How to Play Skip Bo

Skip-Bo is a card game for 2 to 6 players that is similar to solitaire. The object is to get rid of your cards while blocking other players from discarding theirs. Since anyone over age 7 can play, Skip-Bo is a great game for families. Keep reading for detailed instructions on playing Skip-Bo.

Understanding the Rules
Know the objective. A Skip-Bo deck has a total of 144 cards numbered 1 to 12 and 16 “skip-bo” cards, which are wild. Each player is dealt a pile 10 – 30 cards, depending on the number of players. Each player’s pile of cards is called a stock pile. The point of Skip-Bo is to play every card in your stock pile in numerical order. The first person to play every card is the winner.[1]

Know how to use the different piles. Aside from each players stock pile, there are three other types of piles used for three different purposes. Understand how each one works before you start playing the game. After all of the cards have been dealt, the remaining cards are placed in the middle of the table where the game is being played. This is called the draw pile. Cards from this pile are drawn at the beginning of each person’s turn, and they are used to create building piles.

When play begins, players begin getting rid of their cards by starting building piles in the middle of the table. There are four building piles, and each one must start with either a 1 or a skip-bo card.

At the end of each turn, players discard a card into a discard pile. Each player can have up to four discard piles, which are placed face up. The cards in the discard piles can be used in succeeding turns to add to the build piles.

Know how to win the game. Throughout the game, the goal is to get rid of all of your cards as quickly as possible by putting them into building piles. The first person to play every card in his or her stock pile wins the game. You can strategize against other players by preventing them from getting rid of their cards more quickly than you get rid of yours. Since you can see what cards other players have in their discard piles, you can play cards that will block them from being able to play these cards.

You’ll get rid of your cards faster if you play the cards from your stock pile before playing those in your discard pile.

Setting Up the Game
Play at a large table. Since Skip-Bo involves so many different piles of cards, it’s best to play at a large, round table. That way everyone has room for their stockpile and four discard piles, and there’s room in the middle of the table for the draw pile and four building piles. Things can get pretty crowded if you try to play at a small table.

Shuffle and deal the cards. Since the deck is so big, you may need to divide it into more than one stack to shuffle it properly. When it comes to dealing, deal cards based on how many players you have. If you have two to four players, each player gets 30 cards. If you have five to seven players, each player gets 20 cards.[2]

Have each player make a stock pile. Each player should place their pile of cards directly in front of them on the table, face down. These are the players’ stock piles.

Create a draw pile. Put the extra cards face down in the middle of the table. This is the draw pile.

Playing the Game
Take the first round of turns. The first player begins by flipping over the top card in his or her stock pile. The player then draws five cards from the draw pile. Depending on the player’s hand, he or she then chooses one of the following options:
If the player has a 1 or a Skip-Bo wild card in his or her hand or at the top of his or her stock pile, the player is allowed to start a build pile. Each build pile is the beginning of a sequence, and the pile is “built” when more cards are added in sequential order – a 2, a 3, a 4, and so on. Gaps in the sequence may be filled in by Skip-Bo wild cards. The player continues to build until he or she no longer has any cards left to keep building the sequence, then discards one card to form a discard pile before ending his or her turn.

If the player doesn’t have a 1 or a Skip-Bo card, the player discards one card to form his or her first discard pile. Up to 4 discard piles can be formed in subsequent turns.

Have the second player take a turn. The second player overturns the top card in his or her stock pile, draws five cards from the draw pile, and continues in the same fashion described above to either build a new pile, add to an existing pile, or simply discard a card.

Continue taking turns. In subsequent turns, players draw enough cards to add up to a hand of five. If a player plays all five cards in one turn, then he or she draws five the next turn. If the player has three cards left after a turn, he or she draws two for his or her next turn.
After the first turn, players may use cards in their discard piles to add to the building piles.

When a building pile reaches the number 12, scoop it up and set it aside to be added to the draw pile when it runs down. A new building pile may be started in its place with a 1 or a Skip-Bo card.

Keep playing until someone’s stock pile runs out. Go around and around the table until a player runs out of cards in his or her stock pile. This player wins the game.

Things You’ll Need
A deck of Skip-Bo cards

Hard surface to play on

2 to 6 players

Related wikiHows
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How to Play the Skipping Record Game

Sources and Citations
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