Phase 10, a card game created in 1982 and produced by Fundex Games, is a variation of the card game Rummy. You must play “phases” to lay your cards down and play cards on other people’s phases to lay down all your cards in a hand. The basic rules of Phase 10 are easy enough for most people to pick up quickly. Phase 10 decks are available in most retail stores or at game and toy stores.
The dealer, chosen at the beginning of each turn, is given the deck of cards. He deals one facedown card to each player until each player holds 10 cards. Next, he places the deck facedown in the center of the table to create the draw pile. He then takes the top card off the draw pile and places it next to the pile. This is the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer starts.
Players attempt to “phase out” by laying their cards down in specific combinations. Unlike Rummy, players can only lay specific hands down at certain times in the game. The first hand that can be laid down is two sets of three similar cards. Once the player lays this down, he has to “go out” by playing the rest of his cards. However, he cannot create the next phase until the next round of game play. This means he must play his cards on already existing phases. For example, if he had a set of three sixes, he could lay another six on his set. However, he can also play cards on other player’s phases. This can only be done during his turn. Phases from earlier rounds will stay set up for the rest of the game, giving players lots of play opportunities.
Once a player goes out, players are awarded points. Points are not desired in this game. Players score five points for every card from one through nine. They score 10 points for every card 10 through 12. They score 15 points for a Skip card and 25 for a wild card. Scores are tallied up as the game progresses, as more than one player may complete a phase in a turn. Game play ends when a player finishes the tenth phase and gets rid of all of his cards. If no one else finishes a phase 10 before he discards all his cards, he wins. If other players do, the player with the fewest points wins.
The phases are important to remember in this game. The first phase is two sets of three cards. The second phase is one set of three and a run of four. A run is four or more cards of the same color in ascending order, such as one, two, three and four. The third phase is a set of four and a run of four. The fourth phase is a run of seven. The fifth phase is a run of eight. The sixth phase is a run of nine. The seventh phase is two sets of four. The eighth phase is seven cards of one color. The ninth phase is a set of five and a set of two. The final phase is a set of five and a set of three.
There are two special cards in “Phase 10.” These are the skip and wild cards. The skip cards will cause a player to lose a turn. These can be played immediately after drawing or held onto for later use. The player laying the card can choose the skipped player. The wild card can be used in lieu of any card in the game, except the skip. For example, if the player has two sixes and a wild card, he can lay down the wild card with the two sixes to create a set of three.
- a hand holding playing cards image by Ariil Davidov from Fotolia.com