Streetplay.com   Home Contact us E-mail this page  ShareThis
Streetplay Skully Central
The definitive rules for the bottlecap game
The Games Events Photos Stories Features Fun & Prizes Discussion Links Store About Us

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)

Get Acrobat Reader



Wow, these are a lot of rules!
Official Skully Rules v0.02, 06/12/1999
Written for Streetplay.com by Hugh M. McNally
Copyright 1999 Streetplay.com
All Rights Reserved

The copying and distribution of this document is encouraged, as long as it remains intact and authorship is specified, as you see above.

Please direct all comments to me via e-mail at hmcnally@streetplay.com. Include "Skully rules" in the subject of your e-mail. I welcome all comments, especially any errors or variations to the game you may have experienced while playing it.

(all examples contained herein refer to the game board as shown in Figure 1).

1. Game definition, playing board, equipment
2. Skully terminology
3. Game play


1 Game definition, playing board, equipment.


1.0 Skully is a game played between/among 2 or more players using one board and mutually agreed upon rules. Skully is usually at its best when about 3-6 people play. Rules for playing Skully using teams can be adapted from the rules described here.
1.1 The rules described here are a guideline; common variations to the rules will be described whenever possible. These rules describe the game as played by individuals and may be customized based on taste or local convention.
1.2 Skully is played on a skully board (typically drawn on a street) using skully caps (typically bottle caps).
1.3 Skully is frequently known as "skelly," "skelsies," "skellio," "skullio," or similar sounding terms. "Skully" is used here because of the belief that the name is derived from the center box, called "the skull" (an area where the player is "dead" until hit out of it by another player). Some terms of skully are loosely associated with death and skeletons ("the skull" and "killer" notably). Although nothing about skully is remotely Satanic, some Bedford County, NY residents may think otherwise. Nonetheless, skully is a wholesome family game.
1.4 The objective of the game is for a player to shoot a skully cap sequentially from the Start line to "1", "2", etc., all the way to "13", then reversing this process, returning to "1", then shooting back into the "13", shooting into each of the 4 trapezoids surrounding it, reciting the words "Iím a killer diller" (one after the other, one word for each box), taking/shooting his/her cap "out of town," and returning to the board as a killer, eliminating opponents by hitting their caps. The last player remaining wins.
1.5 Players take turns shooting their caps in an order agreed upon before playing; a player make take consecutive shots when s/he successfully shoots his/her cap into the box they are aiming for, or obtain a box by other means as described in these rules.
1.6 The skully board:

Typical skully board
Click for bigger picture
Figure 1: The skully board

1.6.0 A skully board is typically drawn on a street, or an asphalt surface, or any acceptable smooth surface upon which caps can glide. The board should be as smooth, flat, and unobstructed as possible.
1.6.1 A skully board can be drawn with chalk, and redrawn as necessary, even during game play, if a line becomes erased for any reason. If possible, a board can and should be painted.
1.6.2 The lines of a board should be as slim as possible, typically Ĺ inch thick, and be drawn in a good contrasting color to the board surface itself.
1.6.3 The "Start" line is about 1 foot away from the "1" box.
1.6.4 "Out of town" is anyplace at least a full board-width size away from any edge of the board. This distance may be agreed upon before game play.
1.6.5 Boxes are square, as is the board.
1.6.6 The size of all boxes other than "13" should be uniform. This size can vary from board to board. A size of about a square foot is typical.
1.6.7 Proportions of the board may also differ from Figure 1, but the distance between "1" and "2" should not exceed the average playerís ability to shoot a cap that distance. In general, the distance between boxes should make the game challenging enough so that going from one box to another (in sequence) is not uncommon, but also not commonplace. A skilled player should be able to achieve this feat about once or twice per game.
1.6.8 Boxes "1", "2", "3" and "4" are always the corner boxes, will be referred to as such.
1.6.9 Boxes "5/7", "6/8", "9/11", and "10/12" are always next to each other paired in the manner shown in Diagram 1. They will be referred to as the "box pairs."
1.6.10 The "13" box is in the middle. It is typically smaller than the other game boxes. The trapezoidal regions surrounding it are collectively known as "the skull." The numbers in these boxes are used to determine bonuses in game play, and should not be confused with the other numbered game boxes.
1.6.11 Boxes are often referred to in the plural or with the suffix "-sies." For example, "Iím going for sixes forwards," or "I just missed foursies."
1.6.12 Boxes "1" and "2" are always at opposite corners (spanning the longest distance in the board). This holds true for "3" and "4" as well.
1.6.13 Box "5" is in the box pair most distant from "4", and is the more distant box from "4" of the "5/7" pair. Due to the geometry of the skully board, this description implies that "5" can be placed in 1 of 2 places on the board. For example, in Diagram 1, "5" could be placed where "9" is. This would require a re-orientation of all the box pairs.
1.6.14 Concerning box pairs, the "5" box is always at a slight angle from the "6" box across the board from it. This holds true for all numbers in the box pairs that are across the board from each other. The original intention of this orientation was probably to increase the chance that shots could land in the skull; however, the advent of the use of "linesies" (q.v.) makes the numbering of boxes more traditional than functional.
1.6.15 Box pairs "6/8" and "9/11" are at a short distance and separated by a 45 degree angle. The "9/11" box pair should be drawn so that "9" is further away from "8" than "11" is. This orientation makes the shot from "9 backwards" to "8 backwards" the second-shortest shot in skully if "linesies" are used.

