FTW Staff Picks - Cockroach Poker

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 

Cockroach Poker

Designer: Jacques Zeimet

Genre: Bluffing Card Game

Player Size: 2 to 6 Players

Game Length: 20 minutes

For fans of: Skull, Resistance, Liar's Dice

The only thing worse than losing, is losing alone. In most games, when one claims victory he leaves the rest in their own pool of shame and defeat. In Cockroach Poker, as your friend's celebrate their victory, you could be the sole, salty failure among a table of kings. Cockroach Poker takes bluffing games to their most intimate. A one-on-one confrontation, where ultimately someone will be caught with the proverbial egg-on-the-face - or in this instance more likely cockroach, or rat, or spider, or scorpion.


The game is simple, there are 8 different cards in the game, 8 of each type. The current player selects a card from their hand hand, places it facedown on the table and pass it to a player, telling them what the card is. The receiver of the card must then decide whether the giver is telling them the truth, or they may peak at the card and then pass it to another player (who has yet to see the card), inheriting the responsibilities now of the new giver. If a player guesses incorrectly, the card is placed face-up in front of them as a badge of shame. If they guess correctly, the card is returned to giver as their own badge. The first to 4-of-a-kind of any type of card in the game is declared the ultimate loser.


There is of course more to the game than the intense duel of wits. Seeing the cards on the table, as well as those in your hand can provide much needed information to make proper educated guesses. But sometimes when your friend is staring you in the face, telling you to your face that the card he just gave you is a spider and you're currently sitting their with 3 spiders in front of you, you just want to slap the card away and yell emphatically, "YOU LIE!" And of course, you would be wrong and lose the game (and more importantly a large chunk of your pride). But that's the joy of Cockroach Poker. It mixes emotion, deduction and mind-games into such an unassuming package that you'll keep telling yourself "Just one more game..."  

Earl OliverosComment