If you’re looking for something to do that doesn’t require athletic ability, we’ve found it for you! You’ll need to be observant, strategic, and have a competitive nature to play Phase 10. Gather your buddies around the table with some snacks and drinks and get ready for a fun time!
Kind of like Uno, the object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Unlike Uno, there are goals that have to be reached before you can even lay your cards down. The goals are called phases and you not only need to complete one to move on, but use both your own and other players’ phases to get the rest of your cards out of your hand. All the while, you need to pay attention to the player who goes after you to make sure you’re not just giving them what they need to beat you.
Cards and Scoring
A Phase 10 deck includes 108 playing cards plus a few cards with the phases listed on them. These cards come in orange, red, yellow, and green, which will only really matter for one phase. These cards range from 1 to 12 and include skips and wilds. If on the last phase, there is more than one person who has completed the phase, the winner will be determined by score. In this game, you want to have the lowest score! At the end of each hand, anyone with cards that haven’t been laid down gets points added to their score based on the value of the cards they’re still holding. The points are calculated as follows:
- Cards 1 – 9: 5 points
- Cards 10 – 12: 10 points
- Skips: 15 points
- Wilds: 25 points
Make sure to play the cards with the high point values first, so you won't be stuck with a hand full of points if someone goes out before you do. If you notice that players are getting rid of cards quickly, play your highest point-value cards right away!
This card game has some specific lingo that you need to know in order to understand the game.
Phase: There are 10 phases in the game and each phase has a goal of what cards you need in your hand before you can lay them down. 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
Players cannot advance to the next phase until they complete the previous one, and only one phase may be laid per hand. Phases may only be laid on your turn, so if you realize after your turn that you have one in your hand, you have to wait until it gets back to you.
Set: Cards that are all the same number. For example, if you have three sevens in your hand, you have a set of three sevens.
Run: These are cards that are in numerical order, such as 7, 8, 9, and 10. This would be a run of four.
Wild: These cards can be used for anything other than a skip. If you need a set of three, and have two tens and a wild, the wild can serve as the third ten. It can be any color or number as well.
Skip: Just like in Uno, this card skips the player after you.
Hitting: This is how you get rid of your extra cards after you lay down your phase. The way to do this is by playing on yours or any other players’ phases that have been laid down. You can add the corresponding cards to phases as well as discard one. One thing you cannot do here is move a wild. Once a wild has been played as a number, it must remain that number. For example, if someone has laid a set of sixes and a run that includes a 3, 4, 5, and wild, and you have a 2 and a 6, you can use this phase to get rid of the cards. The 2 can be played on the run since it can go before the 3, but you cannot lay the 6 in the run because the wild is already a six. You can, however, lay the six on the set of sixes they have down. You may lay as many cards on phases as you can during each hand, and then be sure to discard one as well!
Going Out: You want to shoot for this every hand. This is when you get rid of all your cards by laying your phase and then hitting on phases until you have no more cards. This ensures that you will have no points added to your score at the end of the hand, and ends the hand and adds points to others’ scores for anything they have left in their hands.
Choose a dealer who will deal each player 10 cards. The deck then goes in the center face down, and the top card is flipped over next to the deck. The deck is now called the draw pile and the flipped-over card is the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer goes first. If they already have their phase they may lay it immediately. Otherwise, players will use both the draw pile and discard pile to try and switch their cards out to make their phase. If the top card on the discard pile is one they need, they may take that card and then discard one they have in their hand. If not, they take the card on the top of the draw pile and discard. This is where you have to pay attention to what the person that goes after you is collecting. If you see they are grabbing fives off the discard pile, you want to try and keep fives in your hand so you’re not giving them what they need. Play continues to the left.
This is a fun game but can sometimes be hard for young kids to grasp. Make sure you plan a lot of time to play as this game can go on for quite a while especially if you have a large amount of players. You can play Phase 10 with as little as two players, but since there are fewer phases laid on the table, it does take a lot longer to go out. So set out some yummy food and drinks, such as this Melt-My-Heart Campfire Brie with crackers, Hot Dogs on a Rake, and Marshmallows in a Bailey's Bath, gather your friends, and have fun playing cards!