1.7 The skully cap
1.7.0 A skully cap is a round object that can be flicked with a finger from box to box on a skully board.
1.7.1 The original skully cap was probably a beer bottle cap (the metallic kind). Such a cap is the canonically correct skully cap.
1.7.2 A skully cap can be made of any solid substance. It is typically metal (such as the popular "chair glide"), but sometimes plastic (e.g., a prescription vial lid) or glass (a beer bottle neck).
1.7.3 A cap may be filled with a solid or semisolid to increase its weight. Typical cap fillers are candle wax, melted crayons, or asphalt. A cap filled with lead is legal.
1.7.4 Caps should not be magnetic.
1.7.5 Although the extreme dimensions of a cap that may be used in a game can be agreed upon by the players, a cap is usually no smaller than 0.5 inches in diameter, and no larger than 2 inches in diameter. Caps exceeding these limits, such as mayonnaise lids or small hex nuts, are a mockery to the game.
1.7.6 A cap should not be so flat as its sole reason for being used is to make it unhittable by other caps. The flattest permissible cap is the aforementioned prescription vial lid. In general, if you canít shoot it, you shouldnít play with it.
2 Skully terminology (listed alphabetically)

Baby stuff This is a collective term used to describe game options that are commonly seen to detract from the game of skully, such as rollsies, spinsies, holdsies, and switchsies. The exact collection of game options can vary wildly; however, such a predefined collection of options can be useful if when the game is played frequently among the same participants, using the same board and equipment. Baby stuff is often referred to with a more profane term which is not mentioned here.

Backwards When a player has reached the "13" box, s/he then reverses direction and shoots for boxes in reverse sequence. For example, if a player is in the "9" box and is going for "8", that person is said to be "going for 8 backwards".

Blasting When one cap is shot at another with the intent of hitting it a large distance (typically further than the width of the board), this is known as blasting. This technique is used mainly to slow another playerís progression through the board. Blasting refers to the gratuitous nature of the hit, and is typified by the extreme proximity of the hitterís cap to the victimís, and the extreme distance that the victimís cap travels.

Blastsies (f.k.a. Blasties) This is a game option that allows blasting to be used in a game. If "no blastsies" is agreed on, then a hit judged by game players to have been a deliberate and gratuitous blast can be judged to be a do-over. Any hit that results blasting victimís cap remaining on the skully board is exempt from the "no blastsies" game option (if chosen).

Dead When a killer A eliminates player B from the game, player B is considered dead and out of the game (player B removes his/her cap from the playing board). If a player (a non-killer) lands in the skull, that player is dead, i.e., loses his/her turn, but the cap remains on the board until s/he is removed from the skull by being hit by another player.

Do-over Upon mutual agreement of players, a do-over may be called on a particular shot. Do-overs should be fairly rare in skully, and are typically called due to a transgression of rules, or someone shooting out-of-turn.

Forwards When a player has yet to reach the "13" box, s/he is shooting for boxes in ascending numerical sequence. For example, if a player is in the "4" box and is going for "5", that person is said to be "going for 5 forwards".

Game option A term developed for these rules, this describes various rules and practices that are mutually agreed upon before game play (such as rollsies).

Hit a killer, be a killer This game option describes the bonus for a non-killer hitting a killer during game play.

