Hi Jim, The game…
The game I’ve documented is based on 1970s vintage Bronx skully. It has definitely evolved through the years, and the memory of the way you played may be perfectly accurate (though not going backwards is like a day w/o sunshine IMHO–and I couldn’t imagine not hitting another player’s cap to get into the next box). For example, putting numbers in the trapezoids around the 13 box is definitely a Bronx/Harlem thing of the mid/late 60s, and never made it to Queens.
And, believe it or not, if you played with 13 boxes, you definitely were higher up on the skully evolutionary cycle–we’ve seen pictures and talked to folk who played with only 9 boxes “back in the day.”
There’s really no right answer about the rules–I know for a fact that we had rules on my block that kids 2 blocks away didn’t. Now that I think of it, the “bonus boxes” around “13” were introduced to my block by a kid who moved from another part of the Bronx!
Please feel free to try the rules as we have here, or play the way you remember, or take a hybrid of both–just don’t change rules in the middle of the game!
hmcnally [at] streetplay [dot] com