Phase 10 is a rummy-style card game. Players attempt to complete "sets" and "runs" in order to complete each phase and go out with the least amount of points. The kicker is the number of runs and sets varies depending on what phase you are on and that you will not move on to the next phase if you do not complete the current phase before a player goes out.
Each phase begins the same: all players are dealt 10 cards. The draw pile is placed in the center of the table and the top card is placed in the discard pile. Each player draws one card at the start of their turn, either from the draw pile or the top card of the discard pile. If the player can complete their minimum hand, as required by the current phase, they can lay those cards down. That player can then play additional cards from their hand on their own down cards or the down cards of other players. Finally, the player must discard one card. When a player is out of cards, the round is over. Those that made their current phase continue to the next one, those that didn't must repeat their phase until they complete it. Leftover cards are worth points. Once a player completes phase 10, the game is over. That player wins, but points are used to break ties.
There 108 cards: 24 each of red, blue, yellow and green numbered cards; Skip and Wild cards. Skip cards are played on another player to skip their next turn. Wild cards can count as any card for purposes of completing a run or a set.
This game is long. It takes way too much time to play. For example, I'm typing this from my Sidekick2. It's 12:45am and my wife started playing her tournament Phase 10 game at 11pm. Some of the players have completed phase 7, but some are still stuck on phase 3. Phase 3! I'm not sure what is worse, being bored playing Phase 10 at 1am in the morning, or being so bored that you have to write a review of it to stay awake.
There are some variations that make the game better. You can play all ten phases in a row, and the winner is the player with the lowest score. This, at least, gives you a definite ending. You can also play to a lower phase.
One further problem with the game is that the phases aren't as interesting as they could be. Their difficulty doesn't always increase the further you get in to the game.
The phases are:
1. 2 sets of 3
2. 1 set of 3 and 1 run of 4
3. 1 set of 4 and 1 run of 4
4. 1 run of 7
5. 1 run of 8
6. 1 run of 9
7. 2 sets of 4
8. 7 cards of one color
9. 1 set of 5 and 1 set of 2
10. 1 set of 5 and 1 set of 3
In all honesty, it's not that bad of a game. It doesn't consume many brain cycles, so you can chat whilst playing. It's a good one for the kids. But it takes way too long to play.