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Cockroach Poker Royal Review
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Posted: 11 weeks ago, last updated 9 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Cockroach Poker Royal is a bluffing, push-your-luck card game where you try and avoid ending up with a set of four matching animal cards. You pass cards to other players and tell them what it is, they guess if you are telling the truth and have to keep the card if they get it wrong. This simple premise leads to all sorts of intricate poker-style bluffing and card-tracking tactics and double-crossing.

Play begins with all the cards being dealt to the players. You take turns to pass one card from your hand, face down on the table, to any other player. You make a claim about what the card is, cockroach, rat, stink bug and so on. The other player guesses if this is true or false. If they are wrong they have to keep it. If they are right the original player gets it. Either way it ends up face up in front of someone and takes them one step closer to losing.

As you progress you start to accrue a collection of face-up animal cards by getting these guesses wrong. If you end up with four matching animals you are out and everyone else wins. This leads to all sorts of bluffing and card tracking tactics because you know which cards other players don't want and how many of each have been revealed.

The game leans into this with a final rule. You can decide not to guess if a player is lying and instead look at the card and pass it on to someone else, making a lie (or truth) of your own. This not only de-risks the choice, but adds a layer of tactics around who ends up as the final player to be presented the card and can't pass it on and must challenge or accept the potential lie.

The Royal version of the game also provides extra cards to add more complexity, although you don't have to use them. There's a new Royals set of cards make you also take a card from a penalty deck. There are also some Joker cards that always represent a lie and a Multi Animal card that's never a lie.

The result, particularly with the basic set of cards, is a super simple bluffing game that has really deep tactics and strategy development. The fun rests as much on the deviousness of the players (and how well they know each other) rather than complicated rules.

DetailsGame Details

Skill Rating: 7-16 year-olds

Release Date: 01/01/2012

Genres: Communication, Push-Your-Luck and Sequencing

Pieces: Cards

Players: 2-6



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Learn to Play: This takes 10 minutes to learn. It's quite quick to learn, although the rules about who you pass to next are important to understand. There's also a depth to the decisions that isn't apparent before you have played a few hands.

The first time you play the following can help:
  • Play a round with open hands, to understand the motivations for bluffing.
  • Practice the rule where the last person to be presented a card can't pass it on again and must choose true or false.
  • Plat without the Royal and Joker cards as they add complexity.

Play Time: This game will take between 15 minutes and 25 minutes to complete.

Play StylePlay Style

You can play with 2 to 6 players in the same room.

You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Rating

7-16 year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. The basic game is enjoyable for young children as long as they don't mind being tricked. They are often actually really good at it. However, it's often best to play without the royal cards as they mean you can end up losing unexpectedly.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 7+ years-olds.


No cost data.


On the standard Cockroach Poker deck, the back of the cards indicates the full set of different creatures in the game which can help you keep track of things.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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