Pros: complex game, can be very entertaining in large groups
Cons: Might get very long, people who fall behind become disinterested
Phase-10 was on the shelf at my local Wal-Mart, and we thought that we would give it a try. It is a card game with a base deck of 108 cards, that come in four different shaded colors of 24 each. The colors do not play a factor in the game itself, but are interesting themselves. Now, I must admit that the main reason we purchased this game (for $3.99), was because it was cheap, and we were looking for something to do. That said, I will try to explain the basics of the game itself.
The premise of the game, is to go through 10 different phases (or different hands) before someone wins the game. The first person to finish all 10 is the winner. The phases are set up like this:
Phase1: 2 sets of 3
Phase2: 1 set of 3 and one run of 4
Phase3: 1 set of 4 and one run of 4
Phase4: 1 run of 7
Phase5: 1 run of 8
Phase6: 1 run of 9
Phase7: 2 sets of 4
Phase8: 7 cards of 1 color
Phase9: 1 set of 5 and 1 set of 2
Phase10: 1 set of 5 and I set of 3
Each hand proceeds by trying to get what the phase is. If you are on phase one, then you are trying to get 2 sets of 3. What that means, is that you must get 3 of a kind two times. (An example would be 3 sixes, and 3 eights). When you get that, you lay it down, and you will then move on to the next phase when the current hand is done. In the deck, you also have wild cards that can be used in the place of any number that you want in your hand. Keep in mind that you can only work on one phase per hand, and that you can not just move on if you have something that is needed in a phase later on in the game. This is what can make the game a lot longer sometimes, because not everyone is going to make the phase and move on to the next level. So, while some people are trying to catch-up, others may be not moving up too.
Everyone is dealt 10 cards at the start, and then one is flipped up from the pile at the center. This pile them becomes a draw pile, which you can use to your advantage much like in rummy. You can also use the discard pile back to any card that you might be able to use. And remember, you do not have to stop at just 3 of a kind. If you have 5 of a kind, then play that too. The faster you get rid of all your cards, the faster you can get to that next phase!
The game is very easy to play, as long as you keep the rules of the phases in front of you. After a while you will remember them, but just in case you do not, they insert a couple of cards that just show you what the phases are on them. If you are in the market for an interesting game that is easy to learn and win at, I highly recommend this one. It is a game that you do not have to be a card-shark at to master, and is built to have the whole family participate in it.