Review: Cockroach Poker

Posted by James (admin) on December 7th, 2009

Cockroach Poker is a very, very simple bluffing game. But for all its simplicity, it is certainly no less fun. The game consists of a deck of cards which have pictures of creatures like rats, bats, toads and, of course, cockroaches. There are 8 cards for each of the 8 types of creature.

The cards are dealt out to the players and the players try to get rid of their cards to other players. On your turn, you pass a card face-down to another player and say what creature is on it. They have three options: They can believe you, or they can say you’re lying.

Overall, Cockroach Poker uses a very straight-forwards bluffing mechanic. It almost seems too simple to start with but there are tactics that start to develop. Also, when you have a few face-up cards of the same creature type in front of you, people start trying to give you cards that will make you lose. (or maybe they’re just pretending to…) It can be quite nerve-wracking when you have 3 spiders and every card you’re given comes with the phrase “it’s a spider”. You can use a bit of knowledge from knowing what cards you have in your hand as there are 8 of each card so you can gauge the likelihood of a player giving a card, or may be able to know you hold the only non-revealed cards of a specific creature type. However, this analysis is usually of limited use as you rarely get to see all the cards.

So, the game is mainly down to trying to read the other players. One of our players even tries to remove that sometimes – When passed a card, they sometimes pass it on without even looking at it and declares it’s some other creature. This act of randomness is quite humorous (especially if they fool the player they offer it to) and catches other players off-guard.

The game plays with 2 to 6 players.  Playing with 3 is fine but I think it plays best with 4 or more players because you have more options of who to pass cards to and how many times cards can be passed on.  I don’t think there’s much reason why the game couldn’t play with 7 or 8 , although you may need to play that it’s first to 3 cards of one creature type who loses.  The game says it plays with two-players (you randomly remove some of the cards before you start) – I have yet to play it like this but would like to give it a try. 

Cockroach Poker is a fun and light game – perfect filler material – and – a lot of fun.  As it’s just a single deck of cards, it’s one you can put in your pocket and take anywhere.

Cockroach Poker is one of my Top 5 Games for a Family Christmas


[Played with 3, 4 and 5 players]

3 Responses to “Review: Cockroach Poker”

  1. Alan Says:

    As soon as I played this, I ordered a copy the next day – and like you advise I’ll be taking it back up north for Christmas. Nice review.

  2. James Irwin Says:

    Nice, review ordered a copy and love it. Will check back here in future.

  3. Alexander Johnes Says:

    I also ordered a copy. Thanks for your review.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>