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Conseils de jeu
Il est très avantageux d’être le premier joueur.
Cela vaut la peine de prendre des risques pour
avoir cette place, quitte à perdre un disque.
N’hésitez pas à bluffer en engageant un défi
ou en relançant alors que vous avez posé un
Skull, c’est le meilleur moyen de mettre le
futur Challenger en confiance afin qu’il vienne
échouer chez vous en retournant votre Skull.
Attention, en fin de partie, lorsque les joueurs
possèdent peu de disques, il existe des stratégies gagnantes !
Découvrez-les et vous aurez un avantage
considérable en milieu de partie.
Pour déstabiliser vos adversaires, commentez vos actions et celles des autres, mais surtout celles du Challenger. Par exemple en disant « Là, je vous préviens, je pose un Skull ! »,
ou bien « Nooon ne retourne pas chez lui, il a
posé un Skull ! »
Pour gagner, il faut prendre l'ascendant psychologique sur vos adversaires.
Nous déconseillons aux joueurs débutants les
parties à 3 joueurs. C'est une configuration
très tactique qui ne pardonne pas les erreurs.
Variante plus tactique pour les joueurs
confirmés : vous pouvez combiner 2 boîtes
de Skull pour jouer à plus de 6 joueurs. Mais
les meilleures configurations sont à moins de
10 joueurs.
Variante à 2 gangs par personne : au début
de la partie, chaque joueur choisit 2 gangs.
Comme dans le jeu de base, dès qu'un joueur
gagne une deuxième fois avec un seul de ses
gangs, il est le GAGNANT DE LA PARTiE.
Pour la disposition du jeu, les deux gangs
d'un même joueur sont placés en vis-à-vis de
part et d'autre de la table de jeu.
Bienvenue sur :
Skull est un jeu d’Hervé Marly, illustré par Thomas Vuarchex.
Collection dirigée par Philippe des Pallières, maquette de Caroline Ottavis.
Un grand merci à tous les valeureux et NOMBREUX testeurs
et tout particulièrement à Bruno Faidutti pour ses re-lectures attentives.
Skull © 2013 / éditions « lui-même ».
The origins of the game
Excerpt from the journal of Joseph, the author's adventuring great-grandfather:
“August 12th, 1921: we've finally reached the port of San-Francisco, the last leg of our trip 
around the world, our souls enriched by the encounters we've had and our hold filled with 
the wonderful gifts offered by the people who have welcomed us. 
Among these relics is a surprising collection of flowers with a heady perfume, accompanied 
by beautifully decorated skulls, used for the worship of ancestors. 
During our travels, their fascinating presence has opened my mind, which is sometimes 
overly rational, to the rules of a captivating traditional game: “The game of skulls”.
A surprising mix of bluff and strategy in which it is said that: “whoever disturbs the rest 
of the ancestors by revealing their skulls will immediately lose one of their lives...”
Impelled by a mysterious force, I've immediately represented these skulls and flowers 
on a series of cardboard cards, then transcribed the rules.
We've practiced the game quite a lot and have discovered with delight all of the subtleties 
which were required to become the winner.”
From the port, the use of this game spread like wildfire among all the adventurers on
the West Coast. A few years ago, the game was rediscovered by some biker gangs and
renamed "Skull and Rose*"…
As homage to the author's adventurous ancestor, here's a new edition, inspired by the
strange beauty of the original game…
* For the experts: the rules are identical to Skull & Roses.
Happy reading to new players…
6 tribes are represented in the
Each of them owns a collection of sacred objects composed of :
l 3 flower-discs
l 1 skull-disc
l 1 card-playing mat assorted
to each tribe.
Each player chooses the 4 discs and the play
mat of a given tribe.
Each player places their mat in front of them,
Skull-side visible.
The player takes their discs into their hand
so that their faces remain hidden to the other
A first player is chosen.
Succeed at two challenges.
To succeed at a challenge, you must flip
the corresponding number of discs without revealing a Skull.
The 4 discs with which you play will also
be the 4 “lives” you have available to try
and win.
If they so want, the first player can add an extra disc, on top of the one which has already
been played.
The player to their left can then do the same,
and so on, proceeding clockwise. This can
continue around the table multiple times.
If a player cannot or does not want to
play an additional disc, the player issues a
challenge. They then announce the number
of discs they intend to reveal from among all
those played on mats.
Then, proceeding clockwise, each player
increase the Bid on the previous challenge
by announcing a greater number.
Or pass by calling “I pass” and sliding their
mat towards the center of the table.
In that case, the player will no longer be
able to take part in that bid.
Play proceeds that way until all players pass,
save one: the player who bid the highest,
called the Challenger.
A challenge concerns all discs played on all
mats, including those of players who have
Play then proceeds to step 3.
Step 1 - Turn preparation
Each player chooses one of their discs, and
places it face-down on their mat.
Once each player has placed their disc, play
moves on to step 2.
Object of the game
Step 2 - ADDING extra discs or CHALLENGE
The first players play their first disc after
the other players: this way they can analyze the behavior of their opponents.
Players add, face-down,
only one disc at a time.
The discs are placed
slightly offset to clearly
show how many have
been played.
Instead of adding a disc, the first player
can immediately issue a challenge.
On their turn, if a player no longer has any
discs in hand, that player must issue a
A player may not issue a challenge of zero
discs, or a challenge higher than the total
number of discs placed by the players.
Bidding or overbidding of more than one
disc is allowed.
It's even possible to directly bid the maximum number of discs present on the mats.
