Skip-Bo Rules icon

Skip-Bo Rules

– what are the rules for skip bo?

If you love card games like Uno, where the game’s objective is to win by playing all the cards in your stockpile, don’t miss Skip-Bo! In this article, you will find the Skip-Bo rules and great tips and strategies to win.

Did you know that Skip-Bo is produced by Mattel that also produce the game, Uno?

In fact, this is just one of many similarities. The Skip-Bo gampelay is similar to Uno and a great alternative to the popular card game. And yes, it is just as much fun!

The card game is played with 2 to 6 players, and therefore it fits well when you are a larger group that wants to play together.
Let us have a look at how to play Skip-Bo and also at how you can understand the Skip-Bo rules and enjoy the game faster and easier. But first, what is Skip-Bo?

Skip-bo rules
Skip Bo

What is Skip-Bo?

Skip-Bo is the same thing as a card game for kids and adults from Mattel. This is a game for 2 to 6 players, which can also be played solo if you use an online version or an app. The objective of Skip-Bo is to finish off the cards in a personal stockpile. It is also possible to collect points and to win by reaching a specific sum of points first.

Skip-Bo is quite similar to Solitaire in that you build series with numbers. But you don’t have to think about color. Skip-Bo can also be compared to card games like Phase 10 and Uno.

How to play Skip-Bo

How to play Skip-Bo

As mentioned, the objective of Skip-Bo is to get rid of all the cards in your stockpile. Before the game can begin, a dealer should shuffle the cards well. You don’t want the cards to stay in the same order after having completed around, so learn good techniques for this. After shuffling, it is time to deal.

Deal the Skip-Bo cards

Deal the Skip-Bo cards

When you are playing with 2-4 players, each player gets 30 cards. The dealer should deal them one by one into a pile for each player. If you are playing with 5 or 6 players, each player gets 20 cards.

After dealing, the remaining cards are placed in the middle of the table as a draw pile. It is essential to make sure that the cards dealt to each player remain face down. This pile is going to be known as the stock or the stockpile. The top card of each player’s stockpile will be flipped up.

All Skip-Bo cards
Skip-Bo instructions

Skip-Bo instructions

To get rid of the cards from your stockpile, you need to use them to build on the building piles that will be created around the draw pile on the table. There can be up to 4 building piles on the table.

The common stockpiles on the table are started with a 1 and are then built up to 12. You can use a Skip-Bo card that functions as a Wild card. This card can be used as any number to build up the common piles with.

Skip-Bo rules for play

Skip-Bo rules for play

The play will start with the person to the left of the dealer. Each player’s turn begins by drawing 5 cards from the draw pile. It is possible to create a pile in the middle with a 1 or with a Skip-Bo card.

If you have a 1 on your stockpile, you can use this card to begin a common pile on the table. Each player’s turn ends with a discard card placed for all to see on the table. You will always have your own discard pile. In fact, you can make up to 4 different discard piles. These should be placed in a row next to your stockpile.

If you manage to play with all the 5 cards that you draw from the draw pile, you will draw another 5 cards and continue playing with them. You go on like this till you have no more moves to make. Then you discard a card and let the next player have their turn.

Each turn will begin by drawing enough cards to have 5 on your hand. If you are left with 3 after your last turn, your new turn starts by drawing 2 new cards from the draw pile.

You don’t have to play cards even if you can

You don’t have to play cards even if you can

An important Skip-Bo rule is that you don’t have to play a card just because you can. You may, for example, choose to place a 10 on your discard pile, although it would have fit on a 9 on one of the common stockpiles.
The turn moves clockwise, and the game continues till one player has emptied his personal stockpile.

Important to remember

Important to remember

It might take a few rounds till you get the hang of the Skip-Bo directions and rules for stockpiles and more. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind:

  • Players can have up to 4 discard piles.
  • Any number of cards can be stacked in a discard pile. Number or color is not essential here.
  • You can only play the top card of a discard pile.
  • Once a common stockpile gets to 12, it can be discarded. Now it is possible to start a new discard pile in the same place.
  • When there are no more cards in the draw pile, it is possible to shuffle completed building piles to make a new draw pile.
Skip-Bo instructions for scoring

Skip-Bo instructions for scoring

You can play Skip-Bo with different rules for how to win the game. One way is to declare the first one to complete his stockpile winner of the game. Another is to keep score and play more rounds.

When you choose the second option, you get a longer game. This works much like Uno, Phase 10, or Dos would.

