I grew up in West New York, NJ. I lived by St. Mary’s Church on the northwest side of town. Growing up in the late 70’s we used to play “bottle caps”. We had a board that was carved right into the street at the entrance to the park. It was painted blue with red boxes. Very professional. We used to hang out there all day playing. We used bottle caps filled with crayon and pennies for added weight. Some of also melted metal to make’em real heavy. We basically played the same way as the rules on this site state, but we had an interesting twist. We played with what was called “sweeping”. If you landed in a box and someone was outside of that box less than a hand laid flat on the ground away you could litterly take that person cap and sweep it down the block. We also had “chucking” and “sewering”. Chucking was just basically picking up the other persons cap and throwing it a block away or onto the church roof. Sewering was when you swept someones cap into the sewer. Big fun. I used to love it. Went through a lot of caps though. I haven’t seen anyone playing it in a long time. I’m glad people remember such a great game. Also, surrounding 13 was what we called the “pit”. No number just P in each box, so no bonus for knocking anyone out.
I grew up in the early 60’s on Lacombe Avenue in the Castle Hill Avenue projects in the Bronx. We were privilaged enough to have a skully (skelly) board neatly painted in yellow on the playground area outside. We experimented with a myriad of bottle cap types and fillers. The best “shooters” were the little white (soft) plastic prescription bottle tops. (This pre-dates child-proof caps.) Since the precription bottle caps were much lighter than metal bottle caps, we would weight each of them down with a penny and then fill the cap up to the top with candle or crayon wax. When the wax dryed, we would rub the top of the cap on the ground until it was super-smooth. The plastic precription bottle caps were the best shooters. When you would shoot one, it would ride smoothly along the ground, travel farther than a metal bottle cap, and, with the weight of the penny, it had enough weight to smash a competitor’s cap a mile away. I moved to Long Island, NY when I was 12 and miss playing skully.
I was a child in Gerritsen Beach Brooklyn in the early 70’s before moving to rural Virginia in 1976. For years I have described this game to people (primarily transplants from NY) and until today have never found anyone who remembers, even my sister and brothers only have very vague memories of it. The one game that I really missed playing was skully after we moved. I was just in Brooklyn last week and I asked my much younger cousin if they had ever played, but she had no idea what I was talking about. I decided to look up “street games” tonight and lo and behold, here I am. I am definately going to teach both of my kids to play. As I read the directions, I realized that my memory of this game was pretty good, except I remember a tail of sorts going down from the “1” square that I think you finished down. not too sure about that. My favorite part of the game was making the bottle caps with melted wax crayons. I was so happy to find all your posts, fellow skully afficionados! Skully on!
This is a great site!! I learned how to play skully at Holiday Haven Campground in Estelle Manor, NJ from kids who lived outside of Philly. It was hugely popular there, then we exported it to our neighborhood in Monroe Twp. NJ where we made an infinate number of skully boards on chalk either on our street or patio. My three sisters and I preferred our caps to be constructed of Dad’s cast off Budweiser beer bottle caps (the King of Beers and skully caps!) and melted-down crayola crayons. The metallic colors swirled with a regular color were the coolest! We would melt the crayons down right in the caps on Mom’s electric stove (where melted crayon spills were her bane!) I can remember the smell of melting crayons as if it were yesterday…
Hi all…I’m new to posting to this site, however I have looked at it many times already…I absolutely love it! It’s as if I stepped back into the past..which is a good thing… I loved my childhood and growing up in Brooklyn and wouldn’t trade it for the world…Oh the endless hours of playing skully..the tedious task of melting those crayons and getting a wonderful blend of colors in those bottle caps! To be a kid again!
Yeah Scully!I still have my bottlecaps from the 70’s!!! We used to melt crayons into the caps..which was one of my favorite parts of being a scully player. Played with my cousins in Deer Park, NY(Long Island). I’ve always thought about Scully…miss it…and always longed to play again…LOVE YOUR WEBSITE! THANKS for the memories and encouraging the reemergence of SCULLY!!
WOW! Today is Easter and my parents as well as my brother and his wife joined us for dinner. It was a beautiful day outside and we took all opportunities to enjoy it. My daughter, 8, and sister in law decided to play on the driveway with chalk. My dad who was near by decided to reminisce and show my children and us adults (his children)how to play a game he played when he was a child growing up in the Bronx. Not remembering the name of the game, just the basics of it he taught us this really cool game that had us all playing, from my son age 5 to my dad 46. While playing we discussed how it would be neat to recall the exact rules and dimensions of this game as well as learn/remember others. I suggested the internet by searching under street games. We joked and said we could search under “ghetto games” as this is what my dad refered to them as. Low and behold here I am. When everyone left I came online to research the fun game we learned and played today as a family. I am way to excited to call my dad and send him this website. He will be thrilled. He taught us how to make the bottlecaps with crayons as weight and that is how I was able to pinpoint this game we played. Now I know the name and can find out more about it and learn others. Thank you for taking the time to make this site possible. Hopefully others can go back in time like we did and have just as much fun! Tasha O. Albany NY
I played for hours on the corner of 85th St and 21st Ave in Brooklyn, with the rumble of the B train as background music. We had our court on the sidewalk, because there was just too much traffic from 86th Street… there was no way to play a game on the asphalt. We played 13-box, in two versions. If there were a lot of players it was 1-13, for a more leisurely game it was 1-13,13-1 before you could start knocking other players out of the game. In the dark ages before twist off caps, the most prized cap was one with only a slight indentation from a bottle opener. We would rub the caps back and forth, back and forth on the sidewalk to get a smooth silver matte look on the bottom. Pop in a penny over the cork, and melt a candle (“wasting” a crayon that way would have made my mother berserk, “Whaddya think, we get them free from somewhere?”). When the wax was just about firm, if you pulled a piece of paper towel over the cap it put a pattern in the top of the wax. With box ball, tops, yo-yo, skelly, and chinese handball, who needed camp?
This summer, after locating your website, I painted 3 skelly boards on some blacktop at a sleepaway camp called Camp Mesorah. I grew up in city hpousing project in Queens (Pomonok)and the last time played the game was 45 years ago. I used the Bronx rules because the 2,4,6,8 trapezoid made the game rules more exciting. The game took off. Kids were playing it at every free moment they had. Pipsie became a respected and revered word in camper vocabulary. We used metal snapple caps for skelly caps, filling them with crayons that we melted with magnifying glasses. The designs and colors in them were elaborate. Campers and counselors formed teams together(as age doesn’t matter but skill does) and a 32 team tournament with trophies culminated the season. This summer, more black top is being added and the number of courts will increase to 12. Lighting is also being added for night games. More tournatments are planned and the game with intercamp challanges. The game has already spread to 5 Towns area of LI where I was hired to paint 3 courts in driveways and backyards. hank you for helping me relive my childhood. This is the game that taught me addition, subtraction and strategy. Maybe one day we will see a skelly court on every basketball court!