Cockroach Poker English Edition
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Cockroach Poker English Edition

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What is Cockroach Poker, and does it even have anything to do with traditional Poker? Well no, not really. Aside from the fact that Cockroach Poker is a game of extreme bluffing – like poker – it couldn’t be more different. The cards used in the game are not queens, 10s or aces, but instead they are stunk bugs, cockroaches (of course) and rats. A lot more classy if…
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What is Cockroach Poker, and does it even have anything to do with traditional Poker?

Well no, not really. Aside from the fact that Cockroach Poker is a game of extreme bluffing – like poker – it couldn’t be more different. The cards used in the game are not queens, 10s or aces, but instead they are stunk bugs, cockroaches (of course) and rats. A lot more classy if you ask me.

What is the entire point of the game?

What you really want to happen in your game is for another player to collect 4 of one type of critter. So really you don’t want your opponent to get one of each critter, you want them to straight-up get 4 rats in a row! I mean, if you have different tactics that’s fine too. 

Inside the deck you have a set of 64 cards. There are 8 copies of each critter inside the deck and set up is simply shuffling the cards and dealing them equally out to the players. 

What happens on my turn?

When it is your turn to play, you will take one card from your hand of cards, and lay it face down on the table. You will then slide your card over to a player of your choice – who do you want to sabotage? You will declare the type of critter which you have sent their way by saying it out loud and before the other player turns the card over, and they then have the choice to decide whether they think what your is saying is true or false. They will accept the card and turn it over. If they were incorrect in their decision, they will have to keep their card in front of her facing upwards. If they were correct, you being the player who gave it to them, will have to have it face up in front of you yourself. The other choice they are given is to take a peek of the card placed before them. They can then pass it on to another player and state the original critter or a different type. The new player can then decide if they want to accept the card or pass it on. This can go on until the card has already been seen by all other players, in which case the final player must accept the card.

The game ends when a player has no cards to pass on his turn or when a player has four cards of the same critter on the table in front of him. In either case, this player loses and everyone else wins. 

Awards

Fun for Kids

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Very easy to learn.
  • Fun competitive dynamic.
  • Playable amongst any group.

Might Not Like

  • Lack of strategic depth.
  • Potential sense of lack of conclusion.
  • Can be very competitive.
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Description

What is Cockroach Poker, and does it even have anything to do with traditional Poker?

Well no, not really. Aside from the fact that Cockroach Poker is a game of extreme bluffing - like poker - it couldn't be more different. The cards used in the game are not queens, 10s or aces, but instead they are stunk bugs, cockroaches (of course) and rats. A lot more classy if you ask me.

What is the entire point of the game?

What you really want to happen in your game is for another player to collect 4 of one type of critter. So really you don't want your opponent to get one of each critter, you want them to straight-up get 4 rats in a row! I mean, if you have different tactics that's fine too. 

Inside the deck you have a set of 64 cards. There are 8 copies of each critter inside the deck and set up is simply shuffling the cards and dealing them equally out to the players. 

What happens on my turn?

When it is your turn to play, you will take one card from your hand of cards, and lay it face down on the table. You will then slide your card over to a player of your choice - who do you want to sabotage? You will declare the type of critter which you have sent their way by saying it out loud and before the other player turns the card over, and they then have the choice to decide whether they think what your is saying is true or false. They will accept the card and turn it over. If they were incorrect in their decision, they will have to keep their card in front of her facing upwards. If they were correct, you being the player who gave it to them, will have to have it face up in front of you yourself. The other choice they are given is to take a peek of the card placed before them. They can then pass it on to another player and state the original critter or a different type. The new player can then decide if they want to accept the card or pass it on. This can go on until the card has already been seen by all other players, in which case the final player must accept the card.

The game ends when a player has no cards to pass on his turn or when a player has four cards of the same critter on the table in front of him. In either case, this player loses and everyone else wins. 

Cockroach Poker Game Review

Cockroach Poker is a game that is incredibly simple, but it comes with satisfying depth.

Playing the Game

All 64 cards are dealt out to the players and the aim is to bluff your opponents into wrongly ‘guessing’ whether the card you have placed in front of them is what you say it is. If they guess correctly, the card goes face-up in front of you.

There are eight different species, and you want to end up with no more than three of any one species face-up in front of you. If you get a fourth, you lose. And if you run out of cards to play, you lose. Instead of guessing, you can pick up the card look at it and then place it in front of another player, either stating that the card is the same little creature or maybe one of the other seven, bringing additional information or misinformation into the mix.

The depth of the game comes from using the knowledge that you have of the cards in your hand and those that have been placed in front of yourself and others to help you to try and devise whether your opponent is likely to be lying or telling the truth.

Further to this is the ability to use your opponent’s face-up cards against them. If they already have three spiders, and you place a card in front of them and tell them it is a spider, they may be far more likely to say true, as the risk is so much greater for them. This can allow you to offload cards which may present a problem for you.

Meanwhile, the other players are using the same knowledge against you. As a result, you can end up having to place cards which will result in defeat. So, who do you put them in front of and what do you say?

In Cockroach Poker there is only a loser, which may create a sense of a lack of conclusion for some. However, for me this is part of the game’s charm. It results in targeting certain people in an attempt to avoid personal disaster and can bring out the right kind of competition and a sense of in game personal battles.

Final Thoughts on Cockroach Poker

The great joy of Cockroach Poker is learning just how bad you and others can be at bluffing. Another joy is watching people who have thought and overthought their tactics become increasingly desperate. Watching as their opponents continue to either guess correctly or shrewdly discern whether they are lying or not, through their body language, false bravado or shifty eyes.

More than anything Cockroach Poker is just very funny. Watching people being called out by friends, partners or children is funny. This results in a lot of laughter and gentle mockery. Some may want more from the game, as it is , on one level, just a guessing game where you get lucky or not. However, to me there are so many levels that make it so much more.

One minor issue is that whilst there is a lot of interaction, it can be between select people. As a result, you may be left with nothing to do for some turns. However, this is only in larger games Of course, this is offset by watching the drama unfold.

Whilst the components are very simple, just 64 cards made up of eight sets of eight, each card is individual and the artwork (by Rolf Vogt) is charming with a cartoon like quality meaning that I did not feel short changed by the purchase of this deck.

Games can be very quick, lasting 10 to 20 minutes, and can be played in almost any group. It’s a game you can play last after a few drinks. Whilst it’s also a game to play with children just before bed. The level of complexity is up to the players involved and I have always found it a popular choice.

Editors note: This blog was originally published on Juen 17th, 2019. Updated on May 8th, 2024 to improve the information available.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Very easy to learn.
  • Fun competitive dynamic.
  • Playable amongst any group.

Might not like

  • Lack of strategic depth.
  • Potential sense of lack of conclusion.
  • Can be very competitive.