Skip-Bo is a card game that uses a 162-card deck. The deck contains 144 cards numbered 1 through 12, plus 18 Skip-Bo wild cards. The game can be played with two to six players who play alone or on teams. Players are dealt a stockpile of cards and vie to be the first to use all of their stockpile cards on building piles in sequential order. Skip-Bo is easy to play but requires strategy to win.
Once the deck is shuffled, each player chooses a card. The person who draws the highest card deals. For two to four participants, 30 cards are dealt; for five or more players, 20 cards are distributed. Cards are dealt face down and become the player’s stockpile. Players then turn over the top card of the pile without looking at the rest of their cards. The remainder of the deck is then put in the center to be used as a draw pile.
Setting Up Play
In the middle of the area, near the draw pile, up to four building piles will be made for all players to use during the game. Each participant will have a stockpile and up to four discard piles. Building piles and discard piles are developed during the game. Each player has a stockpile placed face down with the top card of the pile always facing up on top of the pile. Only a 1 or a Skip-Bo card can begin a building pile. Each pile is then built upon sequentially. Skip-Bo cards can be used as any number. After a pile of 12 cards has been built, the cards are removed and a new pile can begin in its place.
The person left of the dealer begins and draws five cards from the draw pile. If a player has a Skip-Bo card or a 1 on top of the stockpile or in their hand, a building pile can be created. A participant may then play a card from their stockpile onto a building pile. If all five cards are used, the player selects five more cards and continues play. Once a player has no options, he or she ends the turn by discarding a card from their hand to one of their four discard piles.
On additional turns, a player must make sure their hand has five cards. A player then may add to the building piles, in numerical order, by using the top card from the stockpile, discard pile, or from their hand. If the draw pile is exhausted, the cards from the completed building piles are shuffled, becoming the new pile to draw from.
Scoring and Winning
The winner of a round is the player who used all of their cards in their stockpile. To keep score, the winner of the round receives five points for each card left in his opponent’s stockpile, plus 25 points for winning the round. The first participant to reach 500 points is declared the winner.
- How to Play Skip-Bo, Mattel, 2003
A writing professional with more than 15 years of experience, Steve Repsys is currently employed in a college marketing environment. He is part of a team that produces award-winning publications. He holds a bachelor's degree in communication from Stonehill College and a master's degree in sports marketing from Springfield College.