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This is a family game for 2-6 players, it is very similar to playing rummy, but with a twist. So here is how to play.
One player is either chosen to be the dealer, or you can do it as I do and deal one card each, the lowest card will be the dealer. They shuffle the deck and deal out a hand of 10 cards, one at a time and face down, to each player. The remaining deck is placed face down in the centre of the play area, to become the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned over and placed next to the draw pile, to become the discard pile.
Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. In turn, a player draws one card-either the top card from the draw pile or the top card from the discard pile-and adds it to their hand. The player then discards one card of their choice from their hand onto the discard pile.
Play of the first hand begins, with each player trying to complete the first Phase of the 10 Phases. Each player can make only one Phase during the play of a hand. Phases are made of sets, run, cards all of one colour, or a combination of sets and runs. The 10 Phases are:
1) 2 Sets of 3
2) 1 set of 3 plus 1 run of 4
3) 1 set of 4 plus 1 run of 4
4) 1 run of 7
5) 1 run of 8
6) 1 run of 9
7) 2 sets of 4
8) 7 cards of 1 colour
9) 1 set of 5 plus 1 set of 2
10) 1 set of 5 plus 1 set of 3
Sets - these are cards of the same number I.E. 7,7,7 or 8,8,8,8.
Runs- these are cards that go up in numbers, I.E. A, 2,3,4,5 or 9,10,J, Q, K
Same colour- these are any cards that are all the same colour, these could be 7 red, 7 blue, 7 green, or 7 yellow.
The pack also consists of wild cards, which can be used to make up any of the phases, these cannot later be moved and replaced with the proper card that it should be, to be used elsewhere.
The pack also has skip cards, when picked up the player can either chose to save it or discard it straight away, when used the skip card makes the next player miss their next turn.
When a player makes a phase, then they lay their cards face upon the table for everyone to see, the phases must be made in order from phase 1-10 you cannot jump to phase 4 then return to do phase 1. Cards can be added to the phases to try and get rid of your cards, once all cards are discarded by a player, then it is that round over and all players cards are added up and wrote down on the score sheet, the player with the lowest score at the end of all 10 phases wins. The scores are as follows:
1) 5 points for each card numbered 1-9
2) 10 points for each card numbered 10-15
3) 15 points for skip cards
4) 25 points for wild cards
These are based on what you have left in your hand, so the best thing is to play all your skip cards and wild cards as soon as you can.
That's the basic rules of the game, sounds complicated right. I thought that too, and I will not lie it does take a lot of learning how to play. It is very similar to rummy, except for all the different phases that you must make in order.
I bought this for a mere £5 which is not a lot, but as for all the rules and having to do all the phases, I very rarely played it, I would rather have a proper pack of cards and play normal rummy, them rules are a lot simpler to follow.
The pack does come with instructions on how to play the game, I had to read through them several times before I understood how to play, and when I have wrote it in this review it has seemed even more complicated, but I can only explain it how it is in the rules. There is no other easy way to explain it, so you may still be none the wiser. I have played a similar game on the Internet. It's a free download site called rummy royal, if you want to practise first I would try on there, they do have similar rules.
It can be an entertaining game, and it says age 8 up to adult, but to be honest if I have trouble playing then what chance would an 8-year-old child have. That is one of the reasons i would not recommend this game, especially not as a family game.
My partner bought this game from WH Smiths at the Airport on the way to our holiday last September. At the time I was pretty dismissive of it as a wasteful impulse buy, but this is a really fantastic family game fwhich anyone can play, and has been played dozens of times since.
The basic description of Phase 10 is that it's a rummy-style card game. This means that the basis of the game is focused on collecting a specific arrangement of cards - a certain quantity of the same number or coloured cards or a "run" of cards.
In the pack are 108 cards - a large stack, and the cards are about the same size as standard playing cards. There are four colours represented, and numbers go up to 12.
My Attempt at Explaining the Rules!
The "Phase 10" element refers to ten different phases that each player needs to complete in order to win the game. Everyone starts at Phase 1, which requires players to collect two sets of three cards of the same number. You are dealt 10 cards and by picking up from a central or discard pile you try to collect the cards you need to make your sets (standard "rummy" stuff). When you have your two sets, you place them down and then try to get rid of your remaining cards by adding/matching them to other players' sets. As soon as the first player has got rid of their cards, the round is over. If you succeeded in collecting your two sets (i.e. completing Phase 1) you can move on to Phase 2 for the next round, which will have a different requirement (getting tougher each round) - but if you didn't get them down, you remain on Phase 1 for the following round(s) until you have achieved it. Additionally, players with cards left in their hand score points according to their value, as a penalty. So throughout the game, players are usually working towards different goals. The first player to complete Phase 10 (with the lowest points scored in the event of a tie) is the winner. In addition there are "skip" cards which a player can direct at any other player to make them miss a turn plus "wild" cards which can be used in place of any number or colour you may need.
This turns out to be a very tactical game - you need to be aware not to throw away cards that may help other players, trying to remember who is on what phase, and what they are trying to collect. You need to try to second-guess who else is collecting what number or colour - be prepared to change tack if things aren't falling your way... The "skip" cards inevitable cause unrest when targeted at someone who is on the verge of discarding their last card.
Suitable for everyone
The age range is stated as Age 7+, and it's for 2-6 players. Our usual group has been 4 adults which makes for a game lasting around an hour. Any children with an understanding of numbers and colours and able to grasp the "rummy" concept will be able to play, and the skipping, and "hare and tortoise" style of appearing to be miles ahead but not being able to get your "Phase 9" down whilst everyone catches you up in double quick time really is good fun. Smaller hands will need help in dealing the cards because the pack is so large.
If you waded through my "attempt at the rules" paragraph, you won't be surprised to hear that we were pretty baffled by them the first time we set out to play. But this is one of those games you need to start playing and pick it up as you go - it soon made perfect sense and we were away. Once you understand it, it's very easy to explain to others (though my written word might suggest otherwise!).
...and for everywhere
The other thing, being bought from the "travel games" section is that there's absolutely no carriage in the game for holidays. It's really well suited to sitting around on holiday with a few drinks - it makes a nice change from 'normal' cards. The other thing that makes it really well suited to holidays is that you can start a game and call a halt mid-way, keep the scores and who's-on-what-Phase to one side and pick up again in a day or so. This is a great game which all of my family would recommend.