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Subject: How do you choose whether to put down a skull or a rose? rss

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Francis Irving
United Kingdom
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I look at my hand.

I sit there paralysed.

I've no idea which to play.

My mind screams at me "pick randomly, that's the best way of hiding what you do".

But I'm not allowed to, that obviously ruins the game and is socially unacceptable.

Another dark part of my mind says "that's because it is a pointless boring game - the sensible strategy is to play a random card, and then it devolves into an OK game bluffing about bids".

Why would anyone not pick randomly? I don't understand.

How do you choose which card to play?
 
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Derek Thompson
United States
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Why can't you pick randomly? We definitely have the occasional stinker player do it.

Which one you should do depends on how you think the psychological pulse of the current round is. Do you want to screw someone else or do you think it's a turn where you can actually go for a point?
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Susan
United States
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I just try and change it up a lot... you don't want to be the guy who they know they can always pick to have a flower...however, you can't win if you only put up skulls!

So i think you try and weigh how the game is going.

Does a player already have 1 card flipped but is getting low on tiles, so likely to be making a run for it? SKULL!

Or is it still early and people are being conservative? FLOWER (maybe).

If I have doubts, I usually go skull and try and play flowers the most minimally I can.

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Clive Jones

Cambridgeshire, UK
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For me, the most glorious aspect of Skull is it's a pared-down psychological game of bluff. Every time you look at the mechanics of the situation and choose a prudent course of action, the game throws another twist at you.

For example:

isellsunshine wrote:
you can't win if you only put up skulls!

...except by eliminating all the other players. This can happen. (-8
Quote:
Does a player already have 1 card flipped but is getting low on tiles, so likely to be making a run for it? SKULL!

If the player who has 1 point knows you're all going to do this, they play a flower and bid 1. Now someone has to sacrifice in order to prevent them winning.
Quote:
Or is it still early and people are being conservative? FLOWER (maybe).

"maybe"
Quote:
If I have doubts, I usually go skull and try and play flowers the most minimally I can.

Ah, but if you're going to play your skull, which round do you play it on? Obviously, you want it to end up on top of your pile... if only you knew how many times people were going to let things ride before starting the bidding. And having played a skull, you yourself don't want to bid. Except, of course, that you do, because you want to behave like someone who played a flower. Except that's just what they're expecting you to do. My brain hurts.

Oh, and a bit of healthy table banter increases the amusement value enormously compared with playing in silence.
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Francis Irving
United Kingdom
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Thanks for the useful replies!

From a strategy point of view, what's the downside of always picking randomly? 50% chance skull, 50% chance rose?

Obviously then choosing whether to bluff or not based on psychology later (you can bluff when you've played a rose that you played a skull and clearly need to do that as often as the more obvious reverse)

I feel like I'm missing something here!
 
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Clive Jones

Cambridgeshire, UK
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If I know you choose 50-50 whenever you have a choice, I'll wait until everyone's played two cards before bidding. Then I'll bid 2. There's a 75% chance you've got a skull in your pile. Your move. :-p
 
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Ammut S
Canada
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Feel the room.

What are the other players likely to play based on their personalities or past experiences playing with them?

How far away are you from the starting player and are the players starting before you likely to stack or bid?

Do you want to go for a quick win with a bid or conservatively bide your time?

Check who has currently won a bid and how many coasters all players still have. How desperate are they all to bid?



You make it sound like the game consists of a simple random choice - choose between a skull or a rose. If you are playing to the best of your ability you have to take all of the above into consideration when choosing while also making sure you aren't creating a pattern that other players can follow.

When you play other games do you flip a coin to determine what to do?

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