How to Play the Game Snaps

By Carol Finch
A woman is snapping her fingers.
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Snaps is a mental guessing game for a group of players. Two players use coded communication to try to convince the group that they can read each other's minds; the group's job is to deduce how it's being done. Often used as a camp or party game for preteens and teenagers, snaps is also a good icebreaker in corporate training sessions.

Set Up the Game

Pick two players to lead the game -- use group organizers or choose two people at random. Take the pair aside and tell them how the game and communication code works. One of the two leaders leaves the room or moves out of earshot while the group gives the name of a famous person to the other leader. When the first leader returns, he proves his mind-reading abilities by working out what the name is.

Use the Snaps Code

The leader who knows the name uses coded signals to spell out each of its letters to the other leader. The code for consonants is the first letter of a short phrase or sentence. Vowels use a set number of finger snaps -- one snap for "A," two for "E," three for "I," four for "O" and five for "U." If the group chose Bono, for example, the leader might use the following code: "be sure to tune in," four finger snaps, "now you're getting it" and four finger snaps. The leader who's guessing then tells the group the name. Keep playing until the group figures out the code.

Snaps Variations

You can use claps instead of finger snaps and you can also set your own categories. Instead of using famous people, use the names of players in the group, objects in the room or animals, for example. The basic game doesn't work if players know the code, in which case try a point scoring variation. For example, have one player choose their own word and code-spell it to the group. If players guess correctly before the leader is done, give them two points or give one point to the person who gets it right first at the end.