Introduction: How to Play Phase 10
Phase 10 is a card game for 2-6 players. The goal of the game is to complete all ten phases, one round at a time. At the end of a round players will add up their score based on the number and type of cards left in their hand. The goal is to have the lowest score at the end of the game. Watch out, if you don't complete your phase in a round, you must repeat the phase in the next round!
Step 1: The Cards
The Phase 10 deck of cards is made up of numeric cards, 1 - 12, in four colors: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow. There are 2 of each number for each color. There are also eight wild cards (which can represent any number or any color) and four skip cards(which when played will skip the turn of a designated player, chosen by the person playing the skip.
Step 2: The Phases
As you might expect, the game consists of 10 phases the players must complete in order.
The phases are:
- 2 sets of 3
- 1 set of 3 + 1 run of 4
- 1 set of 4 + 1 run of 4
- 1 run of 7
- 1 run of 8
- 1 run of 9
- 2 sets of 4
- 7 cards of one color
- 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 2
- 1 set of 5 + 1 set of 3
A set is a group of the same numbers(three of a kind, four of a kind, five of a kind, etc.)
A run is a sequential group of numbers (2 3 4 5, 7 8 9 10 11 12, etc.)
Wilds can be played as any number in a set or run also any color.
Step 3: Setting Up the Game
Once you have the desired number of players, deal each player 10 cards. At the start of the game each player will start on phase one. At this point players can choose to order the cards in their hand in any fashion that helps them keep track of cards they have and are looking for. It is unnecessary to reorder your cards, but it can be helpful for new players to do so.
The remaining cards are put face down in a stack, in the middle of the playing space. The top card is then flipped face up next to the pile. It should look like the picture shown.
Step 4: Taking Your Turn
During your turn you MUST draw one card to begin the turn. You can draw one of the face down cards from the pile, or draw the face up card shown.
At the end of your turn you MUST discard a card, face up next to the draw pile.
The turn will continue going around to the next player (generally to the left or clockwise to the person that started) they will draw a card and discard a card.
Note: If you ever run out of face down cards, simply flip over the face up cards to a new face down draw pile. (shuffling this new draw pile is optional, flip the top card to start a new face up draw pile)
Step 5: Playing Down the Phase
Once a player has drawn a card to start their turn, if they have the required cards of their phase, they may choose to "lay down" their phase.
The player will lay, face up, the required cards of the phase. In the picture shown the player has laid down the required cards of phase 3 (1 set of 4 and 1 run of 4).
There are two important things to note about laying down a phase. You can have more than is required in your phase to lay down, and if that is the case you will want to play all cards you can, as once you complete the phase your goal becomes to discard your hand.
To illustrate the above point, if the player in the picture had another 10 or a wild, they could play it to make a set of 5, even though the minimum amount required to complete the phase is only 4.
Also, if a player has the required phase in their hand THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED to lay the phase down. The player still required to discard a card at the end of their turn.
Step 6: Going "out" and Ending the Round
Once you have completed and laid down your phase you must attempt to play out the remaining cards in your hand.
Remember: You must ALWAYS draw one card at the beginning of your turn and discard one card at the end of your turn.
In the pictured example above, both players have played their phases(picture 1 and 2). Player One is left with a 4 and 7, and also was lucky enough to draw a wild card(picture 3).
To go "out" Player One will play their 7 at the beginning of Player Two's run (Picture 4) and play the wild in any area they wish, in this case on their own set of 2's (picture 5) and then they will discard the remaining 4 in their hand to end the round!
Step 7: Scoring a Round
Once one player has played down their phase and discarded the last card in their hand, the round is over.
The remaining players will assign a score to their remaining cards in their hand, add the score up and write it down.
Cards with a numeric value 1 - 9 are worth 5 points each. Cards with a numeric value of 10 - 12 are worth 10 points each. Skip and Wild Cards are worth 25 points each. Note: Color of cards has no impact on scoring.
Remember you goal is to have the LOWEST score at the end of the game.
In picture two we see that a player had a 6 10 and Skip card in their hand. They score 40 points for the round. Five points for the 6 card, 10 points for the 10 card, and 25 points for the Skip card.
Once the scores are added up, the players move to the next round.
REMEMBER, if you did not lay down your phase you must repeat that phase in the next round, if you laid down your phase, even if you had cards remaining in your hand, you move on to the next phase.
Step 8: Finishing the Game
Once a player has completed the 10th and final phase, and a player has gone out to end the round, one final round of scoring is noted.
The scores from all played rounds (it may be more than 10 for games with more than 2 people) are then added up.
The person with the lowest score wins!
Congratulations you now know the basics of Phase 10! Gather some friends and play. Try different strategies to achieve the lowest score you can, but most of all have fun!