Hit a killer and youíre dead This game option describes the penalty for a non-killer hitting a killer during game play.

Hit This describes the contact of one cap with another. Hitting a cap determines much of the bonuses in the game of skully, most typically the "advance a box" bonus. Physical contact must be involved with the caps in question; if a cap flies over another cap, there is no hit and thus no bonus. Hits do not need to be called, and all hits, even unintentional ones, are judged by the rules of the game.

Holdsies This game option describes the practice of holding oneís cap firmly against the board with a finger to prevent being blasted. Holdsies is often categorized as baby stuff. This game option is often a point of contention before game play.

Killer When a player has completed the board and goes out of town, s/he is a killer. A killer eliminates other players from the game by hitting them.

Linesies This game option allows a player to use whatever connected line of a box, box pair, or the skull, when s/he has gotten into the box they are in. For example, if a player just achieved "sixies," s/he could move to the lines describing the "8" box to ease hitting another playerís cap. This game option is used universally. Using linesies makes the shot from "13" to "12" the shortest one in the game of skully.

Marksies This describes the game option of marking where a capís position on the board so it can be removed temporarily when play is suspended (such as when an automobile drives by). Marksies cannot be used to gain an advantage in the game situation; it is invoked to prevent damage to caps.

Out of Town This describes the distance a player removes him/herself from the skully board when s/he becomes a killer. This is typically further than the furthest distance a practiced skully player can shoot a cap. The exact distance is a game option.

Pipsies If a player shoots into a box from his/her current box in one shot, this is called pipsies. A two box bonus is rewarded for pipsies (although the exact bonus may be a game option). Pipsies is not awarded for shots from the start line to the "1" box, nor from "1 backwards" to "13" (i.e., the process of becoming a killer). Origin of this term is unknown.

Pop-shot Another term for pipsies. Origin unknown, perhaps phonetically imitative of pipsies.

Rollsies This game option allows any player to use their hands to manually strike a cap should it begin to roll on its side. This usually happens when a light cap hits an obstruction on the board, such as a pebble. The cap can then be hit as far as desired away or toward the board, until it stops rolling. Rollsies can be used in a cruel manner to a player whose cap is prone to rolling. It is often used in combination with spinsies (q.v.)

Spinsies This game option allows any player to use their hands to manually strike a cap should it begin to spin on its side. This usually happens when a light cap hits an obstruction on the board, such as a pebble. The cap can then be hit as far as desired away or toward the board, until it stops spinning. Spinsies can be used in a cruel manner to a player whose cap is prone to spinning. It is often used in combination with rollsies (q.v.)

N.B.: The spinning referred to by spinsies must be on the capís side, and is not used to describe the normal rotational spin that any cap makes when it is flicked off a playerís finger. A cap must be spinning on its edge, not on its center, for spinsies to apply.

Switchsies (f.k.a. switchies) This describes the odious game option of unlimited cap-switching during a game to suit the game situation. For example, if a player switches to an extremely heavy cap for purposes of blasting, this is switchsies. The same can be said for switching to an extremely small or flat cap to avoid being hit. A modified version of switchsies may be allowed where a player is permitted to switch caps only when his/her turn begins, and leave that same cap on the board until the playerís next turn begins. Switching caps is allowed at any time if a playerís cap becomes damaged due to game play (a glass cap is broken by a metal one), or if it becomes unplayable because it was run over by a car.

Skull The area in the middle of the skully board surrounding the "13" box. Technically, "13" is not in part of the skull, especially in regards to getting "stuck in the skull," a situation when a playerís cap is shot (or hit) into any of the four trapezoidal regions surrounding "13". When a player is within the skull, s/he loses his/her turn until they are hit out of that region. If a playerís cap lands in "13", even if they arenít going for "13", that player is not stuck in the skull.

