Friday, 3 March 2017

#Snatch: The art of defence

As I mentioned previously, I’ve recently dropped Pokémon Go like a cold lead dumpling in order to play Snatch, the new augmented reality game where you can win actual prizes rather than virtual monsters. This post is for all the newbies out there who are about to jump in and join me.

The absolute first thing to do is to set up your profile. There’s not much to say here, but I recommend picking a gender-neutral name and a non-female avatar, if only to avoid gender-based mugging due either to trolls or the (flawed) argument that female players are more likely to have their phone in a bag where they can’t hear its notifications.

After watching the tutorial (I’m not going into the basics here), the next thing to do is check out your environment. Don’t start snatching. Don’t start defending. This will only eat up your very limited wallet of coins.

Your environment will largely dictate the way you play this game. If you’re out in the sticks on your own, then you’re going to be a collector - picking up parcels in the street, taking them home, and waiting for them to mature (or, to use the lingo, waiting till you can lock them down). Your game will be a relatively sedate affair, but rewarding nonetheless.

If you’re in the city, however, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Before snatching anything, just spend a day collecting parcels. Parcels take six hours to lock down. That’s a long time to defend, so unless you’ve got multiple parcels due to mature within a couple of hours, don’t bother defending. Your goal at this point is to see how aggressive the locals are, and if it is possible to hide from them.

About that defence. It comes in two forms: reactive and proactive. Reactive is more expensive, but when you need it, you need it. Proactive is more of a gamble. It’s insurance. It might not actually be necessary, but what price peace of mind, right?

There are two forms of reactive defence:
  • Snatch-proof vest (40 coins) - unless you’ve less than 50 coins, don’t bother. It offers protection from a single attack, and frankly makes you look vulnerable to a second.
  • Smokescreen (55 coins) - gives you 15 minutes of protection.
Proactive defence, meanwhile, comes down to the following:
  • Tent (75 coins) - 60 minutes of protection. Great if you’re not going anywhere and much better value than four smokescreens. [note: this has been a little glitchy this week, but the developers are aware of the problem]
  • Invisibility cloak (125 coins) - 60 minutes of protection. Great for snatching in crowded areas. 
  • Emergency battery (60 coins) - 30 minutes of protection. Can be deployed only if your battery is down to its last 19%. Yes, I have deliberately run down my battery to use this.
There are also safe houses. Safe houses are the little green buildings on your map where you can check in for an hour of free protection. In real life, these are commercial premises such as Pizza Hut, Top Man, the Apple Store or All Bar One. So, if you’re out and about in town, plan your route carefully and you could well lock down a whole bunch of boxes without spending a penny. Bear in mind, however, that you can only check into each safe house once in a 24-hour period, and your safe house time is limited to three hours per 24-hour cycle.
To show what a safe house looks like
There is of course another form of defence: truces with your neighbours. That of course is easier said than done: players can snatch your parcel from 1.5km away and there's no way to communicate with them. You'll just have to find out who is playing, and what their usernames are - good luck with that!

What you can't do is switch off your phone or your mobile signal, or hide in an otherwise "dark" spot, as the game will just park you at your last known coordinates leaving you totally open to attack.

For best results, always carry as many parcels as possible. In this way, the unit cost of defending each parcel is lower. It makes little sense to deploy a cloak for a single parcel, but if you have ten, well, that's another matter. (EDIT: If you find a parcel while you're snatching your tenth parcel, it's technically possible to hold 11 parcels - see below.)
Extreme snatching: Proof that it's possible to hold 11 parcels (pic provided by Tara Barrett)
Note also that you've 90-100 seconds to defend against a snatch [EDIT: 3 minutes according to the T&C], so don't panic if someone starts grabbing at your stash. In fact, if you're about to deploy a smokescreen anyway, let the clock wind down a little in order to nab yourself an extra minute of defence (it all counts!).

Finally, it's also important to know when to fold, as it were. If you've got, say, nine parcels ready to lock down within the hour, but one that's going to take three hours or more, then unless you plan to stock up on another armful of parcels to go with it, it's collateral damage. Just because you paid to snatch it, doesn't mean you have to keep throwing coins at it.

So, that’s the defence, what about the snatching? Tell me about the snatching!

I'd love to - but haven't you read enough for one day? Tell you what, how about you practise locking down a box or two and I'll wrap this up in my next post.

If you haven't yet installed the app, get yourself over to the App Store or Google Play. If you follow my referral link and add “95J73U” as a referral code on the 500 Free Coins tab then I get an in-game reward (thanks!).

If you have any more tips, please share them in the comments below.


  1. oh my goodness - definitely not my sort of thing but definitely something my kids would love once they are old enough to do this. My eldest son is number 5 in the WORLD at Crossy Road so i hope this game sticks around for long enough for him to grow up and play it.

    1. It's definitely not for everyone - I knew my wife would hate it well before she told me she would hate it! (She refuses to play poker even for chump change as she refuses to play games that will leave anyone financially worse off - even if you're talking about pennies!

      Kudos to your son's dedication - that's outstanding! I don't even rank in the top 150 million!