Friday, February 10, 2012

The Gaming Corner: Phase 10

When I was a kid, my family used to play Phase 10 and it always seemed to take forever to finish the game. Now that I am older, I have tried it again and find it much more fun, mainly because I no longer hold the belief that all 10 phases need to be completed in one sitting.

Cards of Phase 10
To play this game, each player is dealt ten cards from the deck. Cards are of four colors and number 1 to 12. There are also wild cards that can count as any number of any color and skip cards which can only be used to cause the next player to lose his or her turn. Throughout the game, your goal is to collect in your hand one of the phases (listed on a card, these range from 2 sets of 3 to 7 cards of 1 color to 1 set of 4 and 1 run of 4). Once you have a phase in your hand, you can play it on the table.

A completed phase - this phase needed a run of 4 and a set of 4
Once you have played a phase, you then try to be the first player to empty his/her hand of cards by 'hitting' played phases, including phases that belong to the other players. Hitting is just playing your card onto a phase (making a set bigger, run longer, or matching yet another card to that phase of matching colors). You start each turn by drawing a card, either from the top of the draw pile or the top of the discard pile and you end each turn by discarding a card. Once a player has gone out, the hand is over. Anyone who played their phase gets to move onto the next phase in the next hand, but anyone who didn't must strive for the same phase again during the next hand.

A completed round - the bottom player went out first. Oddly
enough, only the top player's phase was 'hit' during this round.
Since both players played their phases, they will advance to the
next phase in the next round they play.
The winner is the player who completes the tenth phase first (ties go to the player who goes out of cards that round). If more than one player completes the tenth phase at the same time and neither went out of cards in the last round, there is a scoring system to determine the winner. If somehow that is a tie as well, those two players play the tenth phase again and see who wins, repeating if necessary.

If you try to complete the whole game in one sitting, you will find the game to become a little tedious, but when taken in small doses, this game is good fun.

-Gamer Jason

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