3 Game play

3.0 The caps of all players are in play, no matter where they are, on the board or not.
3.1 Players agree on an order of play before starting, and a player going out-of-turn loses his/her next turn.
3.2 Advancing through the game
3.2.0 Global provisions
3.2.0.0 A playerís turn starts when the turn of the player preceding him/her ends. The player first hits his/her cap with his/her finger. A player is allowed to touch his/her cap when striking it (before actually flicking his/her finger), but anything other than an extremely slight, near immeasurable, movement due to this touching will be judged to be "a shot" and the playerís turn will end. This includes false starts, or full finger "flicks" that simply cause the cap to move slightly out of proportion of the effort exerted.
3.2.0.0.1 A player may not kick a cap, or move it in any other way than by hand.
3.2.0.1 A playerís turn is continued by obtaining their objective, typically a target box, either by bonus or shooting accurately into the box.
3.2.0.2 A playerís turn ends when s/he fails to meet his/her objective, either by bonus or by accurate shooting of the skully cap into a box.
3.2.0.3 When a playerís turn ends, s/he may not touch his/her cap until the next turn (exceptions being holdsies, marksies, or the dreaded switchsies, q.v.).
3.2.0.4 A cap must be entirely within a box to be judged "in" the box (not on the line).
3.2.0.5 If it is a playerís turn and a playerís cap is judged to be within the box they are going for (either by shooting, being hit by another cap, or obtained by bonus), that player can move his/her cap anywhere within the box, including the lines of the box itself. If the game option "linesies" is being used and a playerís cap is in a box pair, or is in "13", that player can move his/her cap anywhere along the connected lines of that box and/or the skull.
3.2.0.5.1 Such movement within a box only pertains to that time when the cap is in the box a player is going for. E.g.: Player A is going for 3-forwards, and shoots her cap from "2" toward "3". The shot falls short and lands in the "7" box. Assuming Player Aís cap is not moved until her next turn begins, she cannot move her cap to the edge of "5" to obtain advantage on her next turn.
3.2.0.6 A cap which lands completely in the skull is judged to be dead and that player remains there until struck out of the skull by another playerís cap. This is known as being "stuck in the skull."
3.2.0.7 A player is judged to have obtained the box they are shooting for by doing any one of the following:
3.2.0.7.1 Actually shooting his/her cap into the box ("on the line" does not count)
3.2.0.7.2 Hitting another non-killerís cap, gaining a one (or more) box bonus
3.2.0.7.3 Having his/her cap hit into the box they are going for by another player

Game example: Player A is going for "5 forwards" and his cap is sitting in "7". Player B shoots from "2" to "3 forwards", and hits Player Aís cap into "5" (Player Bís cap lands outside of any box).. Player B is awarded the "4" box due to the hit (a 2-box bonus for hitting Player A into the his box), and Player A is now considered to be "going for 6 forwards". At this point, Player A still cannot touch his cap and move it within the box, because it is not his turn. Player C, who is also going for "3 forwards", also hits Player A, knocking his cap out of the "5" box. Player C is awarded "3" (the standard 1 box bonus), and Player A is still going for 6 forwards.

