A to Z Gaming: Phase 10

Phase 10 discard and draw pile

We played a twist on rummy in Phase 10, the next game in our A-Z game shelf play-through.

Basic Info: Phase 10
Players: 2-6
Time: 45 Minutes
Designers: Kenneth Johnson
Artists: Uncredited
Publisher: Fundex





Phase 10 is a card game where players work their way through different “phases” hand-by-hand collecting sets, runs, or flushes. Whoever works their way through all of the phases first will win.

The game is set up by shuffling the deck, dealing a hand of ten cards to each player, placing the deck in the center of the table, and turning over one card to form a discard pile. Each player also gets a helper card showing the different phases they’ll be working through.

On their turn, the player draws a card either the top of the discard pile or the top of the deck. If they have the cards for the phase they’re working on, they can lay the cards down in front of them. The phases can include sets of the same number, runs of numbers, or cards of the same color. After they’ve laid down their “phase” cards, they can also add cards to the sets and runs in front of them or any other player. Their turn ends by discarding a card.

The round ends whenever a player gets rid of all the cards in their hand. Players tally up their scores, based on how many cards they have in-hand — this is used as a tie-breaker at the end of the game. Then, anyone who has finished a phase that round will start the next phase with the next hand; anyone who did not finish a phase will re-play the phase they didn’t make. When someone completes the tenth phase the game ends after that round, and that player wins. If more than one person completes the tenth phase that round, the player with the lowest score wins.

I have no idea when we got this game … or why. It might be that I inherited it from my Mom when she moved to a smaller house. I suspect we played this game when I was young after big family dinners with my extended family. But it’s really not a fun game — it’s a game you play when you want to waste a lot of time. There’s no real strategic decisions, and much of the game seemed to be just about drawing and discarding cards until you got the exact one you were waiting for.

How is it as a 2-player game? Phase 10 is a terrible 2-player game. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it much with more players, but with just 2, there aren’t a lot of places to play additional cards, so much of the game is slogging your way through the deck, waiting for the one or two cards you need.

How about the art and component quality? I mean, it’s just a deck of cards. They’re fine. But in our deck, it was super easy to confuse the 6s and 9s.

Will this stay in my collection? Nope. This is never hitting the table again.

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