Skip-Bo or Spite and Malice

Skip-Bo is an adaptation of a card game called "Spite and Malice" that was originally played with three traditional decks of cards. In the Skip-Bo deck there are 162 cards, twelve each of cards numbered 1-12 and 18 Skip-Bo or wild cards. In Spite and Malice, the kings and jokers are used as wild cards. It is a stock pile game where a turned cards are progressively discarded. The object is to completely deplete a stack of cards.

Skip-Bo Discard Piles

The rules of Skip-Bo are fairly straight-forward. Two to six players may participate. Each player is dealt out a stack of 30 cards, all of which are laid face-down in a stack in front of the player. At the beginning of play the top card of each stock pile is turned over. A five card hand is then dealt out. The remaining cards are placed in a stack in the middle of the table. Play proceeds to the left. Four piles are built up in the middle of the table by the players playing cards from their hands in sequence beginning with the "1" card. When a player can play the card on the top of his stock pile, he should. The next card is immediately turned over, and if possible, it, too, may be played. If, in the course of a turn a player exhausts his entire hand, he may replenish it from the pile in the middle of the table.

When a stack reaches twelve cards it is removed from play and set aside. When the communal pile is depleted, the removed cards are shuffled and make a new communal pile. At the beginning of her turn the player replenishes the cards in her hand to make five cards. The end of a turn is marked by a player discarding one card into a pile next to her own stack called a discard pile. She is allowed four stacks. These cards may be used in the course of play, but only from the top down. The first person to use all the cards in her stock pile is the winner. (Read the InDepthInfo thorough recounting of the rules of Skip-Bo)

Strategy will help a player to win consistently in Skip-Bo. It is almost always wise to play from the stock pile first whenever possible, then from the hand, and then from the four discard stacks. Always refrain from using a wild-card unless it will result in being allowed to use a card from the stock pile or possibly blocking an opponent's play. (Read more strategies on how to win at Skip-Bo)

Like most other popular games, variations to Skip-Bo have arisen over the years to accommodate the style of play favored within various house-holds. One modification insists that players must play any "1" card they possess if it is possible. Another variation does not allow the play of two wild-cards (or Skip-Bo cards) in a row. (More information on Skip-Bo variations)

Currently, Skip-Bo is owned and distributed by the Mattel Corporation. It was originally developed and marketed by Hazel Bowman in 1967. In its early days it comprised of standard playing cards, only with the jokers being replaced by a "Skip-Bo" card. (More information on the History of Skip-Bo and Spite and Malice).

Skip-Bo is a fun and competitive game for ages six (an intelligent six) through adult. While children will enjoy the pattern of play, adults will have fun with the nuances and strategies. Skip-Bo is available at

Comprehensive Rules of Skip-Bo or Spite and Malice >>


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