Skip-Bo is a card game that requires counting and quite a few different piles of cards surrounding your spot at the table. Seriously, you’ll end up with six piles of cards, including the one in your hand. This doesn’t count the pile you draw from nor the building piles in the middle of all the players. While it does take a bit of multitasking to keep track of the dozen or so piles of cards, it’s an entertaining game that deals with both strategy and luck in order to win.
Skip-Bo was first introduced to me a long time ago by a friend. I enjoyed the game a lot and it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I found out the game was more popular than I thought. I hadn’t heard of it before until then. We finally got our own copy of the game and played it the other night.
I’ve played it before too after Rachel was introduced to the game, of course, but this was the first time in a while we picked the game up. I had to skim over the instructions to recall how to play it. There are over 150 cards, ranging from 1 through 12 with a couple of wild Skip-Bo cards here and there. We spent about ten minutes giving the cards a good shuffling before actually dealing them out. Depending on how many players, or how long you want the game to go, you deal out an average of 20 to 30 cards per player for a stock pile. This is the pile you want to get rid of in order to win the game. You get rid of the cards in the stock pile by placing them in numerical order onto one of the four building piles in the middle.
You don’t know what’s in your pile. You flip the first card over and work on getting rid of that first. You always have five cards in your hand and need to use strategy and a little bit of math and thinking ahead in order to get rid of your stock pile of cards. For example, if you need to get rid of a three, then you need to put down a one and then a two in order to put your three down. Of course, if one or both of those cards are already put down, then you can use your three faster – depending on what your opponents put down. They know what card you’re trying to get rid of, so blocking is definitely a thing in this game and it can get competitive. The four piles in the middle don’t reset until you put down one through 12 in order.
Aside from the cards in your hand, your stock pile, and the building piles in the middle, you can also have up to four discard piles in front of you. These piles are used to indicate that you are done with your turn. You must put at least one card from your hand onto one of these piles. They are not used in the building piles towards getting rid of your stock pile, but you can use the cards to help on your turn if you do not have the necessary cards in your hand. The catch is that you must use the topmost card on the discard pile towards the building piles. I got stuck a couple of times because I had an 11 in one of my discard piles, but I had a few cards on top of it that I needed to get rid of first.
Lots and lots of piles, yeah. Four piles in front of you, plus your stock, as well as four piles in the middle to get rid of them all. It’s all about order and you need to keep track of your cards, strategize where you want them to go and when you want to use them. Not to mention, you have no idea what your opponent will do. Of course, as I stated, it helps that you know what card they need to get rid of. You can block them as they can try to block you.
Once we play it more, strategy will come easier. I remember playing with our friend during a weekend getaway and she continued to win because she stockpiled her cards just right in order to just demolish her piles so she didn’t have to wait too long to get rid of her stock cards. Meanwhile, our discard piles ended up just being a mess and tended to hinder rather than help us when we were trying to get rid of our stock cards.
Well, she hoarded all the “one” cards. She plays by a house rule where you can’t use a Skip-Bo card, which is a wild card, as a “one.” So, she’d hold onto all the one cards and be able to knock down her pile quickly as she gathered all the other numbers. We wouldn’t be able to start piles because we didn’t have the ones and couldn’t use Skip-Bo cards. Which, as frustrating it was, it made the game more intense and competitive. Overall, Skip-Bo is a great game and so much fun to play a good group of people.