Layout and drawing methods
A skully board can be drawn on a street, playground, driveway, or even a
basement floor... anyplace with enough room that's smooth. If making
permanent marks is a problem ("painting Mom's kitchen floor" equals
"trouble"), chalk does the job just fine. If you play a lot of skully, a
painted board is better and more convenient. A great compromise we've
used is electrical tape--it's excellent for drawing lines and easy to remove.
Drawing a skully board isn't just fun: it can also affect the game (depending
on how big the boxes are), often giving the "designer" a home-court advantage.
While a typical board is about 7-8' square with boxes about 10-12" square,
these dimensions can vary wildly. Bigger boards favor stronger fingers, while
smaller boxes stress accuracy. You can vary the dimensions based on the space
you have and your skill.
Although the board's size can vary, the basic layout is constant. The
numbered boxes 1, 2, 3 and 4 are the corners, the other boxes (5-12) are
doubled in pairs in the middle of the side areas. 5 and 7 are paired, while 6
and 8 are directly across. 9 and 11 are always opposite 10 and 12, while 13
is always alone in the middle, surrounded by a "dead man's zone" or "skull."
The size of the 13 box in relation to the surronding dead zone varies
significantly, as seen in NYC boroughs. In the Bronx, the 13 tends to be
quite small, while in Queens it's about the size of a normal box. Other
variations include the placement of the start line and distance required when
a player had to go "out of town" (before becoming a "killer"... more in the
The inclusion of numbers within the skull is often neighborhood-dependent.
These numbers signifies the amount of boxes that would be awarded to a player
who "released" another player from the skull. In the Bronx, the numbers range
from 2 to 8, while in many Queens locations, no numbers are placed in the
middle and a player could come out after a specified number of turns. But
that's the fun of the game: you can decide what to put in there and how to
play, just as long as you don't change the rules in the middle of the game!