Ok so the way the game goes is first one person starts out by saying that they want to play snaps. Then somebody chooses a category, we usually choose baseball players. After that, the person thinks of the name of a player and begins the game. The object of the game is for the person who has thought of the player to try to get the other people listening to guess the same player that teller is thinking of. So the person who thinks of the player, the teller, begins by saying either snaps is the name of the game or snaps is not the name of the game. When snaps is the name of the game, that means the teller will spell out the persons first name, and when snaps is not the name of the game that means the teller will spell out the persons last name. To spell out a name, the teller says a series of sentences in which the first letter of the first word of the first sentence gives the first letter of the persons name, the first letter of the first word of the second sentence gives the second letter of a persons name, and so on. However, the catch is this is only used for consonants. For vowels, the teller snaps his fingers: once for A, twice for E, three times for I, four times for O, and five times for U. Usually this means that there is a scramble of sentences and snaps that form either the full first name or last name of the person that the teller is trying to get the audience to guess. So as an example I will give you Roger Clemens when snaps is the name of the game and when it is not. Snaps is the name of the game. Read books. (Snap 4 times). Go get it. (Snap 2 times). Remember everything I said. That would spell out R-O-G-E-R. Hopefully the
person could guess that it was Roger Clemens given the category. Here is how I would do Roger Clemens when snaps is not the name of the game. Snaps is not the name of the game. Close your eyes. Listen carefully. (Snap 2 times). Make sure you can hear me. (Snap 2 times). Notice my hands. Stick with it. That would spell out C-L-E-M-E-N-S. The teller must think of a name in the category that people would probably guess and use his best judgment when telling the name.
I collected this game from one of my old assistant baseball coaches who I remember played snaps with us during bus rides and practice. Usually there are some people who know how to play and some people who dont know how to play. It will often take listeners who have never played before at least a half hour to an hour before they can figure out the gist of the game. Also, it is considered taboo to speak the rules, because that would be giving away the secret rules that everyone has had to figure out in the past. Anybody can initiate a snaps game and usually after the teller has gone and a person has guessed it, someone else who knows how to play will start it up again and say a different person.
According to Mike, he learned this while playing minor league baseball for a Yankees farm team while in Canada. What Mike has found is that snaps is popular across the baseball community and that he has found it being played in other groups as well. He told me that everyone knew how to play on the team and that when rookies came to play on the team they would always be the target of the game. Like many games, this folk game typically involved some people who know how to play, while others have to try to figure it out. I believe the reason that snaps is such an addicting game is because when someone figures out how to play, all they want to do is try and stump the next person who wants to try and figure it out.