Sing Sing

Designed by Karl-Heinz Schmiel
Published by Moskito Games
Copyright 1996, Karl-Heinz Schmiel
Translated by Kurt Adam (

For 2-5 players.
About 20 minutes.

Game Components:

Quick Start:

For those who are lazy or impatient, this synopsis should suffice to begin playing. You can read this and get playing quickly. If any questions or problems arise, then read the full rules to clarify.


Two convict cards are placed in each window on the board. Two short bars are placed vertically and one long bar horizontally in each window to cover the convicts. The starting player gets the file and the player to their left gets the mask.

Turn Sequence:

The player with the mask puts it on so that he can't see. The player with the file removes one bar of his choice from the board. The player with the mask uncovers their eyes and must declare which bar was removed. The player must specify the color and length of the bar and which window it was removed from.

Wrong answer: The player with the file keeps it and the mask is passed to the next player. The player with the file then can remove another bar.

Right answer: The player with the mask gets the file and passes the mask to the player on his left.

As soon as a convict is completely free of bars, it is removed from the board. If the player with the mask gave the correct answer, he gets the card. Otherwise, the player with the file gets it.

Game End:

The first player to collect 3 cards of the same convict or 3 different convicts wins the game.

Game Idea:

Sing Sing, the notorious American prison has just received three new inmates: Breakout Eddie, Killer Joe and Mack the Knife. Warden Karl is sure that Sing Sing will be the last stop for these three, but they have different plans:

Mack: Put the file away!
Joe: Here comes the Warden.

Warden: Well, Eddie, you know you can never break out of Sing Sing.
Eddie: Bah! Want to bet?

Warden: Bet? Sure! But how will we do that, Eddie?
Eddie: Simple, we'll play a game.
Mack: A game, great! I love it.
Joe: Me, too.


The three convicts and Warden Karl setup the game. The board representing the prison is placed in the middle of the table. The convict cards are shuffled and two are placed in each of the twelve windows. The wooden sticks are the bars on the windows. These are placed on top of the convict cards: 2 short bars vertically and 1 long one horizontally. The bars can be placed without regard to their colors. The extra bars are placed to the side and not used in the game. Once the setup is complete, the board will look like the drawing in the German rules.

The three inmates are happy with the setup. However, they have one other surprise for Warden Karl that he might not like. We overhear them again:

Warden: Mask and file! Weird!
Eddie: Okay! We're ready. The game can begin.
Mack: Wait! We have to put the mask on the Warden.
Joe: And take the file for us, heh heh.

To start the game, a starting player must be determined (for example, the youngest player). This player takes the file and the mask is given to the player to his left. The player with the mask is the warden and tries to foil the convict's escape attempts.


The file and the mask make Karl nervous. Plus, he wants to know how to win. So he's got some doubts. Eddie calms him:

Warden: Well, fine, but how do I win?
Eddie: Never fear, Karl. It's only a game.
Mack: All you have to do is catch us.

Warden: What? I don't understand!
Eddie: If all three of us break out, you've lost.
Mack: Or if one of us breaks out 3 times, we win then, too.
Joe: Exactly. You catch us, you win.

Breakout Eddie has pity on Warden Karl and explains it to him again. We already know how it works, though: The player who first collects 3 of the same or 3 different convicts wins. For examples, see the German rules.

Turn Sequence:

Warden Karl still doesn't understand. The three convicts know the rules. We would also like to know them and so we listen further:

Warden: How does the game work?
Eddie: It's very simple. First put on the mask.

Warden: Sheesh! I can't see a thing.
Eddie: That's right, heh heh! Give me the file. I'll cut out a bar.

Warden: But not a real bar.
Eddie: No, only in the game. I mean the sticks. Okay, you can look now.

See the German rules for the before and after pictures.

Warden: This will be easy! I'll definitely get it right.
Eddie: Guess! Which bar is missing?
Joe: And what color is it, eh?

Warden: I have no idea. Grey maybe?
Joe: Close, but no cigar.

Warden Karl has bad luck on his first try. However, we know now some of the rules. The player with the mask puts it on. It is a good idea to get a good look at the board beforehand. The player with the file takes away any bar they like. It could be short or long and any color. The bar is placed in the player's closed fist. The player with the mask then removes the mask. They must now guess: Which stick was removed. He must show the right window, color and length. Then the player with the file opens their hand. Was the answer right or wrong? All three things count: window, color and length.

The bar is placed aside and the game continues. There are no convict cards free, yet. Warden Karl shrugs and figures that he still has time to win. We return and listen:

Warden: Damn, wrong! Now what happens?
Mack: Eddie may take another bar.
Joe: Wait! Now I try to guess. Give me the mask, Karl.

If the player with the mask was wrong, then he must pass the mask to the next player, and the player with the file can remove another bar. This could continue for several rounds, if the players with the mask keep guessing incorrectly.

Warden Karl now has some misgivings. Maybe he should not have played this game. The convicts are smarter than he thought. However, he is still sure that he has a chance. First, he'd like to know what would happen had he been right. Breakout Eddie tells him.

Warden: And if I had been right?
Eddie: Then you would get the file.
Mack: And Joe the mask.
Joe: Exactly! Role reversal.

That is the chance for Warden Karl. If he had been right, then he could try to break out. Therefore: whenever a player is right, they get the file. The player on their left gets the mask and guesses in the next round. However, we want to see how our 4 friends are doing.

Warden: Therefore, Eddie tries to break out and Joe guesses.
Eddie: Smart, Karl! Psst, now I'll remove the middle bar.

The situation is close. Eddie makes a break for it. Now or never, he says to himself! Suddenly a convict card is free. No sticks cover it horizontally or vertically.

See the German rules for the before and after pictures.

Warden: Oh man, now a card is free!
Mack: Cool! Eddie's trying to break out!

Killer Joe takes off the mask. He is nervous since Eddie is making it hard on him. He thinks. Then the answer comes like a pistol shot: "The long stick in the middle, white!" A shot in the dark. Eddie pales.

Warden: Thank God!
Eddie: Damn! I'm caught!
Mack: Why? It's bad for all of us.
Joe: Exactly! I get the card.

Warden: And if Joe had been wrong?
Eddie: Then I would get the card.
Mack: Then Eddie would break out.
Joe: Sheesh, bad luck.

We understand: As soon as a convict card is free of all bars, someone will get the card. If this player with the mask gives the right answer, they get the card and the file. If they are wrong, then the player with the file gets the card and also gets to keep removing bars.

Game End:

Killer Joe is lucky and has a card. The game continues, however. The game ends when someone has collected 3 of the same or 3 different convict cards. This player is the winner.

In the meantime, our 4 friends have have finished their game. Warden Karl is annoyed. Why? Let's find out:

Warden: Oh man! Eddie wins.
Eddie: Yee Ha! My third card!
Mack: No matter, we can play again.
Joe: This version is too easy.

Warden: What? There's a harder version?
Eddie: It's not that bad.
Mack: We use the chips.
Joe: O.K., this is the advanced game.

The Advanced Game:

Those who feel the basic game is too simple can try the advanced game. Each player gets 2 chips at the beginning of the game. They can be used as follows:

1. The player with the file can decide to remove two bars during his turn. He must announce this and pay a chip before removing the two bars.

2. The player with the mask can retry after failing to identify the removed bars. The player with the file should not immediately open his hand during the advanced game if the guessing player is incorrect. The player with the mask can pay a chip and guess a second time. If incorrect, then the mask passes to the next player, three guesses are not allowed during the same turn.

The Game Cabinet - - Ken Tidwell