Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Nicole Jekich0
Come on Yous Guys! We Gotta Find the Snitch!
Our Review of Snitch, Now on Kickstarter
Snitch is a short and simple social deduction game with hidden roles, in the vein of Mafia. Like Mafia, the theme is based on 1920s Sicilian mob tropes and the roles involved are “Mobster” and “Snitch”. In this game, players need to do more than just reveal who the Snitch is – they need to make sure this guy or gal is out of the picture…permanently. The role of the Snitch is to live through the game until 5 Police cards are revealed or two of the Mobsters are dead. The Mobsters are trying to kill the Snitch before 5 Police cards come into play, without accidentally killing two of the other Mobsters. Snitch is a 15-30 minute card game that features casual gameplay and encourages the meta game. Table talk and misdirection are essential to the game especially for the Snitch who wants to cause paranoia and suspicion between the players.
As part of its Kickstarter campaign, players can unlock additional cards, different roles and two mini expansions to add further challenge and objectives to the base card game. $25 will get a backer the base game and just $10 more will include the expansion content. Both reward tiers will receive all stretch goals.
The art is filled with mafia, mobster-themed references with everything from huge stogies to tommy guns, stuffed in guitar cases. The characters cards are beautifully illustrated and represent a wide variety of characters that would fit right into a Sopranos, Godfather or other classic mafia story.
Cement Shoes – Luke
To start the game, each player receives a hand of 4 cards and a secret loyalty card. Every turn there is a combat phase where one player is the designated target, and every player is required to play a combat card from their hand. Combat cards are either attacks or defenses, and players can work together to defend each other from attacks, or to overcome one player’s defenses. In addition, players can play Police cards to stop a player from playing cards that round or use an Associates special ability.
My main problem with Snitch is that no matter what you have to play a combat card. I could know that the person targeted that turn is not the Snitch, have nothing but a hand full of Car Bombs, and end up killing my ally on accident. Except it’s not “on accident” because the rules made that action happen, which made the end game for the Mobster not fun. Our players didn’t enjoy feeling limited with the actions they could take that would be detrimental to their goal. The theme is well executed in Snitch but when you combine it with gameplay where a player has no choice but to car bomb someone you suspect is your ally, then a player doesn’t feel like they have much control.
We played Snitch several times and there was a recurring pattern in our play: one person would identify the Snitch by turn two because of some tell, kill them and win OR we all knew who the Snitch was but just couldn’t draw the right cards between three of us to successfully beat them using the silly combat rules. Playing Snitch for me was mostly an exercise in frustration- though it did let me know that taking Nicole to play poker in Vegas is probably a bad idea.
I Was a Successful Snitch! (No Matter What Luke Says) -Nicole
Having played both roles in our couple of games, I can say being the Snitch is definitely more fun than being a Mobster. The feeling of achievement when you get a group of people to not only suspect, but then kill a friendly target is very satisfying. I was able to pull this off and forced Luke out of the game but it immediately revealed my intentions as the Snitch, mostly because I have a horrible poker face. The best experiences in Snitch comes from the smack talk, reading faces, movements and all the subtle actions that go on during this card game. If you can effectively use the table talk as the Snitch to keep tensions and suspicions of others on high alert you can really have fun watching people turn on each other. From the instant people receive their loyalty cards the Snitch is thrown into keeping their cool and looking to take advantage of the suspicious players.
I won our second games as the Snitch despite my poor acting because the other mobsters could only play cards that would help me or send their fellow players to the hospital or 6 feet under. The victory on my end felt good because I successfully evaded the attempts on my life; however the Mobsters felt like they couldn’t effectively work together because they were lacking cards and actions. I believe Snitch would be more interesting with different roles and different player objectives for the Mobsters. With different objectives and final goals, the game becomes more interesting with multiple players playing different angles. I know that the Snitch Kickstarter campaign is offering additional roles as a way to give players different ways to play and bring more challenge to the base game.
In addition to the survival objectives and combat rounds, players will also come across Mob Job cards when they draw from the deck. Mobs Jobs are there for players to gather information on who might be the Snitch as all players except one player will be able to participate in the job. The target player who leads the job must choose to exclude one player in hopes of finding information that could flush the Snitch out. Similar to Coup, players who are part of the job secretly submit a “progress” or “snitched” card. Once all votes are submitted, the dealer reveals the cards and if a ‘snitched’ card is in the group, the job fails which usually leads to increased Police presence. In our first round we had two of these cards come up which slowed the start of the game. I think having them evenly spaced out in the deck or immediately shuffled if players receive more than one a turn would help prevent the game from being bogged down too early in the start.
A Mafia Upgraded:
If you like light, socially-engaging hidden role games you will probably like Snitch. It’s been years since I played the original Mafia in high school, but I feel that Snitch is a good improvement on the social deduction game but needs some additions to have the experience be equally rewarding experiences for all players. The additional cards, gameplay options available on the Kickstarter definitely show that Snitch is a game that wants to evolve and bring additional challenges and content for their players.