|While taking a stroll on the beach of a skull-shaped island, you catch sight of a strange piece of paper sticking out the stand. Your curiosity leads you to dig in the sand with your hands, and you discover a golden coin and parts of a map that you piece together. What if the map leads to Captain Willain Kidd's fabulous treasure...
In Skeleton Island, players try to piece together treasure maps and find gold coins by digging in the "sand" – more specifically, by digging in the sand-decorated cards. To set up the game, someone takes the deck of 49 sand cards, splits them in half, turns one half face-down, shuffles the two halves together, then swishes the combined deck around on the table to make a pile of sand.
Each turn, a player takes either a standard turn or a piracy turn. In a standard turn, the player takes one "free" card – that is, a card not covered at all by any other card – and looks at it. The player can keep the card, or return it to the edge of the sand pile and draw a second card, which she must keep. (If only one or two cards are free, the player can close her eyes and blow on the pile to spread the sand.)
Players are searching for gold coins, which are valuable on their own, or halves and quarters of a treasure map. The first player to hand in a complete map of one of the five colors collects the island card of this color, which is worth five coins.
On a piracy turn, the player removes any three cards she's collected from the game, then either takes two consecutive standard turns or swipes any card from an opposing player.
When all the islands have been claimed or all the sand cards removed, the game ends and the player with the most coins wins.