Snap Ships Tactics Review

06 March 2024
A strategic, miniatures battle game is nothing new, but add in some fully modular and customisable ships that "snap" together, and it's no wonder Snap Ships Tactics stands out from the fleet.

Written by Richard Simpson

What is Snap Ships?

In America, Snap Ships is a well established toy range. A collection of modular units that can be snapped together in order to create fun. It has a loyal fanbase and some of the fans happen to be big kids with bigger disposable incomes. It was only a matter of time before someone who liked playing space battles with pieces and rules suggested ‘What if we did the same for this?’

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What is Snap Ships Tactics?

When you open the box, Snap Ships Tactics has the normal rulebook, but then underneath there’s a bag of pieces and an instruction book. Instantly you’re back to being ten years old, flipping through pages and finding pieces and squinting, while you put your Snap Ships together. You’ll be forgiven if you then pick up your creation and make some space noises as you fly it about the table. There are instructions to make three different variants of the ships. There’s two ships in the box to get you started, with the chance to expand your fleet with a limited number of expansions.

It could all be the shallowest gimmick, with basic gameplay and disappointing possibilities, but Snap Ships Tactics combines the simplest of premises with solid mechanics without you being lost in a card based meta game.

How do you play Snap Ships Tactics?

Gameplay is extremely simple. You’ll play a set of standard chassis moves which will include a ship movement and vent action. You’re given five units of energy to play on the six different cards that make up the components of your ship. These components are actually physically visible on your ship because you attached them there yourself, which is wonderfully tactile. Playing energy is a commitment, because once placed, the energy won’t be removed until you vent the ship on the next round, where you can only vent five units. With that mechanic alone you’re pushed to making tactical longer play decisions as unlike other games, you can’t always make the same manoeuvres again and again. Some of the cards offer more advanced abilities but this is at the expense of adding heat to the cards in your tableau. Heat is just something else that needs vented from the cards so you can use them again, but if a component suffers a critical hit then heat causes additional damage to the ship’s hull. If your hull reaches zero at any point then it’s game over and home time. Snap Ship Tactics reveals its layers as you play, forcing you to make choices.

You have missiles that you can fire that take a turn to hit and are just out there in space, like a slow moving threat. You have terrain tiles that actually serve a purpose in providing cover or allowing you to vent energy or help you shake missiles, rather than being something that has to be avoided.

If you don’t like your ship? You can build something else, and there is something extremely satisfying about physically changing your set up instead of swapping out cards. It is going to be a while before you’ll feel the need to expand the fleet which is quite refreshing. The ships do take up a decent amount of space and if you run with the suggested playing area then you may feel quite hemmed in. It lacks an identifiable IP to lean on but that’s not to say it won’t attract prying eyes when you set it up at the local games club. Snap Ships Tactics manages to add something new and refreshing to the ship battle genre and offers a much more tactical experience than the toy exterior would have you believe.

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Is Snap Ships Tactics Good?

We rated it a Must-Play game. 

The joy of building your own ships with a game that offers a highly tactical experience makes Snaps Ships Tactics one to consider if you love ship to ship combat.

Try Snap Ship Tactics if you liked Star Wars X-Wing

For those looking for a ship to ship strategy game without the huge card metagame. Snap Ship Tactics will seem like a breeze of fresh air.

On the box

Designer: Josh Derksen

Publisher: Lynnvander Studios

Time: 45 minutes

Players: 1-2

Ages: 10+

Price: £69

What’s in the box?

  • 103 Snap Ship Pieces
  • 2 Ship Stands
  • 2 Movement Tools
  • 3 Cardboard range rulers
  • 32 Square cards
  • 28 Part cards
  • 10 Custom Dice
  • 2 Ship status trackers
  • 30 Blue power cubes
  • 20 Red heat cubes
  • 6 Terrain tiles
  • 16 Missile Tokens
  • 5 Special damage tokens
  • 6 Ship ID tokens
  • 6 Activation tokens
  • 1 Initiative token
  • 8 Beacon tokens

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