PHASE 10 CARD GAME RULES


phase 10 rules title

OBJECTIVE OF PHASE 10: Complete all ten phases first.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 6 players

MATERIALS: Phase 10 deck (110 cards)

TYPE OF GAME: Card game

AUDIENCE: All ages



OVERVIEW OF PHASE 10

This post contains partner links for various products.

No products found.

Phase 10 is a card game from the same company that brought us Uno, but it is played similarly to Rummy, another classic card game. This is a fun and challenging card game that involves some strategy. In Phase 10, there are 10 different Phases that you must fulfill to win the game. This game was invented in 1982 and is now sold by Mattel.

Like Uno, in this game, you will also try to shed your cards. However, unlike Uno, this is done through melding cards into Phases. Sounds intriguing, right? In this article, we will dive into how to play Phase 10 and all the rules you possibly need to know to play the game.

SETUP OF PHASE 10

Before we begin, let’s get familiar with the Phase 10 cards and Phases, as they form the backbone of the game.

CARDS

A Phase 10 box consists of 110 cards:

  • 2 reference cards
  • 24 x 4 number cards in red, blue, yellow, and green, numbering from 1-12 twice
  • 4 Skip cards: If you discard this card, it forces the next player in the rotation to forfeit their turn. If it is the first card flipped over, the first player loses a turn. You cannot pick up this card from the discard pile.
  • 8 Wild cards: These cards can represent any other card in a Phase. However, it can not be reused.

PHASES

A Phase is a set of particular cards that fulfill the criteria for a Phase. You must reveal the cards flat on the table for others to see. If you cannot complete a Phase in a single hand, you must try again the next hand; you cannot jump around or skip Phases. A Phase 10 hand ends when at least one player either forms a Phase or discards all the cards in their hand. The Phases are as follows:

  • 1: 2 sets of 3 cards (two 3 of a kind)
  • 2: 1 set of 3 cards & 1 run (sequence) of 4 cards
  • 3: 1 set of 4 cards & 1 run of 4 cards
  • 4: 1 run of 7 cards
  • 5: 1 run of 8 cards
  • 6: 1 run of 9 cards
  • 7: 2 sets of 4 cards
  • 8: 7 cards of 1 color
  • 9: 1 set of 5 cards & 1 set of 2 cards
  • 10: 1 set of 5 cards & 1 set of 3 cards

Set: A set is a group of cards of the same rank (same number); color does not matter.

Run: A run is a sequential set of cards, i.e. a run of 7: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Color does not matter.

DEALING THE CARDS

Now that you are more familiar with the cards and the Phases, let’s deal the cards!

First, pick a dealer, who will shuffle the cards and pass each player 10 cards. All the remaining cards form the draw pile. Keep your hand secret, and don’t show them to any other players. Finally, flip over the top card of the draw pile and place it face-up next to the draw pile to make the discard pile.

HOW TO PLAY PHASE 10: PHASE 10 RULES

Now that everything is set up, it’s time to start learning how to play Phase 10 according to the official rules! The player to the left of the dealer begins the game.

Players all start on the same Phase: Phase One. On each turn, players will:

  1. Draw the top card from either the discard or draw pile.
  2. Make a Phase. If you have all the cards you need to make a Phase, place the cards that complete the Phase in front of you. Note that you can lay down more than the minimum requirement for making a Phase, but only if the additional cards can directly be added to the cards in the Phase. For example, if you are on Phase 4 (1 run of 7 cards), you can lay down 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
  3. To end your turn, you must discard one card from your hand into the discard pile.

Then, play goes around in a clockwise direction.

HITTING

Once you make a Phase, you can start getting rid of the other cards in your hand by hitting. You can hit as many cards as you can on your turn.

To hit, discard cards in your hand and add them to your Phase or to an opponent’s completed Phase. This is a strategic measure to use if you wish to be the first player to discard all your cards for this hand.

After hitting the cards, you still need to discard one card to end your turn.

For example, after completing Phase 1, which is 2 sets of three of a kind, you put down 3, 3, 3, and 6, 6, 6. And another player has also completed Phase 1, laying down 4, 4, 4, and 10, 10, 10. In your current hand, you have a 4, 10, and a Wild. In this case, on your turn, you first draw a card and then put the 4 and 10 in your other player’s Phase and place the Wild card wherever you want. Finally, you discard the extra card you drew to end your turn and win the hand.

NEW PHASE

Play continues clockwise until a player completes their Phase and runs out of cards. The first player to run out of cards wins that hand. Players must record their scores at the end of the hand (more on this below). Then, the player to the dealer’s left is the dealer for the new hand.

Gather all the cards back to the deck and shuffle them again. Deal 10 new cards to each player and flip over one card from the draw pile to create the discard pile once again.

Now, a new hand begins. All players who managed to complete the previous Phase may move on to the next Phase. However, players who couldn’t complete the previous Phase before the hand was over must try to complete Phase again. This means not all players will be working on the same Phase at the same hand.

SCORING IN PHASE 10

Being the first player to go out in a round means you get to advance to the next Phase and hand. Other players who completed the Phase can also advance to the next Phase in the next hand – even if they didn’t manage to get rid of all of their cards. But don’t worry; finishing first and winning a hand has an added benefit. All the remaining players must count the remaining cards they have in their hand.

Each Phase 10 card is worth the following points:

  • Number Cards 1-9: 5 points
  • Number Cards 10-12: 10 points
  • Skip Cards: 15 points
  • Wild Cards: 25 points

Unlike most games, gaining points is not ideal; you want to be the player with the lowest score. Think: golf. Obviously, the winner of the hand won’t have any cards to count, so they will have a score of 0.

END OF GAME

There are two ways to determine a winner:

  1. If only one person completes Phase 10, that player wins.
  2. If 2+ players complete Phase 10, the player with the lowest score wins.

However, if, miraculously, the scores are tied, the tied players play the last hand, Phase 10, once again, and the first player who goes out wins!

Like this game? Check out our list of the 20 best card games for kids!

PHASE 10 ALTERNATIVE RULES

Phase 10 can be a pretty long game. If you’re short on time or simply don’t have the attention span to dedicate yourself to the entire game, we’ve got you covered with these Phase 10 alternative rules.

PLAY 10 HANDS NOT PHASES

Let us rephrase. Instead of playing the 10 Phrases with the rule that every player must complete a Phrase before they can move onto the next one, simply play Phase 1 in the first hand, Phase 2 in the second hand, and so on.

The player with the lowest score at the end of the game wins.

FEWER PHASES

The other option is to simply play fewer Phases. As a group, you can decide to play until Phase 5 or 6, or you can decide on specific Phases you want to play.

PHASE 10 STRATEGY

Phase 10 is a relatively simple game that anyone can play. But here are some strategies and tips to keep in mind to help you win:

  • Play as many cards as you can in one go.
  • Don’t worry about the other players. Focus on your own cards, completing your Phase, and going out.
  • Hit whenever you can! Look at both your completed Phase as well as your opponents’ completed Phases to see where you can hit.

FAQ

Is Phase 10 Similar to Uno?

Although Phase 10 is created by the same people that made Uno, this game more resembles Rummy games (like Five Crowns) than Uno. With that said, the game does have elements of both games. Its similarity to Uno lies in the fact that they are both card shedding games.

Can You Play Phase 10 With Regular Cards?

Yes, definitely! You could play Phase 10 with two regular card decks. Whether you buy the official cards or use several standard card decks is up to you!

Is There a Phase 10 Dice Game?

Yes, there is! The creators of this game have also created a dice version of Phase 10 that you can enjoy with your friends and family.

Searching for some more awesome card games? Check out our rules for Hearts and Spades, two iconic card games.

Mia Kim

70 thoughts on “PHASE 10 CARD GAME RULES”

    • Hi Sandy, unfortunately not. In Phase 10 cards must be played in ascending order and the order does not revert back to 1 after the 12.

    • Hi Sharon, Unfortunately, I have never heard of a partner variation of Phase 10. I did some digging and could not find any official, or unofficial rule system either.

      • 2 players:
        I pluck a card and skip the other player. Do I have to pluck again before playing

        • Hi Travis, in a 2 player game if you use your turn to skip the other player then yes your new turn starts and you must draw a new card for the turn. I hope this helps.

  1. The first player to complete Phase 10 wins, they will always have the lowest score. If multiple players reach Phase 10, the player with the lowest score is the winner. If the scores happen to be tied, replay the last hand an attempt to Phase 10 again. The first player that goes out wins the game.

    This rule doesn’t make sense to me. I’m guessing but I think this is what is meant. If you have completed phase 10 and gone out you win except if other players have already completed phase 10. If that is the case you add up all the points from this hand and all previous hands and the player with the lowest number wins. If there is a tie here than those that tied play another hand at the phase 10 level and the first out wins.

    Am I close?

    • Hi Landis, I will edit the rules for clarity, thank you for pointing out this issue. What is meant is, if multiple people complete phase 10 within the same round then points come into play. If a player is the only one to complete phase 10 when the round ends (aka when someone emptied their hand), then they are the sole winner, and points are not used. If multiple people have finished phase 10 then points are compared, and the player with the lowest score wins. I hope this helps!

  2. How do the discard rules work? I’m a bit confused about that. If I’ve completed a phase and have three cards left in my hand do I need to hit on phases to go out? Or can I just discard all my cards at once? Or is it that I have to discard one at a time and not pick up any other cards?

