I've been playing Papers Please, doing my best to go along with the more idealistic elements of the regime, without bowing to the more horrific totalitarian number-pushing and individuality quashing aspects, only to find myself destitute and at the mercy of the totalitarian forces I just mentioned.

However, despite my sympathy for the cause and all that, I keep getting letters saying they're taking the house and everything I own... And even when I'm not getting the government turning up at my doorstep with their best kept prole-quashing boots on, I find I can barely afford to feed myself, let alone pay for unexpected bills like doctors and dentists or look after family (I think there was a dentist bill last time I played...) -- despite occasionally picking up a little bit of off-the-books work or a cypher-puzzle here and there.

So: if anyone has any good, basic tips as to how to make enough money to survive, preferably while avoiding getting carted off to prison for my highly subversive activities checking over documents and asking people questions, it would be appreciated.

I've been looking for guidance online, but I'm still very much struggling to provide for my basic needs.


2 Answers 2


First, if you accept the 1000 dollar EZIC gift, you will be found out 100% of the time... The only tactic to support your family is to get really good at examining the people quickly. For every successful entrant/reject, you get $5.

Just have to get really good at identifying the seals, required paperwork, identifying fake city names, or city names that have the wrong province, etc. It takes practice. There is a cheat sheet of the visual stuff somewhere, but I haven't played in a while, but google may turn something cool up for you.

Edit: This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. There are lots out there, so find one that works for you.

enter image description here

  • 1
    also, remember you can detain people for extra money
    – l I
    Jun 12, 2016 at 2:30
  • 2
    True, but doing that too many times and you'll get fined. You get $10 for detaining when the option arises, but you lose the potential $5 from a successful interrogation. Personally I just detained only the ones that should be, seems to maximize my profits.
    – Tim S.
    Jun 12, 2016 at 4:16

You can also alternate between not feeding your family and not paying for heat. Your family will always be either hungry or cold this way, but it seems they they don't really bother, as long as either status lasts at most a day. (Maybe pay for both if someone is sick)

Also note that you won't lose any money for the first two tickets you receive. So there is no need to be too pedantic (especially with hard to check stuff like issuing city if you don't know it by heart) until you got your second warning.

There are some more regularities that can help: there is always at most one thing wrong with the paper given to you, so if you have to ask for one of the documents and then receive it, everything else will be fine; the first character (sometimes the first two) usually introduces the new rules of the day, so you can usually skip all checks that you already had to do the day before; if you get a card for a brothel, all paperwork seems to check out (as far as I have played); and probably some more patterns I have not yet noticed.

  • I've played the game for a while. I might go back to it. It seems quite similar to Don't Starve, though. Jun 12, 2016 at 17:23
  • “Also note that you won't lose any money for the first two tickets you receive.” While this is technically correct, it is misleading as this does not mean there is no difference at all for the first two mistakes. The two warning citations have no penalty in that you don't lose salary, but you still miss out on the salary that you otherwise would have earned if you did not make that mistake. Once the citations begin charging penalties, not only do you miss out on earning salaries, but you are also losing previous salaries. Sep 2 at 21:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .