Skip – Bo
by Amanda Nettgen
Number of players:
2-6 (individually or partnered)
While you’ll never find out what the name Skip-Bo means, the game itself is fun. There’s just something about laying down cards in a group-like manner that makes for an intriguing afternoon.
The game and gameplay
Skip-Bo comes with a whopping 162 cards (18 of which are wild and bear its name). If you’re playing with four people or less, each person gets 30 cards. For five or six players, hand out 20.
The cards that were distributed form each Skip-Bo contestant’s STOCK (pile, not DOW JONES). Always have the top card of your STOCK facing up so that you can be quick to get rid of it.
Remaining cards form the DRAW stack in the middle of the table.
A highest-card draw determines who goes first. On his turn, a contestant will first pick up a total of five cards from the DRAW pile. Hopefully he’ll have received a number 1 or a SKIP-BO card so he has something to work with.
These cards are the only cards that can start a communal BUILDING space in the center your gaming surface (forming piles, not houses). The contender proceeds to place any appropriate cards in sequential order on the table, one on top of the other.
Get SKIP-BO Castaway Caper™ FREE with a 30-day trial to GamePass!
He’s aiming to include the top card of his STOCK pile with as many moves as possible. When the player can’t do anything or simply doesn’t want to, he puts down one of the cards from his original five, forming one of four personal discard heaps. His turn is now over.
Play continues around the table,
with each competitor drawing a few fresh cards with each go (and drawing again if he runs out during his turn). Each time he is performing a combination of card purges, with the main goal being to eliminate members of his STOCK pile.Players can employ what’s in their DRAW hand as well as the top residents of their four DISCARD collections to get the numbers in the BUILDING stations up to what is next to go in their STOCK group. Don’t forget, SKIP-BOs are wild!
It is the participant who reduces his STOCK pile to zero who gets the points for that round (25 for winning, plus an additional five for each of the sucker’s remaining STOCK cards). Play to 500 if you like.
Pros and cons
Despite being nearly all luck (the only strategy involved is keeping an eye on your opponents’ piles and try to thwart them), Skip-Bo is a blast. It’s a great choice to play with the family.
One negative about Skip-Bo is that it’s hard to play it competitively in a true strategy sense. I’d recommend another card game called Spite and Malice if you prefer to have more of a say in stopping your opponents.
Spite and Malice plays almost exactly like Skip-Bo, except that there are fewer cards in your STOCK pile and you can use Malice cards to mess up a fellow player.
Plus, it’s a lot more visually interesting to look at than Skip-Bo, as all cards depict cats performing painful antics (although they might offend some).
With 162 cards, Skip-Bo is also not very travel-friendly.
Skip-Bo will complement any family game night for when you’re in the mood for cards. While the game is not skill-based, it teaches skills in youngsters.