Get the gun and shoot the Snitch. Escape a maximum security prison with your fellow inmates by smuggling a gun inside. Work together and use your prison contacts cleverly.

But beware! At any moment, one of your associates might become the Snitch. If he foils your painstaking plans, he wins. Or maybe... there is no Snitch at all.


  • 50 Prison Contacts
  • 3 Escape Plans
  • 1 The Snitch Card
  • 1 Guard Card
  • 1 Soap Bar
  • 1 Cardboard Gun
  • 1 Interrogation Deck Token
  • 3 Overview Cards
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

The players try to complete 5 Schemes in order to get the gun inside the prison.They do this by playing cards facedown underneath other player's Schemes.

Initially everybody is working together, but during the game one player might become the Snitch. The objective of the Snitch is to stop everybody from escaping. Do you know whom you can trust?

What is on the Cards


The Interrogation Deck

Take 7 random cards without revealing them and place them in a small pile on the table. Take The Snitch, the 3 Escape Plan cards and 9 random cards.

Shuffle them thoroughly without revealing them. Put 2 random cards back into the box. Don't look at them until the end of the game.

Place this pile crisscross on top of the pile of 7 cards already on the table. Place, as a reminder, the Interrogation Deck Token on top.

Every time a Scheme fails, players must draw cards from this deck. When there are 7 cards or less left in this pile, The prison riot begins. If this deck runs out of cards, the time is up. Everybody loses and the Snitch wins. If nobody is the Snitch, everybody loses.

The Prison Contacts Deck

Shuffle the leftover cards and draw 24 cards. Divide them as evenly as possible among all players.

You can talk about the cards in your hand. You're also allowed to lie about them. You can never show cards in your hand to other players.

Set the remaining cards aside as a face down draw pile. This is the Prison Contacts Deck. When a Scheme is successful, players will draw from this deck.

The Scheming Begins

All the players select one card from their hand and put it face up in front of them. This is considered to be their personal Scheme. Players can have only one Scheme in front of them at any time.

Players leave some room for their Secret Stach. Every time a Scheme fails, the player receives an Item. This Item is stored in his Secret Stach.

The Gun

Put the gun next to the Interrogation Deck. Scored Scheme cards will be placed next to it.

The Guard

Give the Guard card to the most talkative person in your group (Guard side up). As long as the guard card is lying in front of the player, his actions are restricted. He can't:

  • say anything
  • use an Item from his Secret Stash
  • refuse help by turning his card sideways

Game Play

The most innocent player begins. Give him the Bar of Soap (don't drop it). He puts it with the Handcuffs Icon face down in front of him. When his turn is over, he gives the Soap to the player on the left. The Soap reminds everyone who is the active player.

During your Turn

You can do one of the following actions:

  • Play a card
  • Draw a card
  • Use an Item

Then pass the Bar of Soap.

Outside your Turn

You can do the following action:

  • Use The Refuse Icon

Let's have a closer look.

Play a Card

During your turn, put one card from your hand face down underneath another player's Scheme card without revealing it. Before the Prison Riot, you can only help inmates in a cell right next to you. So you can only put a card underneath the scheme of the player to your right or left.

Once a card is placed underneath a Scheme, you're not allowed to look at it again. Players are allowed to talk about the cards they play, but they cannot disclose whether the card contains the Backstab Icon or not. Remember! If you have the Guard in front of you, all verbal

and non-verbal communication is forbidden. Communication is crucial in this game. Make sure to let other players know what card you played to complete their Schemes or which cards are already played underneath your Scheme.

Draw a Card

Draw a card from the Interrogation Deck.

You can draw Prison Contact cards or special cards like.

The Escape Plans

When you draw this card, keep it in your hand until the end of the game, because it will make the final escape easier.

The Snitch

When you draw this card. You become the Snitch. You can't play this card. It will be stuck in your hand. Keep it a secret.

There are rumors about an escape attempt. If you can prevent it, your sentence will be reduced. Your goal is to subtly sabotage everything. There are three possible ways to win:

  • The last card from the Interrogation deck is drawn.
  • You get the gun.
  • The final escape fails.

Completing a Scheme

Each Scheme requires a specific number of face-down cards underneath them in order to complete them.

You can find this required number at the bottom right corner of a Prison Contact card. Once enough cards are played underneath a Scheme, it resolves immediately.

The player with the Soap picks up all the cards underneath the Scheme without looking at them. He adds the top card from the Prison Contact Deck and shuffles them underneath the table.

Then he hands the shuffled cards over to the owner of the Scheme. The owner of the Scheme reveals the cards one by one. There are two possible scenarios...


When all of the Prison Contacts differ from one another and only 1 Backstab Icon or less appears on the cards in the same Scheme, it is successful. Put the revealed cards underneath the Prison Contacts Deck. Put the scored Scheme card face up next to the gun.

As a reward, first the owner of the Scheme draws 1 card from the Prison Contacts Deck. Then the inmate on his left draws 1 card from the Prison Contacts Deck, after which the inmate on the right does the same.

Then the owner of the successful Scheme draws 1 card from the Interrogation Deck for each Backstab Icon present.

It is possible that he does not need to draw a card, if nobody played a card with a Backstab Icon. Then he selects a new Scheme from his hand and puts it face up in front of him. You don't have to play a new scheme when you just completed the fifth Scheme.

Getting Caught

If a Prison Contact is revealed more than once in the same scheme and/or more than one Backstab Icon appears on the cards played in the scheme, it has failed. The owner of the failed Scheme places it face down in his Secret Stach. It represents an Item he managed to snatch before the Scheme failed.

The owner of the failed Scheme draws first 1 card from the Interrogation Deck. Then his neighboring inmate on his left and finally his neighboring inmate on his right will also draw 1 card from the Interrogation Deck.

