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Review : Cockroach Poker

Tuesday, 3 September 2019  |  Russ

A Review by Nick Gouldstone


Cockroach Poker is a simple game in where the goal is to deceive your opponents by being less than honest, or completely honest in passing cards around the table, while calling those players out or taking them at their word. Each turn consists of an active player selecting a card from a hand or randomly dealt insect cards, 8 types in total and passing it face down to another player. They then state what the card is, for example “Paul, this is a beetle”. Paul now has a choice, he can call his friend a liar, state he is telling the truth, or risk looking at the card and passing it on. If Paul accepts the truth or calls his friend a liar, he flips the card over and determines who take it. If they were being honest and you called them a liar, you score the card in front of you. If the reverse is true, they score the card. Either way the player who scores the card now takes the next turn and so on until either one of two things happens. If a player has no cards, they lose and everyone else wins and the same if one player has a set of 4 of the same animal in front of them.


This was a quick buy for me when I played it for the first time as it is one of those games where the mechanics are simple but the strategy is rather a bit more complex. There are not many mechanics in the game as it is simply a deck of cards which the players have dealt out to them in their entirety. That being said the decisions are what make the game interesting. Perhaps a card is passed to you and you need to decide to risk calling your friend out or passing on the card. When is either option the best option? What cards are in play already? What are the odds it really is a frog?! Who knows! It could be anything!? It makes for a tense game with some great stories that come out of it. Ultimately it is simple with its mechanics but what it has makes for a riveting experience

Final thoughts

The game comes with 8 types of bugs with 8 of each in the deck all of which are in play as all cards are dealt out regardless of player count. As such everything is to play for and the game does make the whole table grit their teeth when someone on 3 of a set flips a card only to find the 4 th of that set and a collective sigh of relief (except that player!) fills the room. Overall for a 20-minute filler title Cockroach Poker stays with me wherever I go these days as it is easily accessible to all ages, it is great fun and some wonderful stories come out of the amazing moves some people can experience. I would recommend this to you if you are looking for a portable game which is good for a giggle or two between friends and your slogging through the “what shall we play next” conversations. Through a hand of Cockroach Poker on the table and lie until your pants are ablaze.

Thoughts from Russ at The Board Game Hut : We tried this game a few years ago with our kids and we didn't get it - I couldn't see how it was meant to work or where the fun was..... but we have tried it several times recently with adult gamers and all became clear! It's an awesome, quick bluffing game and we'll never turn down a game of Cockroach Poker now! :D