The points for Skip-Bo cards are the following:

  • Stock cards – 5 points per card
  • Winning the round – 25 points

If you are keeping score, the first player to reach 500 points is the winner. You might have to play many rounds to get to this score. This will take much more time than letting the first to empty his stockpile be the winner of the game.

Some good hacks to remember for a shorter Skip-Bo game

Some good hacks to remember for a shorter Skip-Bo game

The Skip-Bo rules are not set in stone. If you want a faster game, you could opt for dealing each player with 10 cards instead of 20 or 30. You can also choose rules for who wins the game. To make the game a bit shorter, you could decide that the winner needs 200 points rather than 500.

Skip-Bo dictionary

Skip-Bo dictionary

There aren’t many difficult words to remember in this game. Basically, you only need to remember 4 different terms:

  1. Stockpile – This is the pile that each player is dealt at the beginning of the game. This is the pile you need to empty to win the game.
  2. Draw pile – After dealing the stockpiles to the players, the remaining cards in the deck become the draw pile. It if from here new cards are drawn.
  3. Building pile – There are 4 building piles on the table. They will build from 1 to 12 in regular Skip-Bo, after which they are discarded and can be used as draw piles.
  4. Discard pile – You can discard 1 card each turn on your 3 discard piles that you place right next to your stockpile. 
What do you need to play

What do you need to play?

To play a Skip-Bo game, you need the unique Skip-Bo card deck. Apart from this, you should also have:

  • A table with space enough for all the stockpiles and players to sit comfortably without anyone seeing their cards.
  • A sheet to keep score on.
  • A piece of paper.

You could still play the game when traveling or outdoors. But it is advisable to have a larger table to sit by. If you are only 2 players, playing Skip-Bo on a car seat or airplane tray might work fine.

Skip-Bo online

Skip-Bo online

It is possible to play Skip-Bo for free online. You can play directly in your browser or download software or a Skip-Bo app to your phone. You basically have 3 options when you play online Skip-Bo:

  1. Play alone against the software. The software will act as your opponent and shuffle and deal the cards for you.
  2. Play against players that log in to the same game or use the same app, taking turns with you to hold the phone or the computer mouse.
  3. Invite players in a special Skip-Bo room created online. This makes it possible to play with friends and family that are not physically present where you are.

You could also play in a multiplayer room with people that you don’t know. There is a great interest in Skip-Bo card games all over the world. Therefore, you should be able to launch a multiplayer Skip-Bo game online at any hour.

You can easily find a Skip-Bo free download online. The game is also available in app stores. Remember to check if you are playing the original Skip-Bo online or some other version. This will influence the Skip-Bo rules of the game.

But when you choose to play Skip-Bo online free, you will also find the instructions for the specific games. Take a moment and read them before you start to truly enjoy your Skip-Bo online game!

Mattel has cooperated with app makers to launch unique apps like Skip-Bo Pro. Since this Skip-Bo app works both for Android and iOS, you can find it in the Apple and the Google Play store.

Unique online Skip-Bo games

Unique online Skip-Bo games

There are twists to this classic game online. One is Skip-Bo Castaway Capers. The Skip-Bo Castaway Caper game is a combination of a computer game and the Skip-Bo card game. In the Skip-Bo Castaway Caper game, you will play on an island where your ship washes up.

The island is not deserted. It has interesting people and a volcano. By playing Skip-Bo with the inhabitants, you can calm the volcano that is about to burst. You choose from 4 game modes and enjoy mini-games as well as endless family games.

This is truly one of the best online versions of Skip-Bo, but it is not free. In fact, it costs pretty much as a regular Skip-Bo card game would. But you get unlimited play, you can play on 10 different islands for variation, and you are not dependent on other people to play Skip-Bo.

Just make sure to read the different Skip-Bo instructions for different mini-games. You always need to know the Skip-Bo game rules before you play!

What is the best, Skip-Bo online or the classic Skip-Bo card game

What is the best, Skip-Bo online or the classic Skip-Bo card game?

The gameplay is the same when you play Skip-Bo on line. But the feeling is different when you play on a screen. You don’t have to shuffle, deal, and flip the actual cards. Some think that this is convenient, while others enjoy the classic feeling of playing card games better.

But how do you play Skip-Bo when you are sitting in a crowded car, and several friends want to join in? In this situation, it might actually be much wiser to launch the game through an app and invite everyone to a Skip-Bo room online.

But once you have the possibility to gather around a table and use a real Skip-Bo deck, this might be your best choice. This is a very social game. Part of the fun is figuring out what cards the other players have on hand by looking at what they deal with and their facial expressions.