Then the owner of the failed Scheme draws one additional card from the Interrogation Deck for every Backstab Icon revealed. Return the revealed cards to the bottom of the Prison Contacts Deck.

Take a replacement Scheme card from the top of the Prison Contacts Deck. Put it face up in front of you.

Finally, put the Guard Card in front of that player. Remember that you can't say anything if the Guard is in front of you. If the Handcuffs Icon is revealed on the Soap, turn it face down.

The Prison Riot Begins

The Prison Riot begins when 7 cards or less are left in the Interrogation Deck. All the cell doors spring open. Players are no longer restricted to give cards to their neighbors. They can choose anybody around the table (except themselves).

Use an Item

If the Guard is not in front of you, you may use an Item from your Secret Stach instead of playing or drawing a card. Depending on which Item you use, something special happens. After use return them to the bottom of the Prison Contacts Deck

  • Binoculars

    Look at the top 3 cards of the Prison Contacts Deck and put them back in any order you want. Useful if you want to set up a successful Scheme.

  • Key

    You and the players on your left and right draw 1 card from the Prison Contacts Deck.

  • Knuckle Irons

    Scare unwanted individuals away. Play this card next to a Scheme of your choice and make it easier to complete. The Scheme will be completed without adding a random card from the Prison Contacts Deck.

  • Bribe Money

    Bribe the Guard. Remove the Guard from play. Set his card aside. But he enters play again when a Scheme fails. This Item can also be used when the Guard is in front of you.

  • Crowbar

    Play this card next to a Scheme of your choice. This Scheme needs one card less to be completed. If by playing this card the Scheme has enough cards to be completed, it resolves immediately.

Use the Refuse Icon

Stop a player from putting a card underneath your Scheme outside your turn. Do this by turning your Scheme Card sideways.

The refused card will go, without revealing it, to the bottom of the Prison Contacts Deck. Once your Scheme Card is turned sideways, you can't use this action anymore, until the Scheme gets replaced with another Scheme.

Pass the Bar of Soap

At the end of your turn, pass the Soap to the player on your left.

If you have the Guard in front of you, flip the Soap to reveal the Handcuffs Icon. If the Soap passes you by with this Icon revealed and the Guard is still in front of you, flip the Soap face down and move the Guard to the player on your right at the end of your turn.

Who Gets the Gun

When a total of 5 Successful Scheme Cards is reached, the gun is smuggled inside the prison.

Remove all the cards (except the interrogation deck and prison contacts deck) from the table. Flip the Guard card revealing the Escape Route on the back. Everybody can speak again and is ready to escape.

Players will vote who will get the gun. You don't want to give the gun to the Snitch because he will win immediately and everybody else will lose. Vote wisely. With no majority, the player with the Soap breaks the tie.

Pulling the Trigger or Not

The player with the gun can eliminate one player if he wants, preferably the Snitch. The other players can try to convince him what to do. But the decision is up to the player with the gun.

The player that gets shot, does not reveal his cards until the end of the game. He is dangerously wounded and can not take part in the final escape by contributing cards. When the wrong player got shot, this doesn't mean the Snitch has immediately won. It is still possible for the other players to escape.

The player with the gun can also decide not to use it. Maybe nobody drew the Snitch Card and there is no need to shoot anyone. After using the gun (or not), the grand finale begins.

The Escape

The escape route needs 6 facedown cards. You don't add a random card to these 6 cards when resolving the final escape.

Players can discuss what they will do. Even the player who got shot can still give advice. But it's up to the other players to believe him or not.

First everybody except the player who got shot, must play one card facedown underneath the Escape route card. The player with the gun decides in which order everyone gets to play. Don't forget, also the owner of the Gun has to contribute a card.

Then when there are not enough cards undeneath the Escape route card. The player with the gun selects player(s) that must play an additional card underneath the Escape Route card.

It is possible one player plays multiple cards if the owner of the Gun allows it.

If you have to play a card, but you don't want to play any of the cards in your hand, you may take the top card from the Prison Contacts Deck and place that card without revealing it (or looking at it yourself) underneath the Escape Route instead.

The player with the gun keeps selecting player(s) until 6 cards have been reached.

Players with Escape Plan cards can play them as a joker. Escape Plan cards don't have a Backstab Icon and cannot match up with a Prison Contact. Making the escape a bit easier.

End of the Game

The final revelation... The final escape works the same way as resolving a Scheme (all the cards should show different Prison Contacts and only one Backstab Icon is allowed).

These are the possible outcomes:

The Escape Fails

The Snitch wins and all the other players lose. If the Snitch got shot, he still wins and will get excellent treatment for his shot wound. If there is no Snitch among the group, everybody loses.

Don't forget The Snitch also wins when the Interrogation Deck runs out of cards or when he receives the Gun. In those cases all the other players lose.

The Escape Is a Success

The Snitch and the player that got shot lose. All the other players win. If there isn't a Snitch and nobody got shot everybody is a winner!

Lowering or Raising the Bars

Allow players to talk (or lie) about the Backstab icons on their cards when they make plans with each other. It will make the game a bit easier.

Make the game harder by adding this rule. When a Scheme is completed, the revealed cards (from other players) cannot match the Prison Contact on the Scheme itself.

Criminal Mastermind Tips:

  • Don't play cards with a Backstab Icon too fast. It will keep a potential Snitch longer at bay. But don't wait too long either or the players set up a very difficult final escape.

  • The Snitch can't sabotage his own Scheme. So complete the Scheme of a suspicious player first, but don't count on him to remember what cards are already played under his Scheme.

  • As the Snitch you have to try to subtly sabotage everything before the final escape. When the Gun is smuggled into the prison there is a risk you get shot and the other players are heading for an easy escape.

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