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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
United States
Vancouver
Washington
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Skip-bo is a very luck-dominated game, so I can't give it very high marks. As a matter of fact, I give it very poor marks as far as card games go. I'll try to be fair and only compare the play and quality to other card games, but even then, it falls short of the pack. I give it 4/10 in general, and 5/10 (maybe 6/10) with respect to card games.

GAMEPLAY:
Gameplay is mostly luck-driven. Players build up books in the center of the play area by placing cards on top of one another in sequential order, starting with the 1 card. They do this by playing cards that have been drawn into their hands, from their 4 discard piles (explained later) or their main stack. When a book is complete, it is simply shuffled back into the main draw pile. The main stack is all face down except for the top card. The object is to win the game by being the first to play every card from his main stack of cards (the face down cards). When a card from the main stack is played, the player flips of ther next card (eventually playing it too), and so on, until the stack is gone.

There is one device to allow for some tactical decisions in the form of 4 holding piles. A player may place 1 card per turn into one of his 4 holding piles, then during regular play, play from his hand as well as from the tops of any of the holding piles.

There are a few other twists and nitpicky rules involved, but that is the main gist of it. If you enjoy very light, luck heavy games, you will probably enjoy Skip-bo.

QUALITY:
Typical quality for an American card game (poor). The cards are not plastic coated, and the box is made of VERY thin cardboard, all one piece (no lid, just a flap), and does not do a good job of holding the cards in place. This can lead the the flap tearing off or becoming useless, followed by cards or the rules being bent or lost.

COMPLEXITY:
Skip-bo is actually fairly simple. I've included most of the directions in this review. Because of this, don't expect a very deep game with loads of strategic possibilities. It basically comes down to 2 decisions. 1) How to manage the 4 discard piles and 2) Wether to play as far as you can, or stopping short so that you do not help out your opponent.

PRICE:
Because Skip-bo is readily available in the US (at any store that sells games, including retailers like Wal-Mart and K-Mart), it comes pretty cheap. Expect to pay around 7-10 US Dollars.

ARTWORK:
Little-to-none. There are designs on the backs of the cards and a special, wild skip-bo card, but I wouldn't call that art.

DURATION:
This is one of those games that is not garunteed to end after a certain amount of time. Games last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the luck of the draw.

INTERNATIONALIZATION:
With a decent rules translation, this game is ready for the play outside of English speaking countries. The number cards are just numbers, and the Skip-bo card is very easy to explain and easy to remember (it's essentially just a wild card)...not that Skip-bo means anything in English anyway.

Overall, I'd have to say this game leaves much to be desired (as do most main-stream American games). On the other hand, my wife and family love it, so I guess I better figure out how to like it
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Crazy Bob
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Re:User Review
I agree with the luck thing there. However there is more than 1 level of play.

Players start playing whatever they can whenever they can.

This slowly turns into almost never playing unless a card can be moved off the stack.

Then it goes into trying constantly for that play all cards for an extra turn when you number finaly comes up.

If both players are on the same level it's still luck. Counting cards seems impossble and of little value.
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Crazy Bob
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Re:User Review
I should add that this is my experince in strictly 2 player games.
 
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Matthew Cordeiro
United States
Cumberland
Rhode Island
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ejmowrer wrote:
DURATION:
This is one of those games that is not garunteed to end after a certain amount of time. Games last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the luck of the draw.

I can honestly say I've played dozens and dozens of times, and I've never had a game go more than 30 minutes.
 
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R T
United States
Hesperia
California
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cordeiro wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
DURATION:
This is one of those games that is not garunteed to end after a certain amount of time. Games last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the luck of the draw.

I can honestly say I've played dozens and dozens of times, and I've never had a game go more than 30 minutes.


This game is popular in my family, and in hundreds of plays I don't think it has ever gone more than 45 minutes. 20 to 30 minutes is common, and of course you can adjust the length of the game by changing how many cards each person starts with in their pile.

I would also like to point people to the strategy thread another person started. I'll admit that the game is 90% luck, but you can definitely improve your odds through smart play. I see a lot of negative reviews like this say that there is only managing your discard piles and blocking your opponent when possible. First I'd like to say that managing your discard piles is tricky--I've seen many people make bad decisions in this regard. The other thing I never see mentioned is that you really should pay attention to what in Magic the Gathering is called "card advantage". If you can play all 5 of the cards in your hand, you get to draw another 5 cards and keep going, which can be a huge advantage. If you aren't playing any cards from your hand, you just get to draw one each turn to replace the previous discard. You need to judge the value of playing a card even if it looks like it might help your opponent, because if you don't play that card you won't get a replacement card that could help you the next turn. This evaluation will change depending on whether your opponent is significantly ahead or behind, as well as how "stale" their hand is. (If they've been building their hand for several turns they are likely close to getting off and you're more likely to be helping them make it, versus a hand of mostly new cards.)

Finally, when you get a group of very experienced players, they can do a lot to slow down a runaway leader.

Again, I agree there is a lot of luck involved, but there are some interesting decisions to make and it really isn't the worst game in the world.
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