Last thur a DJ saved my life*


*Not actually true

But we did play Skull and Roses.

Skull and Roses is the simplest game outside of alternative kicks until one person passes out.  I’ve never done it but I would love to grab a stack of beer mats and make the game with a pen in a pub and have it played with noobs.  Probably work better if I knew a number of noobs, I went to pubs and I owned a pen but there you go

Since we had a noob last thur and we had over the six player mark two copies of skull and roses fitted the bill. It’s a great warm up game and a great game to introduce non gamers to gaming (not that our new guy was a stranger to gaming).  S+Rs is the very essence of poker.  There’s elements of prisoners dilemma, bluff, beer mats, you name it, it has it all (insofar as those three mentioned just now).  Could you play it for money? yes you could.  Would I? absolutely not.  Gambling and gaming are two very different things.


There’s something special about skull and roses that brings me back to it time and again.  It’s probably the simplest gateway game for people.  I tend to play it in two phases with new players.  Play with only one card in front of you and the first player calls a challenge.  Give people a few rounds of this then introduce the concept of stacking more cards OR calling the challenge.  Play a few more rounds of that then take it away and have people wanting more.  I’ve found this game a great filler at poker nights too, especially if you want to recruit new players.  Watch their little faces and see how they react when you explain about bluffing.

I once hosted a game of Diplomacy at a con in UL many years ago with a buddy of mine and seven complete newbies sat down and as I explained the rules I said  “obviously none of the agreements are binding”… I spotted two good gamers straight off the ones with the slight grins.  I spotted one Really good gamer, the one who didn’t react but completed screwed over everyone else very quietly and succinctly

Selling someone a deal or bluffing is grist for the mill when it comes to gaming.  I think it’s one of the key skills you need to learn in life.  Doubly so if you plan on being and evil overlord and let’s be honest… whom doesn’t dream of that!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: