Skip-Bo Rules: How To Play Skip-Bo


Skip-Bo is one of the popular, entertaining and educative card games out there. 2 to 6 players can play the Skip-Bo game. To win the Skip-Bo game, a player has to be the first player to exhaust his Stock stack. There are a total of 162 cards used in the stack for the Skip-Bo game. 144 cards out of the 162 contain the numbers 1 to 12. The remaining 18 cards are known as the Wild Skip-Bo cards.  The wild cards are used to switch numbered cards in the process of playing the game. Discard stack, Draw stack, Stock stack and Build stack are the four stacks used in this game.

Objective of Skip-Bo Game

The object of the Skip-Bo game is to be the first to exhaust all the cards in your Stock stack. A stock stack will also be referred to as a stockpile in this post. Cards from the stack are played in the middle to build stacks. Up to 4 piles can be built in the middle. Wild cards can be used to play any number.

Skip-Bo Game Rules

These are some of the basic rules in the Skip-Bo game.

  • When the center pile gets to 12, the pile is replaced with a new pile. The new pile must start with a 1 or Skip-Bo wild card.
  • When a player exhausts all the 5 cards with him, he is expected to draw another 5 cards from his Stock stack and continue.
  • When the draw stack is out of cards, always reshuffle the completed piles to build another draw pile.
  • You can stack discards on top of each other, but you can only move the top card on the discard pile into the building pile.

Number of Players Needed:

Two to Six players required to play this game.


  • A paper and a pen for the game. The pen and paper are used to keep scores.
  • Enough space to contain the number of players
  • A flat table or surface.

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Setting Up The Game

Each player gets 30 cards if there are 2 to 4 players. If on the other hand, there are 5 to 6 players, each player gets 20 cards. The remaining card is placed in the middle and will serve as the drawing stack. The players are expected to turn their stock pile to face up.

Understand The Stacks

All through the Skip-Bo game, you will come across Stacks. The Skip-Bo game is all about stacks. It will help to explain all the stacks in detail.

Discard Stack

The Discard stack is placed on the left side of the Stock Stack. Only the top card can be added to the Discard Stack. Each player has a discard stack and can build up to four of this type of stack. The cards in this stack are expected to be turned to face up.

Draw Stack

The Draw stack is there for the player to draw from when he or she runs out of cards. It is usually placed in the center as the center stock pile.

 Stock Stack

The Stock Stack is the initial stack given to each player at the beginning of the game. The number of cards in the Stock stack depends on the number of players in the game. For instance, if there are up to 5 to 6 players, the Stock stack will have 20 cards. For 4 or fewer players, the Stock stack will have up to 30 cards. The stack is placed to face down. The exception here is the top card which is usually turned to face up.

Building Stack

The Building Stack is built in a number sequence from 1 to 12. The first card is usually the number 1 card or the Skip-Bo wild card. Once the building stack gets to the 12 stack, players start a new one. A building card can also be reshuffled and used as a substitute for a draw stack.

How to Play Skip-Bo Game

The player sitting on the left hand of the card dealer becomes the first player to play. From there, the other players take a turn to play in clockwise left order.  When it gets to each player’s turn, the player draws 5 cards from his stock pile into the middle stack to build a stack. You play with the card on top of the pile and keep the next card to face down when you are done playing the top card. After you exhaust the cards in your hands, you draw up the next pile (5 cards) and continue to build your center stack.

You start building each start with a 1 or Skip-Bo card. Remember to discard your card in the discard stack when you are done playing. The next player picks up from there until it gets to your turn again. When it’s your turn to play again, you draw up the next 5 cards from your Stock Stack and continue to build the center stack.

You can use the Skip-Bo wild card to complete a number sequence when you run out of one. The aim is to be the first player to finish your stock, so you have to ensure you finish your stock stack as soon as you can.

Winning The Game

The first player to exhaust his stock stack gets 25 points and 5 points extra from any card left in the opponent’s stock stack. The first player to get to 500 points automatically becomes the winner of the game.