Free Skip-Bo online has its advantages, but the regular Skip-Bo card game is not expensive. Many would agree that it is the best choice for families and friends looking for something nice to do together.

Skip-Bo junior rules

Skip-Bo junior rules

If you want to adjust the Skip-Bo game to younger players, you can opt for the Skip-Bo junior rules. This version fits very well when playing with a group of children or beginners that need more straightforward Skip-Bo rules.

The objective of Skip-Bo junior

The objective of Skip-Bo junior

If you play Skip-Bo junior, the objective is still to get rid of all the cards in your stockpile.

How to play Skip-Bo junior

How to play Skip-Bo junior

The oldest player is the dealer. The dealer will deal each player 10 cards face down on the table. These are the stockpiles. When this is done:

  • Each player flips the top card of their stockpile face up.
  • The youngest player goes first. After that, the play proceeds clockwise. A grown-up should show what clockwise is if the children playing are too young to know.
  • When it is your turn in this easier version of Skip-Bo, the dealer will deal you 3 cards face up in 3 separate piles next to your stockpile.
  • When you already have 3 discard piles, the dealer will deal the 3 cards on top of them.
  • There are 4 building piles in the middle of the table. They start at 1 and then count up to 10.
  • When it is your turn, you can play any face-up card in front of you. It can be the card on your stockpile or any of the cards on the discard piles. You need to build on the common stockpiles starting from 1 and building up to 10.

When a building pile reaches 10, it is removed so that a new pile can take its place. There are Wild cards. They count as any number and can be used freely to build on the common piles.

If the draw pile is out of cards, you should shuffle the cards of the discarded building piles and use them as the draw pile.

As you can see, the rules for Skip-Bo junior are pretty similar to the regular Skip-Bo rules. What makes it a bit easier to play is that the dealer deals you all of the 3 discard piles at once and that you don’t have to keep track of any score.

Also, you will find that the special deck used for Skip-Bo junior is very playful. It fits young children well. Even if this type of Skip-Bo is simpler, it is always advisable to go through the instructions for Skip-Bo junior with everyone at the table before launching into the game.

What are the rules of Skip-Bo

What are the rules of Skip-Bo?

With so many possible versions of Skip-Bo, you might find yourself wondering, what are the rules of Skip-Bo? Especially if you have an older game and did not keep its instruction manual. Before you play with a deck of Skip-Bo cards or regular cards, look at the Skip-Bo rules online.

You can download a Skip-Bo rules pdf and print it or print the rules on this page. Read the rules out loud for everyone that wants to participate. Also, make sure you agree on whether you are playing with points, or simply let the first one to empty his personal stack pile is the winner.

Don’t miss the videos with Skip-Bo rules that you find online. These are very helpful regardless of the version that you want to play. You should also remember that a Skip-Bo app or a game like Skip-Bo Castaway Capers will come with information about how to play.

Skip-Bo Deluxe

Skip-Bo Deluxe

There is a version of Skip-Bo called Skip-Bo Deluxe. This is basically the same game as the original with a different design to make it easier to play. The rules for Skip-Bo Deluxe are the same, but you get a folding board made for 4 players.

The folding board has marked areas for the stockpiles, discard piles, and the 4 building piles. This makes it easier to keep track of the game. Especially if you are going to play on a smaller table.

But be aware that the Skip-Bo Deluxe costs a lot more than the regular version. Since it is not manufactured, the price is very high. Many jump at the opportunity to buy this version online as a collectible or enjoy the folding board design.

Where can you buy Skip-Bo games

Where can you buy Skip-Bo games?

You can order a Skip-Bo card game online from many different stores. Skip-Bo from Walmart is the same as the games found on sites like Amazon. The price might differ a bit, and this is good to be aware of.

You might be able to find Skip-Bo games second-hand on special forums online. There is a particular interest in vintage Skip-Bo games. Some don’t even let their kids touch their original Skip-Bo games because of their worth as antique games!

You should obviously be able to buy a Skip-Bo game in your local toy store. This is one of the most popular card games for kids, so it is a staple in this type of store. But if you are looking for variety, you will find a better selection in stores online.

The Skip-Bo apps and free online Skip-Bo are available online on special game sites and in the Play app store, and on Google Play.

