something usually only the Muppets can achieve.

A good family board game can be particularly difficult. It needs to be complex and difficult enough to hold the attention of teenagers and adults yet simple and easy enough for young children to grasp and have a chance at. (Basically not Scrabble, but not Candyland, either) If this includes preschoolers, it helps if the game has no reading requirements (i.e. language independent. Which, coincidentally, also helps a game be published in many different countries when only the rules need to be translated:) Rattlesnake is just such a game

Rattlesnake is a dexterity game (meaning the main device driving the game is somehow manipulating it physically) comprised of a small board with numerous cartoon snakes on it in five different colors, a six sided die with a snake of each color on each side (blue being doubled) and twelve very powerful oval shaped magnets (rattlesnake eggs!). The magnets are divided evenly between the players and on their turn a player rolls the die and places one of their eggs on the corresponding colored snake rolled.  Once this is successfully done, their turn is over. If at any time during their turn they cause an egg to roll off the board or clash together, they must pick those up and add them to their allotment. The player who gets rid of all their eggs first is the winner.

That’s it. That’s all their is to it! However, because the magnets are so potent, the snakes are so well strategically placed and the board is so small, it makes for a challenging and very entertaining time. You’ll end up laughing most of the time as you watch aecen magnets shift and waddle as someone tries to insert their eggs ever so carefully. A full game can take up to 15-20 minutes but most are under 10 and many are under 5. The great part is I have yet to find any hardcore complex gamer or 3 year old kid who doesn’t enjoy a round or two of this game. It also makes for a good filler between longer, weightier games to mix things up or when you’re waiting fr more players to show up. So, if you’re for a goofy game for the whole family, just for the kids or to play between your rounds of Settlers of Catan, get Rattlesnake. It’s allure is magnetic!

Number of players: 2-4 (or possibly teams)

Playing Time: 15 minutes

Suggested Ages: 5 and up (Publisher says 8 and up)

All images courtesy of Boardgamegeek’s database

2 thoughts on “Rattlesnake:

  1. I was at a conference two years ago and after the first day a lot of the presenters’ laptops began to fail. It turned out that one of the booths in the expo hall was giving away exactly these magnets in pairs as some sort of noisemaker. You would throw two of them in the air and they’d smack together and make odd ringing noises. Unfortunately the magnets were so strong that when people put them in their laptop bags they would mess up the hard drives pretty badly. Soon the word got out that the magnets were not to be stored next to computers.

    In any case the game looks like fun. We’ve been playing Blockus with out young ones and they enjoy that as well and it is fun for both kids and adults.

  2. Yeah, that’s the 1st thing I tell the kiddos when we play. “Don’t get those near anything with electricity!” Good story:) Blockus is one I hope to find at the thrift store one of these days.

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