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Basic description of the skully board
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Skully Central: Section guide

• Skully Central home
• Skully discussion area

Rules and equipment
• Skully 101 (basics)
• The skully board
• Making skully caps
• Needlessly detailed rules

Skully-related topics
• Skully goes to grad school
• Skully photos
• Other stories

Also available
• Streetplay Rulesheet: Skully
• Needlessly detailed rules (PDF)

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Layout and drawing methods

Our skully board at the 2001 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
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At the 2001 Folklife Festival, we used plywood and electrical tape for a "Bronx-style" board (read more about it).
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 basic rules).
Typical skully board
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Typical skully board arrangement
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!

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