3.2.1 From "Start" to "2"
3.2.1.0 Play starts at the start line. Players initially shoot for the "1" box from anywhere behind the Start line.
3.2.1.1 Players are prohibited from hitting other players to obtain the standard 1-box bonus until they have reached "2 forwards" by actually shooting their caps with the confines of that box, or by having their cap hit into the box they are going for by another player.
3.2.1.2 If a player accidentally hits another before reaching "2 forwards", that player forfeits his/her turn and must start over. The victim of such a hit has the choice of leaving their cap where it is after the hit (if the hit was advantageous to the victim), or returning it to its original place. The reason for this is to deter blasting at the beginning of the game.
3.2.2 From "2 forwards" to "Going for killer"
3.2.2.0 Players can obtain the box they are shooting for by actually shooting into the box, through use of bonuses (typically, hitting another playerís cap), or by being hit into the box by another player.
3.2.2.1 When a player obtains a box, s/he is immediately awarded another shot. For example, Player A, who has just shot into 2 forwards, hits Player Bís cap which is nearby the "2" box. Player A picks up her cap, places it anywhere in the "3" box, and shoots again, going for 4 forwards.
3.2.3 Going for killer
3.2.3.0 A player goes for killer after having reached "1 backwards".
3.2.3.1 The player going for killer shoots for the 13 box again to start the killer-making process. This can be obtained by actually shooting the cap in to the "13" box, or by hitting another playerís cap (i.e., normal game rules apply).
3.2.3.2 Once the player has reached the 13 box, s/he hits it around the 4 trapezoids composing the skull, proclaiming the words "Iím a killer diller" (one word for each box). Although it is highly unlikely that a player misses a shot at this point (not unlike an intentional walk in baseball), the shots must be made, and all hitting bonuses are disallowed (as they are at the beginning of the game). If the player fails to make the four shots, s/he must "go for killer" again from scratch.
3.2.3.3 A player going for killer is still subject to getting stuck in the skull while obtaining the "13" box..
3.2.4 Killer
3.2.4.0 Once a player has "made killer" as just described, s/he goes "out of town" and stays there until his/her next turn.
3.2.4.1 A killer eliminates other non-killers from the game by hitting them 3 times consecutively. If a killer misses the victim on the second or third shot, the killerís turn is over.
3.2.4.2 A killer eliminates another killer with a single hit.
3.2.4.3 The skully board doesnít exist for a killer; a killerís sole purpose is to eliminate all other players.
Alternate rule: A killer owns the entire skully board, and can shoot into a box or the skull and move within it to obtain advantage. Additionally, this continues a killerís turn.
3.3 Game bonuses
3.3.0 All game bonuses continue a playerís turn.
3.3.1 Hitting other playerís caps
3.3.1.0 If a player hits another playerís cap, that player is awarded a single-box bonus. For example, if Player A is going for 5-forwards and hits Player B (a non-killer), Player A picks up his/her cap, places it in the "5" box, and is then going for "6".
3.3.1.1 If a player hits another playerís cap into the box that the victim is going for, that player is awarded a 2-box bonus. For example, if Player A is going for 4-forwards and hits Player Bís cap into "7" (which happens to be the box that Player B is going for), Player A immediately goes to "5".
3.3.1.2 If a player hits another playerís cap out of the skull (which includes the lines of the skull itself), the hitter is rewarded the number of boxes as dictated by the number within the trapezoidal area the victim was in. Additionally, the "victim" of the hit is returned to game play, which is actually desirable for the victim.
3.3.1.3 If a player hits another playerís cap from one box of the skull to another, the hitter is rewarded the number of boxes as dictated by the number within the trapezoidal area the victim was in, and the "victim" remains stuck in the skull.
3.3.1.4 Hitting bonuses are additive, and the order in which many caps are hit is immaterial. If Player A hits Player Bís cap, which causes Player Cís cap to be hit, Player A gets a 2-box bonus. Player B gets no bonus.
3.3.1.5 A player who hits a killer either becomes a killer immediately (and goes immediately out of town), or is removed from the game, depending on what option the players have agreed to at the beginning of the game.
3.3.2 Pipsies: If a player shoots into a box from his/her current box in one shot, this is called pipsies. A two box bonus is rewarded for pipsies (although the exact bonus may be a game option). Pipsies is not awarded for shots from the start line to the "1" box, nor from "1 backwards" to "13" (i.e., the process of becoming a killer). The award is added to the box just obtained. For example, if a player makes it from 11 to 12 forward in one shot, that player would immediately be awarded 2 extra boxes., which would put him/her back in the 12 box, going for 11-backwards. Due to the nature of box pairs, pipsies often has a player simply go into the box thatís right next to the box just obtained (e.g., getting pipsies by going from "5" to "6" puts the player immediately in "8" going for "9".
3.3.3 Game bonuses, if occurring simultaneously, are additive.

Game example: Players A, B, and C are all going for 4-forwards. Player A has just obtained the "3" box and shoots toward "4". Player B has his cap sitting on the innermost corner of the "4" box on the line. Player Cís cap is also on the line of the "4" box, on the outside edge of the skully board. Player A makes an amazing shot: she hits Player Bís cap into the "4" box, where it just manages to tap Player Cís cap. Player Bís cap remains in "4", and Player Aís cap is also in the box when it comes to rest. Player A would immediately pick up her cap and move to "9". She gets 2 boxes for pipsies (putting her in "6"), two more boxes for hitting Player B into "4" (putting her in "8") and an additional box for hitting Player C with Player Bís cap. This would be an amazing shot.

Return to Skully Central


Streetplay home | What's new? | About us | Contact us | Streetplay blog | SPWiki: The Streetplay Wiki
The Games | Photos | Stories & Features | Fun & Prizes | Discussion | Links | Store
Major games: Stickball | Handball | Skully | Hopscotch | Game rules / Rulesheets
On the web: Streetplay on Facebook | Streetplay on Twitter | Streetplay on YouTube | Streetplay on Flickr

Copyright ©2017 Streetplay.com. Use, retransmission, or duplication of any portion of this site (unless otherise noted) without the permission of Streetplay.com is prohibited.