Step 3 - The attempt
The Challenger must flip a number of discs
equal to their challenge while respecting the
following rules :
l The player begins by flipping all of THEiR
own discs.
l They continue to flip discs with those of the
other players, and in the order they choose.
Be Careful :
The discs are flipped one by one.
l The first disc to be flipped is the top one on a
mat, before eventually flipping, in order, the
remaining discs.
l A player doesn't have to flip over all of an
opponent's discs.
If the challenge is equal to total number of
discs played, flip all the discs one by one and
stop when the first Skull is flipped.
oNE SKULL flipped:
the Challenger has failed.
No SKULLS flipped:
the Challenger has SUCCEEDED.
If the Challenger has played more discs
than the amount of the challenge, they'll
flip from the top of their stack the number
of discs necessary for the completion of
their attempt.
Failed attempt
They immediately stop their attempt, and:
l All players return all their discs to their hand.
l The Challenger loses a disc for good:
- they shuffle and place face-down on the
table all of their remaining discs. The
player whose Skull the Challenger flipped
chooses the disc to eliminate. That disc
is removed from the game without being
revealed. Only the Challenger will know if
they've lost their Skull or a flower-disc.
- if the Challenger has flipped their own
Skull, that player is the one who secretly
chooses the disc they will lose.
If the Challenger loses their last disc, that
player is eliminated and returns their mat.
if the Challenger is eliminated, the first
player of the following turn will be the
player whose Skull the Challenger has
flipped. if the Challenger has flipped their
own Skull, the Challenger chooses the first
player of the following turn.
If they reveal a Skull, the Challenger may not
flip their remaining discs in order to reveal
the strategy of their opponents. An opponent can, however, if they wish to do so, flip
their own discs in order to see the eventual
downtrodden look on the Challenger's face!
Successful attempt
Designs of the mats on skulls sides:
The Challenger has thus flipped over the
number of discs announced by revealing only
They've won their challenge and should flip
their mat flower-side up.
if their mat was already flower-side up,
they've won the game.
Designs of the mats on flowers sides:
New round
Whether they've succeeded or failed, the
Challenger is the first player of the following round, which resumes on step 1.
Special case:
A player has lost 3 of their 4 discs, they
thus only have one disc left.
They've placed that disc in the turn preparation step, it's now their turn to play.
Depending on the step:
l Adding discs: they must call a challenge.
l Bidding: they can pass or increase their
l Challenge: if their disc is revealed and is
a Skull, that player is eliminated from
the game.
As soon as a player
wins a second challenge,
As soon as they wind up to be
the only player who isn't eliminated,
that player WiNS THE GAME.
The first player of a round is always
the challenger of the previous
round, unless they've been eliminated from the game in the attempt.
(See page 12).
GAME EXAMPLE - for 4 players, which can be
Each player has played one face-down
disc on their mat.
Adding discs:
The 1st player plays a second disc,
as do the 2nd and 3rd players.
l Challenge:
The 4th player doesn't add a disc, but instead issues a challenge, and announces
“3”. Meaning the player intends to flip over
3 discs.
The challenge was set at “3”,
The following player increases the bid,
and says “5”.
The following 2 players pass.
The player who had issued the challenge
at “3” also passes.
The player who said “5” remains the highest bidder.
That player becomes the Challenger and
must attempt to complete their challenge.
amended for a different number of players.
3 - The attempt
Discs 1 and 2: The Challenger first flips
all of their discs: 2 flower-discs. They can
Then, they flip, one by one (in the order
of their choice), the discs of the other
l Disc 3: the top disc on this mat is a
flower-disc, everything is fine!
l Disc 4: this player's only disc is flipped,
it's a flower-disc, perfect!
l Disc 5: the top disc on this mat is a flowerdisc! Excellent!
The Challenger hasn't flipped a Skull, and
thus wins their challenge.
4 - New round
Everybody picks their discs back up.
The Challenger flips their mat to its Flower side.
They become the first player for the next round.
If, on a later turn, they are the first to win a second
challenge, they win the game.
Game tips
It's very advantageous to be the first player.
It's worth taking risks to have that place, even
if you may lose a disc. Don't hesitate to bluff
by starting a challenge or upping the ante
despite having played a Skull, it's the best
way to lull the future Challenger into a false
sense of safety so that they'll lose by flipping
over your Skull.
Be careful, at the end of the game, when the
players have few discs left, there are some
winning strategies!
Discover them and you'll have a considerable
advantage in the middle of the game.
To destabilize your opponents, comment your
actions and that of other players, especially those of the Challenger. For example, by
saying “There, I'm warning you, I'm playing a
Skull!”, or “Nooo – don't flip one of his discs,
he played a skull!”
To win, you must beat your opponents from a
psychological standpoint.
We advise that new players avoid 3-player games – playing with that number of players is
highly tactical and is very unforgiving.
A variant for experienced players:
You can combine 2 boxes of Skull to play
with more than 6 players, but the best games
remain under 10 players.
A variant: 2 Tribes per Player
At the beginning of the game, each player
chooses 2 tribes. As in the basic game, as
soon as a player wins a second time with
only one of their tribes, that player iS THE
To set up the game, the two tribes of a given
player will be placed facing one another on
both sides of the game table.
Welcome on:
Skull is a game by Hervé Marly, with artwork by Thomas Vuarchex.
Game line directed by Philippe des Pallières, layout by Caroline Ottavis.
Translated by Eric Harlaux, revision by Eric Franklin.
A heartfelt thanks to our worthy and NUMEROUS testers and a special thanks to Bruno Faidutti.
Skull © 2013 / éditions « lui-même ».
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