Review – Skull & Roses
A bluffing, hand management game.
Title: Skull & Roses
Year Published: 2011
Designer: Hervé Marly
Game Time: ~45 Mins
Set-up Time: >1 Mins
Theme: Biker Gangs
Mechanic: Bluffing, Hand Management, Auction
How to win: Win two rounds.
Skull & Roses is the quintessence of bluffing, a game in which everything is played in the players’ heads.
Each player takes a mat and tiles of their colour placing the mat skull side up… erm done.
Each player puts one card on their mat face down to get the game going.
Starting with the first player and going clockwise, you either place another card or make a challenge. If you have no cards left in your hand you must challenge.
Going round the table, a player may increase the bid, or drop out by passing. The highest remaining bidder is the challenger and must reveal cards equal to their bid but must always start with all of their own cards first.
The challenger then flips over the top card of any players stack in any order one at a time.
If they find all Roses before revealing a skull, they win and they flip their mat over to the roses side.
You gather all cards and play another round with the winner being the new start player.
If they flip over a skull you stop revealing cards, you have lost. All players take their cards back in hand and the opponent who had their skull revealed takes a random card from the loser and puts it in the box without looking.
This player also goes first in the next round.
If you revealed your own skull, you choose a card to discard from the game and choose who the next start player will be.
If you lose your last card, you are out.
You win the game by either winning 2 rounds, or being the only one player remaining.
This is poker without the fluff. You need to bluff and sound confident when making a challenge knowing you’ve put a Skull down.
Losing your Skull is horrible, especially when the other players work it out…
A fun, tense game.
I give it 6/10