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    Skull Rulebook

    Rulebook Original Source


    • 6 packs of 4 cards each with identical backs, consisting of 3 Roses cards and 1 Skull card.
    • 6 double-sided game mats.
    • One rulebook.

    Goal of the Game

    Win 2 bets.

    Game Set-up

    Each player takes a game mat which is placed in front of them, Skull-side up, and chooses a pack of 4 cards with the same back, which are held in that player's hand, keeping the card faces hidden from the other players.

    A first player is chosen.


    Start of the Hand

    Each player secretly looks at the hidden face of the cards kept in their hand, then chooses a single one to be placed face down on their mat.


    • The first player verifies that the players have all placed their cards before playing.
    • Be careful to never reveal the hidden face of your cards.
    • Don't hesitate to comment on your actions or those of your opponents, for example by saying “I'm warning you, I'm playing a Skull right now!” To win, you'll have to gain a psychological edge over your opponents.

    Placement of Cards

    Place a card or challenge someone?

    The first player can play a second card face-down on top of the first one played.

    The player to their left can do the same, and so on.

    Continue in this way, clockwise, until a player either can no longer play or no longer wants to continue. When their turn comes to play a card, a player can decide not to play an extra card and can challenge someone instead.


    • The first player can challenge someone as soon as this phase begins, instead of playing a second card.
    • Only one card is played at a time.
    • The cards are placed on the game mat on top of each other in a way that makes the number of cards present obvious at a glance.
    • A player who no longer has any cards in hand MUST issue a challenge.


    Pass or bid more?

    The player who issues the challenge announces the number of cards he or she intends to flip over from among all those placed on the play mats of all the players.

    Going clockwise, each player must then:

    • Either raise the stakes by increasing the previous bid.
    • Or pass their turn and push their game mat to the middle of the table.

    We continue until all the players have passed except one, the highest bidder, called the “challenger”.


    • No player can place cards on their mats anymore.
    • A challenge can be issued by offering to flip over just a single card.
    • The value of the following bids is open, and doesn't have to increase by only 1 at a time.
    • A player who passes cannot bid again.


    The challenger must reveal the number of cards from his or her bet while following these rules:

    • The challenger starts by revealing the cards from his or her own mat.
    • On the mats, the cards are revealed in order, starting from the top.
    • The challenger is never forced to reveal all the cards placed on the mats of other players.
    • The cards are revealed one at a time.


    The challenger can, after having revealed his or her own cards, freely choose from which player’s cards he or she will flip the remainder of his or her bet, one card at a time.

    Lost Bet

    If the challenger reveals a Skull, they have failed and stops flipping cards for their bet immediately.


    • The challenger must never reveal the remaining cards, as the strategy of the other players must remain secret. A player can, however, reveal his own cards himselves in order to see the possible disconcerted reaction of the challenger...
    • If the Skull has been revealed among the cards of an opponent, the challenger shuffles his cards and places them face down. The opponent randomly selects, without touching it, one card to be discarded. That card is placed in the middle of the table and remains hidden.
    • If the challenger has revealed his own Skull, the challenger chooses the card to be discarded himself, by looking at them, without showing anything to the other players. In all cases, the challenger will remain the only one to know if the discarded card is a Skull or a Rose.
    • The players each take their cards back into their hands.

    • The challenger loses one of his cards for good.

    He will be the only one to know if it was a Skull or Roses.

    If the challenger loses his last card, he is eliminated from the game and turns in his mat.


    • If the eliminated challenger has revealed his own Skull, he will decide who the first player for the next turn will be.
    • Otherwise, the first player for the next turn will be the owner of the revealed Skull.

    Winning Bet

    If the challenger flips the number of cards called and reveals only Roses, the bet is won and the challenger flips his or her game mat so that the Roses side is visible.

    As soon as a player wins a second bet, that player WINS THE GAME.

    New Turn

    Whether the bet has been won or lost, the challenger is the first player for the next round, which starts again at phase 1.


    • We do not advise beginning players to take part in 3-player games, as it's a game configuration which requires a lot of tactics and which is particularly unforgiving when it comes to mistakes.
    • It's very advantageous to be the first player. It's worth the trouble of taking risks to get that position, even if it means losing a card.
    • Don't hesitate to bluff by issuing a challenge or increasing the bet while having just played a Skull. It's the best way to reassure the future challenger and have him or her choose your cards only to fail.
    • Foster a mood of anxiety by commenting on the choices of the challenger.
    • As with other confrontation-based games, by the end of the game, when there are only a few remaining players with about as many cards, there are winning strategies!
    • You can combine 2 Skull & Roses boxes to play with more than 6 players.

    Traditional Vocabulary in Skull & Roses

    • A bet consisting of revealing all cards at the table is called attempting a “burn out”.
    • The second player to speak when a challenge is issued is said to be “under the gun”.
    • The last one to speak before the highest bidder is “the cop”.
    • A player with only one remaining card is “stoned”.