How to Plan a Snake Draft

Share anecdotes, settle debates and have a good laugh by playing a snake draft game with your friends. This activity can be played just about anywhere (in a car, while camping, at a dinner party) and you don’t need to know anything about sports (or snakes) to play.

Here’s the low down.

What’s a Snake Draft?

Like fantasy football, a snake draft is a competition and game where each player takes turns drafting members of their perfect team.

But, instead of sports teams, you decide on a topic and optional categories for the picks to represent. The order in which players picks snakes around so if you picked last in the first round, you pick first for the second.

The goal of a snake draft is to have the most representative collection of picks for your chosen topic. You decide among your friends who has the best collection, or you can make an easy graphic to send out to your friends to determine the winner.

The idea for this game came from a Barstool Sports podcast called The Dog Walk, which my husband Chris introduced me to. Every Monday on the podcast, they release a new snake draft on a range of topics from Dog Breeds to Old People Shit. It’s random, hilarious, and super entertaining. See the graphic from their Old People Shit draft below.

The Dog Walk on Twitter: "Who had the best “Old People Shit” draft? Reply  for Scott"
A snake draft of “Old People Shit” from the Dog Walk podcast.

How to Play?

Use these 6 steps to organize your snake draft.

For ease, I’ll go through our Iconic Canada snake draft we did with Chris and his family a couple of months back. I’ll take you through what we did to prepare to make it easier to plan your own.

1. Pick a topic.

Iconic Canada was our topic. We added in an extra layer of complexity with five categories: Food & Drink, Landmark, Word, Person, and Wildcard. A wildcard is an open category to get the creative juices flowing.

2. Prepare.

We explained the rules and purpose of the game briefly to Chris’ family and told them what the topic and categories were. For your party, let your guests know in advance that a) you’re playing and b) what the topic and categories (if any) are. If you want to keep your game pretty casual, just explain the game when your guests arrive.

3. Decide on the draft order.

Chris’ Dad, who was the oldest, went first. Age is a simple way to decide what order people pick in.

4. Play!

Chris’ Dad started our draft with a quintessential Canadian word, Eh!. Chris’ mom picked next, with Maple Syrup (in the food category) as her first pick. You can pick from any category but once you’ve picked from your category, you can’t pick again. Once everyone had their first pick, Chris’ sister, the youngest in the group, went again with her second pick. We continued until everyone had gone their five picks.

5. Create a graphic.

Without a graphic, it’s difficult to determine a winner because everyone will think they have the best picks. I created a simple graphic using this Canva template to send out a text message to friends.

6. Determine the winner.

After sending the graphic to some friends and family, we waited a day or so and tallied up the scores for people’s favorite columns. If you manage to get the graphic out at the beginning of the night, you can often get the results back in time to determine a winner before everyone leaves.

Iconic Canada snake draft graphic
Our Iconic Canada draft graphic. Which column would you pick?

Snake Draft Rules

The rules are pretty simple.

  • Veto Power. Your group may vote to rule a pick out because it doesn’t make sense or is too similar to another pick already mentioned.
  • You can pick from any category and in any order as long as you have selected one pick from each category by the end of the game.
  • Don’t blow it for others. Avoid discussing other possible picks before the game is over. If you do, you might give someone else’s pick away.
  • No changing your answer. This rule is pretty self explanatory.
  • Prep is allowed (and recommended). Brainstorming and taking notes before the game will help you have a wider range (and likely better) answers.

Tips to Winning a Snake Draft

Use these tips to prepare for a snake draft and figure out how to win. It takes less time than you think, but it’s good to come up with more than in case your pick gets chosen.

Open up your Notes app on your phone and get brainstorming.

Brainstorming notes for Iconic Canada snake draft.
My brainstorming list I saved in Notes on my phone that took me 5 minutes to come up with.
  1. Prepare, but don’t depend on Google. With our experience, people who use Google to look up popular picks for a certain theme or category tend to come up with boring picks.
  2. Pick crowd pleasing picks. But, not picks that are so out there unless you don’t care about winning.
  3. Think about the graphic. If your selection is too weird or looks terrible as an image, you’re less likely to get picked, so keep this in mind.
  4. Think about which categories are deep and shallow. This will help you decide which category to pick first and what to leave for the last round.

Your Turn

Now that I’ve given you all you need to know about how to plan a snake draft at a party, it’s your turn to try one with your friends. Let me know what topics and categories you come up with. Happy drafting!

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