Review: Snapshot
Publisher: Cadaco
Year: 1989

Cover is just text that says Snapshot, each letter a different color

how we met

I found Snapshot during a long thrifting day last summer. It was at a thrift shop that we have never returned to and probably never will because the contents of the shop are not very gamely. I don’t remember the exact amount I paid for Snapshot, only that it was less than $1.

I have said before that I am a sucker for vintage games with a bunch of pictures, and it rarely leads me astray. I was happy to pay 80 cents, or whatever, for Snapshot.

how it plays

Snapshot is super simple to play. One player is supposed to choose a photo at random, keeping it covered by a photo shield (that I am not even sure I have) and placing it into the game board, which is a plastic camera thing. Then you are ready for play!

A plastic black camera that says Snapshot
This is the game board / camera with the doors closed

Snapshot comes with 16 chips that only show their numbers on one side. All chips should be placed face-down on the table and mixed together. The game board can be safely opened and will show you 16 tiny doors.

The camera open, with 16 tiny, numbered doors
This is the camera opened up, and upside down since our stickers were placed incorrectly (see how it went section)

The first player chooses a face-down chip and opens the door corresponding to the number they drew. They have the option to guess what the photo is, or pass the game board to the next player.

This shows a photo with four of the sixteen doors open
This is an example of a partially revealed photo, what do you think it is?

If a player guesses the image, they can look at the rule book to determine whether they are correct. Each image has a number in a corner (a random corner, unfortunately) and the rules contain the answer for each image. If the player is correct, they move their peg one space forward on the scoring track! If they are not correct, they move their peg two spaces backward! (Unless they are on start and have nothing to lose. That was my jam.)

Score tracker, four tracks with four pegs to track the score
I don’t really remember noticing that there is no green peg, but looking at BGG photos my copy is not alone

The first player to 12 points wins Snapshot!

how it went

I know I say this a lot, but this game was better than I expected. Here are a few things particular to our play:

We placed an entire stack of photos into the camera game board at the beginning of play. This was simple because when someone won the point, they can close the game board which closes all the windows, pull the top card out, and be ready for play!

The troglodyte that placed the stickers on our used game board placed the number stickers upside down. This was mostly annoying because before we realized it and started playing with numbers upside down, if we lifted the game board the photos would slide out, and you would need to reset. You need to make sure you play so that the opening is at the top and not the bottom of the game board. It sounds obvious, but the stickers can lead you astray.

The very first chip that was drawn in our play was 7 and had a gob of something dark on the 7 sticker that was left to dry and fester there, presumably since 1989ish. None of the other chips ended up being that visibly disgusting, but it was quite a start out of the gate. For the remainder of the game, Keri would say, “Come on, soy 7!”

Black chips with silver stickers showing their numbers
I chose not to show you Soy 7 too visibly. You’re welcome.

We had some difficulties as players guessed the answers, because the numbers were not uniformly in a single location so we had to really look in each corner. This is more annoying than anything. It doesn’t really hurt play, since if you are wrong you are out of play anyway. And I have no honest idea whether this was the happenstance of our copy or how the game was made. My money is on how the game was made.

You can see portions of the images through the cracks in the windows, and while this was convenient it does not give anything away or unbalance anything. We were all looking through those cracks, so we were still on an even playing field.

One of my concerns with Snapshot was the dated photos. I love dated photos and dated games, as you know, but when you are responsible for guessing their content it’s a whole other matter. But in playing the game, I was happy that all of the photos were relevant and we never got stuck on a guess. Not once.

Sample photos showing a mask, a telephone, threading a needle, and fingers on a piano
It is worth noting that we never encountered the photo in the upper left. Any guesses at full exposure?

As I look through the 500 answers to the photos, there are very few that stick out as being entirely out of date. Most of the photos are very general, like girl going down slide, airplane, Golden Gate bridge, toothbrush, cello, and things like that. But there are a few that might cause younger folks trouble, if you want to take advantage of that somehow. Like pay telephone, china cabinet, books on bookshelves (I know, me too), or video camera.

The other obvious potential issue with Snapshot is that there is somewhat of an honor system as players name their guess and judge their own answer. This is mostly fine, but watch out for any of your tricky players and make sure that before looking, players give a single answer. JUST ONE ANSWER, BILL.

I say this with some bitterness because one time when I guessed clamp, the answer was vise. Fuck.

I don’t have a lot of concerns around the replayability of Snapshot. Even though the photos are there and may be seen, and the list of items is viewed by each player as they guess, there are 500 photos. If people don’t have perfect memories and are not intentionally looking through the list of images then 500 is a lot of photos.

The components are charming. The game is friendly to many ages, assuming the younger ones can handle the components and looking up their guess without issue. We had fun. Keri won Snapshot (although in my mobile Notes it actually says Keri won Snapchat that day, which is probably also true).

play or pass

I say play, but I say this under mild duress. My game group enjoyed this game more than I did. And when I asked whether to give it a play or pass (something I only do when I am struggling to decide) I got all resounding “play” responses, sometimes all in caps. I introduce my friends to a lot of miscellaneous (read: bad) vintage tabletop games, so I have to recognize that Snapshot is probably more fun than I personally thought it was.

I’ve seen Snapshot at thrift probably three or four times by now, so it’s not unheard of. If this kind of hidden image game appeals to you, then this one is cool. And there is no denying that camera is pretty sweet. Here’s to hoping your stickers were put on correctly!