    • Hi Rhahkeem, So in phase 10, you end your turn by discarding a card. After you have gone out, you may start playing cards onto other players and your own melds but you will only ever discard one card a turn.

      • I’m sorry but I believe this to be incorrect.

        Though it is true that one must play/lay down their own hand before they may attempt to play/hit on others. Waiting to do so is untrue, it’s encouraged to do it immediately.
        (But if your house rules are that you have to wait… to each their own)

        Even the official site states:
        What is Hitting?

        Hitting is the only way to get rid of 2 or more cards in hand during a player’s turn (immediately after laying down their Phase)

        • Hi Layla, Thank you so much for the information. You are absolutely correct, and I have updated the comment to show the correct information. Thank you again.

  3. Please clarify for me – I read one can put down more than the basic requirement, can one also hit on others at the same time as one meets the basic requirement. or does one have to wait for their next turn before “hitting”?

    • Hi Hilary, players may play or hit on their turn, but not both. To play on another player’s melds you must wait for your next turn.

  4. Can we play phase 10 with 7 players? If so how would it work? Same rules? And play as individuals?

    • Hi Junior, unfortunately, Phase 10 is only designed for 2 to 6 players. If you have a group of 7 may I suggest 2 playgroups of 3 and 4 or a player who could switch out between games?

  5. My question when playing I have laid down my phase on board. The person that discards to me discards a card that will will play on my phase but he has not laid down a phase yet can I pick up his discard and play on my phase or not?

    Also when playing and several players have laid down their phases when it is my turn can I play more than one card on other phases or should I just be able to only onle card on a phases and a discard?

    • Hi Charles, So a player cannot play a card to a phase until they have played one out themselves. You can not take a card from the discard pile unless it is the start of your turn, during your draw phase. Once you have played your phase out, you may now play onto other players’, as well as your own phases, and may play as many cards in a turn as you wish. Just make sure to keep a card to discard. I hope this helps.

    • Does each player get a chance to play for each hand? For example, if the first player going actually can lay down all their cards, do the other players get a chance to play at least once?

      • Hi Mike, if a player goes out on their first turn, that would mean all players after them would not have a turn yes. Once a player goes out, the round ends.

  6. Hi, when playing phase 10, if I finoshed phase 1 and my opponent didn’t finish his. What happens to his cards? Should I score points against him for all the 10 cards in his hands, and then in the next hand he takes 10 new cards like me and try to complet phase 1 again while I try to complete phase 2?

    • Hi Engy, yes once a player completes a phase and goes out the round is over. The cards are reshuffled and redealt by a new dealer and the player who completes a phase moves on to the next while the other player who did not, tries again to complete the last phase.

      • So does this mean that the player who failed to complete phase 1 will have a score according to all of the 10 cards he has, and then takes new 10 cards like all other players?
        And then he tries to complete phase 1 again, while tge other player complete phase 2, and whoever ends the game will win this turn?
        Am I correct?

        • The player who did not complete the phase will score for the cards remaining in his hands as will everyone who did not go out. Only the player to go out and end the round will score no points for that round.

  7. If I am on phase 1 and lay down my 2 sets of 3, can I continue to lay down cards adding to my pile like 2 sets of 4 and also add to other piles all in the same hand, possibly going out all at once? One group I play with allows you to add cards to your hand and others as mentioned earlier. Another group I play with allows you to only put down your phase, 2 sets of 3, and play cards on others but not on your own. In this case I would only be able to put down the 2 sets of 3 for me and lay other cards down on other people.

    • Hi Roy, after a little further research, and help from another commenter, I have found I was incorrect. You may finish a phase and hit within the same turn. My apologies for the misinformation. I hope this helps, and happy gaming.

      Comment edited for clarity.

  8. if a player has. Reached 10th phase some other players goes out player who reached 10th phase has one card in his hand is he the winner no one else reached 10 phase does there have to be another round

    • Hi Barb, if a player completes phase 10 and is the only player to do so at the end of a round then they are the winner. If multiple people complete the 10th phase before the end of the round then points are compared to determine one the winner. I hope this helps.

  9. Once I have laid down the phase (but have not gone out) on the next turn can I still pick up from the discard pile or am I restricted to the draw pile?

    • Hi Randy, you may still draw from the discard pile even after making the phase. I hope this helps.

  10. If the stock pile is used up before someone goes out, do you shuffle the discard pile and keep playing, or does everyoe lose that phase?

  11. I have a semantic question.
    A set is defined as SETS: A set is made of two or more cards with the same number.
    So for phase 1 – “2 sets of 3”
    Could I place 2 ‘sets’ of 3? i.e. 3 4’s and 2 3’s or just 4 3’s separated into 2 sets?

