Today's Puzzle in the Spotlight is Anaconda! This is a nifty single player puzzle game from SmartGames. It is currently available on Amazon for $12.
What's included in the box?
There is a challenge booklet which includes the game rules and solutions. There are 100 challenges in all, but solutions are given only for the first 77! The last 23 challenges are the "Wizard" level. They only provide the start letter...the rest is up to you!
There are eight snaky game pieces. The first piece is an open circle which you will place on a different letter of the game board for the different challenges. The other seven pieces are double sided! Some of them have snake bits on both sides and some of them have blank sides. There are two heads and two tails. You need to get familiar with these snake segments if you want to conquer this puzzle. But don't worry, they don't bite!
And finally, there is the game board. It is a 5X5 grid (with one missing corner). Each space has a letter of the alphabet on it from A to W. You begin each challenge by placing the open circle on the required letter.
Here you can see challenge #1 set up and ready for solving! But what are rules? You must complete the snake, that means that it must have one head and one tail. There cannot be any unconnected snake segments hanging around on the board. And all pieces must fit on the board. Sometimes that means a blank side will be used. Let's see it in action.
For this challenge, I decided to look at where this piece might fit first. You can see that on this side it has a snake head, but we already have a snake head on the board, so we'll need to use the flip side which is blank. This helps narrow things down a bit, especially since this is a pretty big piece and needs a big area to fit into.
And here's where that piece seems to fit the best. Since it is blank, I need it to fit somewhere away from my snake body (remember, no disconnected snake bits are allowed!) and the shape of this piece makes this the best spot. Now there are only 2 pieces left to place!
I feel pretty certain that the remaining pieces must show snake bits, so I flip, rotate and give them a try. Here's the final piece going in!
And it's solved! That's one good looking snake! Now that one was too easy...let's pick a harder one!
Here is challenge #51 set up and ready to play! That looks a bit intimidating. There are no snake segments showing at all. But remember, it does need a head and a tail, so I tend to start by examining those pieces and see where they'd fit best. Also, don't forget to keep in mind the shapes of the pieces themselves as these will often dictate where they can be played on the board.
And without too much trouble, challenge #51 is solved!
I give this puzzle 2 thumbs up. It's a great game for the kids. The challenges are easy to understand, yet still give the brain cells a workout. I don't think younger solvers would get bored or frustrated with this one. Building snakes really is enjoyable! It's recommended for ages 7+.
You can check out this website to read an article about the puzzle from it's creator.
And if you and your kids like snaky things, here are some other recommendations.
Hiss is a snake building card game. My kids love playing this with Grandma.
Pick Up Snakes is a ton of fun too! The different colored snakes are worth different amounts, so try to pick up the best ones!
And Wiggle Snakes are always a hit! Check out this video from Vi Hart to see some really neat things you can do with Wiggle Snakes!
Snake, snake, snake, snake, snake!