OBJECTIVE OF SNITCH’EMS: Win the most cards.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 standard deck
RANK OF CARDS: 10 (high), 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A
TYPE OF GAME: Fishing
AUDIENCE: All Ages
INTRODUCTION TO SNITCH’EMS
Snitch’Ems or Snitcham is a fishing game that originated in England. The game was most notably described in an anonymous submission to the December 1797 edition of The Sporting Magazine and is known to be played in the Sheffield area. The game bears similarities to Casino.
The goal of Snitch’ems is to make pairs of 8s and 10s and pair-royals (prials) of sets of 3 or 4 cards of equal rank. These sets are made by matching a card from hands to one in the layout; this is done in order to have the most cards so that you may win the game. For this purpose, number cards (1-10) have a value equal to their rank. Aces have a value of 1 and face cards do not have a numerical value.
A dealer is chosen at random. They deal three cards to their opponent and themselves, and four face-up to the table to create a 2×2 layout on the table. After both players have played those three, another three is dealt out to the players but NOT the table. This continues until all the cards in the deck have been dealt out, which is a total of 8 deals. Once the last cards have been played, the deal moves to the other player.
The non-dealer starts the game and players alternate thereafter.
During a turn, play one card from hand face-up to the table. This card may or may not be able to capture 1+ cards form the table.
If there is a capture, and after your opponent has seen it, pick the card up with the capturing card and place them face-down in a pile. If no capture can be made the card stays on the table, face-up. After, the turn passes to the other player.
Occasionally, a player may be able to capture all the cards on the table. If this happens, their opponent plays one card to the table on their next turn and the game continues as usual.
You are obliged to capture if you can do so. You can only leave a card on the table if you can not make a capture with it or any other cards in hand.
To capture, the options are as follows:
- Capture by Pairing. If you have a card in hand that is of equal rank to a card or multiple cards you can capture them. So, a 6 in hand will capture any and all 6s on the layout. Face cards are only able to be captured by pairing.
- Capture by Making 8s or 10s. If you play a card in your hand that when added to another card or multiple cards totals 8 or 10 you may capture them. For example, a player with an Ace in hand (which has a value of 1) could pair it with a 7 OR create a set of three with, for example, a 5 and a 2. Because face cards don’t have a numerical value, you cannot use them in making 8s or 10s.
- Capture by Pairing 8s or 10s. A combination of pairing and making 8s or 10s. For example, if you have an Ace in hand you may capture a 7 and an 8.
Only one capture can be made per turn.
Cards left on the table are given to the player who made the last capture. The player who has captured the majority of cards at the end of the game wins.