SKIP-BO(IPAEng|skɪpˈ-boʊ) is a popular card game. In 1967, Ms. Hazel Bowman of Brownfield, Texas began producing a boxed edition of the game under the name Skip-bo. International Games, Inc. purchased the game in 1980. The company was subsequently bought by Mattel. It is a commercial version of the card-game "Spite and Malice". It includes 144 playing cards that have numbers on them ranging from 1 to 12 and 18 SKIP-BO cards totaling 162 cards. Two to six people can play at a time, in pairs or individually. The winner is the first to get rid of all the cards in his stock pile.

Prior to 1980, the game consisted of 3 decks of regular playing cards with 6 SKIP-BO cards replacing the standard 2 jokers in each deck. The newer card configuration increased the difficulty of the game.


The game starts with each player having a stock pile of cards.The goal of the game is to play all of the cards in your stock pile.

The rules specify that for 2 to 4 players each player should have a stock pile of 30 cards.For 5 or more players then each player should have a stock pile of 20 cards.

For faster games, a smaller stock of 10 or 15 cards can be used.For a long two player game, each stock pile could have 40 cards in it.The exact quantity is not especially important to game play, but all players should have the same amount.

Game play

Build piles

Each build pile is started with the 1 card.After the 1 card is played then the 2 card may be played on top; then the 3 card; then the 4 card; etc. until the 12 card is played.At this time, the build pile is removed and a new build pile may start again.(If the draw pile is depleted, then these used build piles are shuffled and placed on the draw pile location and become the new draw pile.)

Each player can have a maximum of two build piles. Once the 1 card is played by a player to start one of their build piles, any player can add to the pile on their turn. If both of a player's build piles have been started then no more may be started by that player until one is cleared (i.e. the 12 card is played).

Discard piles

If a player cannot play onto any of the build piles, or chooses not to, then he/she must place one card in one of their four discard piles face-up.In subsequent turns, the player can use the five cards in his/her hand or any of the top cards from the discard piles.Exactly which discard pile to use or which card to discard is up to the player.For example, most of the time it would be more helpful to have a 3 card on top of a 4 card such that if the 3 card is played then the 4 card can be played.If all four discard piles have been started then a player may be forced to place a higher numbered card on top of a lower numbered card.If there is a bigger card on top of a smaller card you may play both of them at the same time.

Use of the stock pile

At the start of the game, each player turns over the top card of their stock pile (with the remaining stock pile cards remaining face down and unknown to any player).This top card may be used on the build cards (you do not have to use it but this pile must be finished to win the game).After using the top-most card from the stock pile the next one is flipped face up and playing continues.

Playing all five cards in the hand

If a player manages to play all five cards in their hand then he/she may draw another five cards and continue playing.Note that playing the last card onto the discard pile ends the player's turn and he/she may not draw more cards until it is their turn again.

Again, if the player draws too many cards then the excess cards go into his/her stock pile.

KIP-BO cards

In the deck of 162 cards there are 18 SKIP-BO cards.These cards are wild and can be used for any card.A SKIP-BO card may be played on top of a numbered card, or as the 1 card to start a new build pile. You may also discard SKIP-BO's into your discard piles.


If multiple games are going to be played then a point system may be used.After a player wins a game then he/she receives 25 points for winning plus 5 points for each card in his/her opponents' stock piles.The first player to reach 500 points wins.

Like most games, the point values can change and the end-point-total-to-win can change so long as all players agree before playing starts.


Another option for game play is to pair up players as partners.

Game play remains the same except:
* The active player can use their partner's stock and discard piles "in addition" to their own stock and discard piles
* The active player's partner must remain silent while their partner is playing
* To win: both stock piles of one of the partnerships must be cleared
* If a player is caught cheating (e.g., the non-active partner telling the active player what to play) then two cards from the draw pile are placed into the cheating player's stock pile


External links

* [ Rules for playing the Skip-bo game (PDF)]
* [ An embodied Agent playing the Skip-bo game in Japan (AVI, XVID-Codec)]

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