Skip-Bo strategy

Skip-Bo strategy

If you want to win Skip-Bo by playing smart, you need to remember a few strategies that can help you there. Here are some winning strategies for Skip-Bo:

  • Make an order in your discard pile. If you keep order in your discard pile, you will keep better track of it. It will also make it easier to make use of these cards. Place the cards in descending order. 
  • Clean out discard piles if you can. It is not good to fill these piles with a mumbo jumbo of cards. If they are neat and tidy, it will be easier to build on the common building piles on the table.
  • Make use of the cards in your hand. If you can play all the cards on your hand and place them on building piles, do that! This will let you draw new cards, and that is very good. This can give you more chances to get rid of your stockpile.
  • Skip-Bo cards are assets. If you get Skip-Bo cards, it is wise to wait a bit with using them. Only 18 of the 162 Skip-Bo cards are Wilds. Make sure to have these on hand when you really need them!
  • Place the same cards together on the discard pile. If you get many of the same numbers, it is good to place them on the same discard pile. This is better than putting them in sequence with other cards.
  • Practice! Play many times to learn what happens when you do what you do. Many Skip-Bo strategies are best understood when you play a lot.
  • Practice with a Skip-Bo app. Use an app to play more when you are alone. You can always play alone against the app if no one wants to sit down for a Skip-Bo game around your table.

As with so many other board and card games, practice makes perfect. This is a game to come back to time and time again. Each round will challenge and develop your understanding of tactics and strategy.

Don’t forget to play with a poker face and to keep tabs on your opponents. You can develop a strategy based on reactions which is a lot of fun. This works a little bit like poker, where you can use facial expressions to trick your co-players into believing you have a particular type of hand.

Playing Skip-Bo with young children

Playing Skip-Bo with young children

If you are a parent or a grandparent that wants to play Skip-Bo with children, it can be a good idea to look for a Skip-Bo junior game. Especially if you are going to play with very young children. You should also prepare to explain the Skip-Bo rules in a simple and straightforward manner.

You can start by playing the game with open cards. This is an easy way for a child to understand the rules of Skip-Bo. This is regardless of version. Also, consider skipping the scoring. Simply play till one player wins by emptying their stockpile.

Since it is hard for very young children that can’t count to play Skip-Bo, it is better to have them busy with something else when you play. If tiny children sit by the table, they could disturb by grabbing cards, and that will make it hard to truly enjoy the game.

10 questions and answers about Skip-Bo

10 questions and answers about Skip-Bo

Here are some common questions about Skip-Bo and the answers to help you understand and enjoy the game better.

1. How many cards in Skip-Bo?

In Skip-Bo, you have 162 cards. You get 12 of each number, 1 to 12. And there are 18 Skip-Bo Wilds.

2. Can I get a Skip-Bo download for free?

Yes, you can download Skip-Bo for free to your computer or to your mobile unit.

3. How many play Skip-Bo?

There are people all over the world busy playing Skip-Bo online or with regular card decks. This is a very popular game worldwide, so there are millions of players playing Skip-Bo every day.

4. Where do I find the Skip-Bo junior instructions?

You should get the instructions for Skip-Bo junior in the package of the card deck. If you lost the instructions, you could find the Skip-Bo junior directions online. Watch a Skip-Bo Youtube video or read a manual like the one you see above.

5. Can I get a free Skip-Bo game?

If someone wants to give you their Skip-Bo game for free, you could. But if you want the classic card game, you will have to pay at least a few dollars for it. One way to get free Skip-Bo could be to use regular card decks if you have them at home.

6. Is Skip-Bo Castaway difficult?

No, but like with every game, you must learn the Skip-Bo rules. This game has some effects that make it a bit different from other online Skip-Bo games and Skip-Bo apps.

7. How much is a regular Skip-Bo card game?

Around 6 dollars is a typical price for a new Skip-Bo card deck. But you might find it cheaper or perhaps more expensive if it is a Skip-Bo deluxe version.

8. Can you play Skip-Bo with a regular card deck?

Yes, this is possible. Use 3 decks of regular playing cards. Ace is 1, Jack 11, and Queen 12. The Kings and Jokers will function as Wild cards.

9. How long is a Skip-Bo game?

You can finish a regular Skip-Bo game within 15-minutes. If you decide to collect points and reach 500 to win, it might take an hour or more to complete the game. Skip-Bo junior is faster. A round should be over within 20 minutes.

10. What is the difference between Uno and Skip-Bo?

These two card games have a similar target but different rules. While they both want you to finish off your cards to win, this is done with varying amounts of cards. Uno has 112 cards, and Skip-Bo includes 162 cards. In Skip-Bo, the numbers are the only focus. Uno also has an element of color.

Interesting Skip-Bo facts

Interesting Skip-Bo facts

There is so much to say about Skip-Bo rules and the origins of this game so let’s look at some interesting facts that you might not have been aware of.

