An ancient game of ornate skulls and dangerous roses, Skull is simple to learn but dangerously difficult to win. You must bluff, lie and pierce through the deceptions to expose the roses. Be wary, though - if you happen across a skull, the consequences are dire!
Players will hold three rose cards and one skull. Add a card to the pile in front of you, and when you feel lucky, announce your challenge and declare how many cards you will flip. Cards that show a rose are safe, but if you expose your opponent's hidden skull, you lose one of your own cards. Keep your cards to the bitter end to win this clever game of deception and perception!
Tricky bluffing game with deep tactics and strategy
Reinvented art to bring new life to this deceptively simple game
Created by renowned designer Herve Marly
6 Tribes (Each with 3 Flower-discs, 1 Skull Disk and 1 Player Mat)
Game Length: 15-45 minutes
This game can be played on its own or combined with other Skull & Roses sets for enhanced play.
NOTE: This is the 2013 Asmodee Games English/French 1st Edition.
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- Jokers4Life - A Board So Never Bored Review of Skull[s and Roses]
Skulls and Roses (Red) was one of the first board games I purchased after I got back into board gaming (around 2010). I was looking for a good gateway game to get some of my friends in on the hobby and chose it because I thought I could sell it as 5-Minute Poker. Spoiler Alert: six years later and I still own it. In fact, one of my biggest regrets was not picking up Skulls and Roses (Black) and Skull when they were available (but I find a deck or two of cards does alright in a pinch)
Brief Game Synopsis
This game is all about the bluffing. Players go back and forth tossing cardboard cards down on their stack and try to eliminate other players by having them pull a skull or get win by pulling nothing but roses themselves two times.
Toys With Rules
So I am not sure why, but the first time I read the rulebook for this game I was deeply confused. I am not sure if it was the heavy handed attempt to inject a biker theme into it or what, but I found the rulebook to be as confusing as could be despite the plethora of rule examples. Then I watched a video on it and realized it was super easy. Now reading back through the rulebook I am not sure how I got so turned around on my first outing with it, but I did so thought I should mention it. That being said, I can sometimes be an idiot so take the criticism with a grain of salt.
Regardless, once you grasp the core concept the game is super easy to teach and the rulebook is set up with a ton of examples to clarify any rule confusion nicely.
Like Poker, the game starts with each player anting up with one of their cardboard cards face down in front of them. From there you have two phases:
Phase 1 – Starting with the first player you have two choices which are essentially to raise or to call. If you raise you can add more of the tiles from your hand (usually just one or two but theoretically up to as many as you have). The next player either meets your raise by adding the same number, raises by adding more cards then what you laid down, or calls (which I think is supposed to be called challenging but whatever, I usually stick to the Poker theme). Play goes until someone calls (which you have to do eventually as you can only raise up to the total number of cards you have – which is four to start with).
Phase 2 – The person who is called on then beings the next phase by calling out how many cards they are willing to flip over. The next player can either raise that number or call. When someone is called on, they begin by flipping over the cards in their own stack first and then if there is an excess they chose from other players stacks. If you reveal a skull (in your stack or another players) you burn a card at random from your hand. If you get through your allotted flips and there is no skull then you get to flip you base mat once. You do this twice and you won.
Example – We are playing with three players. Each player has anted so there is a starting a total of three cards (one in front of each player) in the starting “pot”. Player A begins the first phase by adding one card to his stack. Player B sees that and raises by adding two to his stack. Player C calls. So Player A has two cards (the ante and one he raised), Player B has three cards (his ante and the two he raised) and Player C has one (his ante). Since Player C called on Player B now Player B begins the next phase by saying he would flip over two cards. Player C raises saying he would flip over three. Player A calls him on it. So now player C flips over the one card in his stack first (his ante). It is not a skull so now he has two more he must flip over. He can choose to flip the top card on either Player. He chooses the top card on Player B’s stack and it is not a skull so he still has one more to flip. Again, he can continue to flip from Player B’s stack but choses instead to flip the one card in front of Player A. It is a skull. So player C burns one of his cards at random returning it to the box.
Boards ‘N Bits
There is a whole lotta game crammed into a tiny box with surprisingly few components. The biker patch theme on the beer coaster-like cards does the job well enough. I have seen the rethemed Skull cards and I am not sure I really like it but if I ever got my hands on the box I would gladly combine them.
At first I was a little worried that the thick cardboard pieces would not hold up well but this is easily the most played game in my collection and I have not had any issues yet with it being damaged.
A minor (very minor) complaint here is that the artwork on the Amazons patch features a girl with cleavage showing. I don’t think it is really anything bad (and I am a fairly conservative person about such things) but I have had to pull it out before playing with some people because they can be easily offended (read borderline prudish). I would have gotten the Black box instead of Red as that one had no objectionable cards but I am Jokers4Life, baby (read giant Batman nerd, baby).
When my group busts this game out it is typically followed by a game Ca$h ‘N Gun$ so we tend to get a little…too…into the theme. We pull the guns from Ca$h and each person assumes the role of leader of a rival gang. When someone faces a challenge everyone points their foam gun out and if they fail the challenge, we assassinate one of their lieutenants (represented by their cards). We may have been a little too into Sons of Anarchy…OPPPPPIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!...sniff…sniff… (HashTagSpoilerAlert – hey, I don’t have a fancy smart phone and don’t really textulate so sue me if I am not sure how to HashTag appropriately).
What is great about this game is I play it a lot at random places like work, bars, at Church events, whatever. All you really need is some beer coasters, sticky notes, or a deck of cards. It is a great filler that serves as a good gateway for people who like bluffing.
I normally play games with my five year old son and use a quote from him for these reviews but the one time I tried playing with him he found the game to dull (and not because he didn’t pick up on the game, he totally did). So instead I went with a guy I know who often teaches this game to others as he uses it heavily as a filler for his group:
Skull is a great game with awesome, vibrant artwork. I play it a lot with my Youth Group and the kids eat it up. We built our own so that each person has a unique deck to utilize and they just have a blast. I am not sure I have another game that is so easy to explain and quick enough to really get in a lot of play with from people of all walks of life. I have used it as a team building exercise at work. I have played on the plane before with passengers. I have played it when volunteering at a retirement centers. I even played it with my in-laws which is like – ugh. Everyone loves it. I love it. But no, the Werewolves totally rule, Jokers suck.
+ Highly addictive
+ Portable and easy to store
+ Easy to teach
- Black is out of print and I missed my chance to get it so I am a little heartbroken
- I did not care for the rulebook (but remember, I may be an idiot)
- My son doesn’t like it…and he is like, my bro…
Purchase, Play, or Pass
Purchase. Purchase. PURCHASE! This is such a fun and simple game of bluffing that it should be in every gamers collection. You don’t like bluffing you say? Shut up and Play the game first. Then Purchase.
Game Play Quality Price Value
- Very Cool Quick Filler Game
Was introduced to this game at a board game meet up in St. Louis. Didn't know what to expect with the components representing drink coasters, but as I started playing I realized how good of a game this is. This game is pretty much a memorization/deduction game where you are trying to either gain two wins or eliminate your opponents.
The quality is really good for the pieces, but watch out for water. Just like coasters they won't last long when wet. If you are looking for a quick filler game for up to 6 players I would highly recommend this.
Game Play Quality Price Value