    • Hi Eli, sorry for the confusion and I will update the rules to clarify as well. When it says 2 sets of 3 it really means 2 sets of 3 cards each. So this would mean you would need two sets, aka 3 cards for the same rank, and you need to have two of these in order to complete the phase. So for example, a legal completion would be three 4s and three 5s. I hope this helps.

  12. Thanks for your reply. I understand why people would interpret the rules the way you explained, even if the phases on the official rules could be reworded for more clarity.
    To clarify, since a set is two or more cards you’re saying that the only phase you can complete with that definition is just phase 9?

    • Hi Eli, For phase 9 you would need 1 set (or group of cards with the same rank) with 5 total cards in it, and 1 set that has 2 cards in it. For example, a successful completion of phase 9 could have 1 set of 5 cards that all have the number, 7, on them, and then a separate set of two cards both with the number 6 on them. I hope this helps.

  13. Hi, Just started playing Phase 10 with some friends and see that it is similar to a number of other types of rummy and a little of Uno also.
    One question has come up regarding a discard if you have not laid down your phase yet, but another player has. Are you able to discard a card that falls into another player’s phase, such as the player has down three 3s and three 4s and you cannot lay down your phases yet, can you discard a 3 or a 4 although it could be used to hit another player, or must you hold onto it as in various other rummy type games until you can lay down a meld?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Antoinette, a player may discard any card they wish to. the next player may choose to pick it up to lay off on the other person’s meld though. I hope this helps.

  14. My Question is, if you have completed the phase and have the ability to lay down the rest of your hand in the form of a additional set or run, can you do this.

    • Hi Michael, No when hitting, you can only lay down cards onto already formed melds, either your own or another player’s.

  15. If I complete a phase but someone else won the round do I have to complete the same phase next game or do I move on to the next phase?

    • Hi Chelsea, if you complete the phase before the round ends then next round you will move on to the next phase.

  16. On phase 1, can I hit on someone’s run to increase number like a set being 222, can I add a 3, 4, 5 to it?
    OR can I add the same number to it like a set of 3 being 222 can I add another 2?

    • Hi Chelsea, You cannot add to a set with cards of other ranks so the first example would not work. The second example is fine, however, as you may add additional cards of the same rank to a set.

    • Hi Clara, there is no restriction on the number of wilds you can play. Wilds cannot be reused however, so once there in a meld they will remain there. I hope this helps.

  17. Can I hit on the discard pile? Meaning, I’ve laid my phase, and I’m in a position to start hitting. Let’s say there is a 9 on top of the discard pile, I have a 9 in my hand, and it’s my turn. Can I begin my turn by placing my 9 on the 9 in the discard pile as a hit? I understand hitting all phases as they’ve been laid, but just curious about the discard pile.

    • Hi Nicole, no you cannot hit on the discard pile. you may only hit on your phase or another players completed phase. I hope this helps.

  18. Do you reseal cards to the person who did not get the phase or do they continue with the cards they have in their hand?

  19. Today we had 2 players finish phase 10. One party claimed the game was instantly over and the lowest count the winner. The other party claimed the hand must be finished before a winner was declared. Which is correct?

  20. So, last night we were playing and two of us were on Phase 9 and met our phase and the other two were on Phase 10, one met their phase but one of the people on Phase 9 (who met their phase) emptied their hand first so went out. My opinion is that there should have been another hand delt, but the one who was on Phase 10 who met their phase but did not go out said she won. Who is correct? To me this is not in tune with the rest of the gane, and in’t logical.

    • Hi Dayna, your friend is right. If at the end of a round there is only one player to complete phase 10, they are the winner. If multiple people complete phase 10, then points are used to determine the winner. In this case, the player with the lower score is the winner. The player to complete phase 10 does not need to be the one to go out and end the round to win.

    • Hi Sharon, I’m sorry I don’t think I can help you, I don’t believe the program you are using to play is not affiliated with this site.

  21. what do we do when we dont have a card of same colour or number to discard pile. Also i had to ask that do we draw a card in every chance

    • Hi Shaurya, if you cannot play a card on your turn then you will discard and pass. A player starts their turn by drawing a new card, you must draw this card.

    • you will add to your score. different cards are worth different values. Below i have put their point values.
      Number Cards 1-9: 5 points each

      Number Cards 10-12: 10 points each

      Skip Cards: 15 points each

      Wild Cards: 25 points each

  22. okay question phase one say two sets of 3 so you lay 3 -4’s and say three -5’s if i get a future set of say 3 -12’s can i lay them also ?

    • Hi Gary, unfortunately not, when playing after laying down your phase you may only play cards on your existing phase or other players’ phases.

Comments are closed.