Pros: Easy to play, a great game for family and friends.
Often times Friday night seems to be a never ending quest for something to do. Why not play a card game? A couple of weeks ago I went over to a friends’ house and this is what was waiting for me. Phase 10 is a game simplistic in nature, but personally provided me hours of enjoyment. Since then I have bought this myself and played with my family, and am quite pleased with the product.
Overall the game itself is simple; there are 10 phases that you need to complete (in order) the first to complete them all wins. The hard part is actually completing them. The deck itself consists of 108 cards, which include numbers 1-12, skips, and wild cards. There are also four colors (red, green, yellow, and blue). Each player is dealt 10 cards face down, and the game begins. A player must have all the cards needed for a phase in order to lay them down, for example the first phase is “two sets of three” if I have three 6’s and three 8’s I can lay them down to complete the phase, but if I only have three 6’s I have to wait until I have another set of three.
Basically the game goes on with each round players drawing and discarding cards (you must always discard to end your turn) the interesting part comes when someone phases out. As soon as a person puts down cards, they become live. This is where the game begins to feel like rummy. In order for a round to end a player must discard all of their cards, so just because you have hit your phase does not mean the round is over. Once phased you can play off of others who have phased out as well. You can go up or down one card, or match a color or number depending on how they phased out. Basically this becomes a game of chance, but there is definitely strategy involved in this game. Once a person has discarded all their cards everyone else gets one more turn to get rid of their cards, their remaining cards go into their score. Everyone who completed their phase goes onto the next one, those who didn’t remain where they were. You can only complete one phase per round.
This game seems very similar to Uno on the surface, but there are some key differences. The strategy comes in based on how you play your cards. A skip, for example, unlike in Uno, can be used on anyone you choose. If you skip them they have to wait one turn before they can make another move. The strategy is when to use them, and on who. Alliances can quickly be made in this game, and it’s not jut based off of who you’re sitting next t. I can say from experience it’s no fun to be the victim of a skip when you’re about to end a round, it can make the game enjoyable though.
The other difference is the wild card, in Phase 10 this is used for your own benefit. It acts as any card, and you can use multiple wilds in order to complete a phase. If you have a “3” and two “wilds” that can be considered a set of three. It’s up to you what you want them to be, but you cannot make it into a skip.
One thing I love about this game is that there is a game within a game. At the end of each round leftover cards from players who failed to phase out are tallied up. If you have a 1-9 that counts as 5 points, cards 10-12 count as 10 points, 15 points for a skip, and a wild counts as 25 points. You can choose to speed the game along in by setting a score limit, but I’d rather play first to phase 10. The points are usually used to break a tie if two people reach the final phase in the same round, but you can choose how you want to play the game. Points for each had are added to the rounds before, and it’s always fun to watch the numbers get higher (as long as it’s not you).
The phases themselves are listed on the back of the box, and are included on two playing cards that come inside the box so you don’t have to remember them. I have also included the phases below. There is a rulebook also included which explains all the nuances of the game in greater detail than included here. Overall this is a great game to spend with friends and family. It is easy to pick up for children, and fun for adults as well. The box says 2-6 players, but I have played with as many as 8 without problems. This has becomes a new household favorite, and I highly recommend it for family vacations or family game night. This is a fun new product, and a lot of fun. Happy playing.
Phase 1: 2 sets of 3
Phase 2: 1 set of 3 + 1 run of 4
Phase 3: 1 set of 4 + 1 run of 4
Phase 4: 1 run of 7
Phase 5: 1 run of 8
Phase 6: 1 run of 9
Phase 7: 2 sets of 4
Phase 8: 7 cards of one color
Phase 9: 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 2
Phase 10: 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 3