Original Game: Snitches Get Stitches

So, I had an idea for a new game a while back, but when Ben and I discussed it we ruled it out for any sort of production because 1.we don’t have the funds or time, 2.the game takes too many people to play it, and 3. one of the people who plays doesn’t actually get to have a hand in the action. But! I figured why not start a new PMC Category called “Original Game” and just put the idea out there anyway. Now, behold…

from https://www.etsy.com/listing/101308917/reduced-snitches-get-stitches-cross

Such Truth. Much Knuckles.

For 5 to 11 Players

Requires 1 Deck of Playing Cards

Requires 5-ish Shiv Markers

To begin the game, one player must first become the Warden. They will play the game as a referee and make sure that the game progresses fairly. The game works best if the Warden volunteers.

The Warden will open the deck of cards and place enough cards in a pile in the center so that everyone can draw one. Then the Warden will locate a Joker and shuffle it into the pile. Everyone will draw a card. The Warden will look at the left over card, if it is the joker, then everyone must place their card back in the center and draw again. When the card that is left is no longer the joker, then the game can begin. Everyone places their cards, facedown, back into the center and the Warden collects the cards. Finally, removing the joker, the Warden shuffles the cards back into the deck, then distributes 3 cards to each player. Finally, the Warden places a random assortment of 20 cards into the center of the table.

The goal of the game is for the Prisoners to suss out which player drew the Joker and became the snitch by trading commodities and eventually using a ‘shiv’ on the Snitch. The Snitch’s goal is to be the last prisoners alive, or to last until no more shivs can be bought.

Play can be as mobile/sedentary and as fast/slow as the Warden would like. The Warden may not limit the number of trades a player wants to make, but they can limit the amount of time players have to trade. The Warden may also set limits on movement. Players can be confined to their chairs (and thus may only trade with the players sitting next to them) or they can be allowed to wander and trade freely. The Warden cannot “win” the game, so their goal in changing the manner in which the game is played is to eliminate any advantage that a side has. If the Snitch is doing too well, maybe he gives the group free reign to mix and mingle for a time. If the Prisoners are getting too close, make the round very short and limit mobility. The Warden should try to be the balance in the game.

After each trading period, the Snitch gets a chance to tell the Warden which commodities one player has in their hand. Every player must place their cards on the table and cover their eyes. The Snitch will then silently give the warden hand signals, by pointing at a player and showing a symbol that identifies one of the commodities. If the player that the Snitch points at has that commodity then it is confiscated and removed from the game. If they do not have that commodity, then nothing happens. After the Snitch’s turn, every prisoner gets the chance to buy a Shiv. A Shiv can be purchased by trading in 3 of any commodity. Immediately following the Shiv buying turn, players with Shivs may use them or refrain, and simply hold onto them. Keep in mind though, it’s public knowledge that you have a Shiv, and the Snitch may tell on you for having it.

There are 4 trade commodities: Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs, and Spades. The Warden is the one that needs to recognize the Snitches signals, so the warden should explain to everyone what signals to use for each commodity, regardless of whether they are the snitch.

The Snitch should be fairly hard to pinpoint. Keep an eye on players that trade with you just before you get busted, or that refuse a trade that is mutually beneficial. Snitches can also blend very well, because they can call out themselves for a search, and they are allowed to buy and use shivs on other players.

When a player who is not the Snitch is Shivved, then they must discard their hand and leave the game. If there is some question as to who gets to shiv first in a round, then it comes down to who has owned their shiv for the longest period of time.

The gameplay stays fairly consistent through the course of the game. The players will follow this progression, 1.Draw 2.Trade 3.Snitch 4.Buy 5.Shiv – repeat until the snitch is the only one who hasn’t been shivved (snitch wins), until the snitch gets shivved (prisoners win), or until no more shivs can be bought (snitch wins).


So that’s the game! Sorry about the messy write up, but I know all of the basics are there. Give it a play sometime and shoot us an email or comment here about what you think about it. Criticisms and new ideas are both welcome.

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