The game was invented in Brownfield.

Skip-Bo was invented by Minnie Hazel Bowman in Brownfield. She went by the nickname Skip. She took an old card game and revamped it to create Skip-Bo.

Minnie Hazel is said to have developed the game in 1967 for her sick husband in the hospital. She made it to give him something interesting to do while he was recovering.

The game became very popular.

In the 1960’s it was possible to call Skip-Bowman to order the game. Her number was on the boxes! Skip-Bowman died at 86 in 2001. Her game was already a big hit during her lifetime. But few know that the name of it is actually the nickname of an American businesswoman.

The original price was $1.95.

Skip priced the game at $1.95 if you bought one game. But it was also possible for vendors to buy the game at a better price in bulks.

The original Skip-Bo factory is now a restaurant.

The building where Skip-Bo games were initially manufactured is still standing in Brownfield. Later, this building housed a Mexican restaurant. And this restaurant agreed with Ms. Bowman that they would leave the Skip-Bo sign on top of the building in its place.

This marks both where the game was born and where Skip herself was born right across from the Terry County Courthouse. Skip-Bo is definitely an integral part of Brownfield’s history. The building where the game was created is seen as an essential landmark.

Skip-Bo was sold.

Interestingly there are different versions of the story about how the Skip-Bo game was sold. Some say that Skip got one million dollars and 50 cents per box of Skip-Bo when she sold it to Uno Inc. Another story reports that she got 5 million dollars from Uno for her Skip-Bo game.
In the end, Mattel bought Skip-Bo, and the game fits right in with other popular titles from the same company like Uno, Phase 10, and the Dos card game.

Played out like Solitaire.

The original type of Skip-Bo that Ms. Bowman based her game on was played more like Solitaire. It was a game that became very popular in the USA during the First World War. It was probably played at the same time by soldiers and servicemen stationed in Europe.

Player reviews of Skip-Bo

Player reviews of Skip-Bo

If you’ve never played Skip-Bo, you might wonder if this is a game to invest in. A good source is all the player reviews that you can find online. We had a look at these to determine what players have to say about the game.

Here are some of the most important points:

Very high user ratings

When looking at different online platforms that sell Skip-Bo games, it becomes clear that this is one of the most popular card games around. About 90 percent of Skip-Bo reviews give the game 5 stars!

Some users give lower grades when they buy a version with a card design that they are not crazy about. But the actual game gets top grades across the board and in different countries.

Perfect for homeschooling

Parents who homeschool their kids give a thumbs up for Skip-Bo as a good learning game. It stimulates mathematical thinking and lets the kids practice numbers in a fun and relaxed way. Kids as young as 5 can get started with this game to practice numbers!

Senior players

There are also plenty of seniors enjoying this game. It makes for an enjoyable game to enjoy together at home or during trips like cruises where there is a lot of free time at hand. Senior players also like to get this game to play with their grandchildren.

Some add cards

Some players love Skip-Bo games so much that they buy double sets to add cards to the game. This makes it possible to play longer. It is possible to build a larger Skip-Bo game by creating it from regular card decks.

Easy for kids and challenging for adults

This is really one of the most outstanding advantages to this game. Kids find it fun to play, and adults think that Skip-Bo is challenging. It all depends on how you approach the game and how you understand the strategy. Adults can learn more about strategy and play with logic and a plan, making the game a lot more exciting.

A family game for all

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that player reviews keep calling this the perfect family game. That is because it fits all ages and it brings us all together around the table. It is a game you can use when traveling and when you sit inside during holiday nights or rainy weekends.

Don't Forget to check out our Uno articles!

If you enjoy this article and guide, you might be interested in other versions of Uno. If that is the case, make sure to check out some of our other articles. In our article section, you can find all our articles in one place. You can read more about the Uno attack rules and exciting Uno game with a shooter, or if you are a fan of pixels and Minecraft, the Uno Minecraft rules might be of interest.

But that is far from all our articles; we also have a bunch of other Uno versions like Uno Flip, Dos card game, Uno Stacko, and Uno Spin. But if that is not enough, make sure to check out the Super Mario Uno Rules, Uno Emoji rules, or Uno Dare rules.

You will also find a bunch of articles about different subjects related to the game, like the history of Uno, why the Uno skip card has taken on a life of its own, and about the ancestor game of Uno Crazy Eights. Last but not least don't forget to check out our articles about games similar to Uno, like Phase 10 and Skip-Bo as well. Still there is more so make sure to check out our other articles as well!