Skulls of Sedlec

Kutná Hora on 24 June 1420 AD.

It is not even 100 years that the last great plague epidemic rolled over our capital Prague. Fortunately, Kutná Hora was spared, but for the Sedlec gravedigger, the renewed wave meant a lot of work. Bones and skulls were piled up for up to 16 hours, as the capital's central cemeteries could no longer accommodate the masses of dead. How do I know this? - The gravedigger happened to be my grandfather and told me a lot about that time. If he had been present during the first waves of the plague epidemic, he would probably have been lynched like the others. Gravediggers were accused of deliberately spreading the plague at that time.

Last year our good King Wenceslas passed away. Since then, the situation in Bohemia has become more and more acute, and one can now speak of a Hussite war. As with the plague, Kutná Hora has been spared so far, but here the work is becoming more and more and I ask myself more and more often whether it was right to follow in my grandfather's footsteps. Now I have to go. The next load from the capital is just coming into the yard. Because you must know that space is needed in the capital for our brave soldiers.

The cemetery

So let's get to work. Skulls of Sedlec is a game from the Button Shy series, which, as you know, consist of 18 or 24 cards. On the front of the cards there are always two skulls of different or the same personalities (nobles, peasants, priests, lovers, villains). Our task is to arrange the skulls from the cemetery as effectively as possible in a skull pile. At the start of the game, the cemetery is formed face down from the cards. This consists of six piles of three cards each. The skull pile that the players build forms a pyramid and has a certain shape depending on the number of players:

  • Two players: bottom row four, middle row three and top row two cards.
  • Three players: bottom row three, middle row two and top row one card

The game is played alternately in a clockwise direction. Then exactly one of three possible actions may be performed. When digging, the player may turn over two cards in the graveyard and take one of them into his hand. Alternatively, he may pick up a revealed card from the graveyard. The hand card limit is two. The third option is stacking. The player takes a card from his hand and adds it to his pyramid. He must start with the lowest row. To lay the next row, at least two cards in the row below must support the new card. That's it, almost, because the final score depends on how the cards are stacked in the pyramid.

Love beyond death

Once all cards are placed in a skull stack the final count begins. Now it depends on how they were stacked:

  • Nobles: one point for each noble and each pawn that is in a row below the noble
  • Pawns: One point for each pawn
  • Priests: Two points for each row in which a priest is located
  • Lovers: If they lie directly next to each other as a pair there are three points
  • Rogues: Two points if the rogue is adjacent to a priest

For the first rounds, a player help card is included, on which the distribution of points and also the procedure is briefly explained. After the first rounds, the six cards of the executioner expansion can be added without any problems. At the beginning of the game, the graveyard consists of six stacks again, but with four cards each. The pyramids are built according to the same pattern - so there are cards left over at the end. An executioner receives one point at the end plus points for rogues in an adjacent rogue group (one point per rogue in the group).

The treasure chest of the country

Kutná Hora today bears the nickname Treasure Chest of the country. A small part of the treasure may be discovered with the Skulls of Sedlec. The game has an exciting if not quite simple theme. After a short study of the rules, it is all the easier to play. But you need a bit of luck and the right tactics to become the best Bone collector. A special feature is that you actually know your opponent's hand cards the whole game - you just have to remember them. This gives the game even more depth and so that it does not get boring so quickly, the executioner expansion with six cards is included. Nevertheless, the game does not fill a game night, but it does not want to. It is perfectly suitable for a small nightcap or as an opening round and of course for on the road. It's always amazing how much game you can fit into 18 or 24 cards. For me, one of the best titles in the Button Shy series.

Players: 2-3 | Age: 8+ | Playing Time: 20 Minuten | Published: 2020
Designer: Dustin Dobson | Artist: Marty Cobb, Dustin Dobson | Publisher: Button Shy
Additional Informationen:

  • 25 Cards
  • 1 Rules Sheet

A 2-3 player game of stacking skulls in the Sedlec Ossuary. With expansions for solo and 4 players.

Sedlec Ossuary, 16th Century AD.

The Black Plague and Hussite Wars have overcrowded the graveyard. Help the Bone Collector, a half-blind monk, by exhuming graves and arranging the skulls inside the crypt.

You are novice monks, competing to create the best arrangement of skulls. Dig up graves from the graveyard to reveal cards, take cards into your hand to collect skulls, and arrange the cards from your hand into a stack. Whoever better honors the deceased’s last wishes will score more points. The Bone Collector will then declare one player's stack as the most exceptional.

Deck Building Middle Ages Analog Games
22.06.2022 - Stefan