Synopsis of Toy
There was always an element of mystery to Skip-Bo. The card game’s object was the same as many of its kind—get rid of a pile of cards—but there was a slight complication: you only learned what those cards were one at a time. With that little twist, and with the addition of several wild “Skip-Bo” cards, Skip-Bo was a whole new card game.
Brownfield, Texas residents Mr. & Mrs. J.T. Bowman developed and sold Skip-Bo locally in the early 60’s, and the game caught on quickly. Each set contained three sets of cards, each containing 52 regular playing cards and 8 “Skip-Bo” cards. Later versions (after the Skip-Bo Co. was bought into the Uno family of card games) replaced the playing cards with ones simply labeled 1-12, but the game remained the same.
Each player was dealt a “Stock Pile” of 20-30 cards (depending on how many were playing), and the object was to reduce that pile to nothing. To do this, players stacked cards in order from 1 to 12 on any of the four “Building Piles,” with “Skip-Bo” cards wild. Anybody could stack on any Building Pile, but only on his or her turn. Even so, there was always that lingering dread that one of those “Building Piles” would go on an 8-9-10-11 run right before you got rid of that hated 10 on the top of your Stock Pile.
At the start of each turn, players took enough cards from the “Draw Pile” (the remaining cards not in anyone’s Stock Pile) to form a hand of five cards. Then it was all a matter of laying down those runs, trying to whittle down that Stock Pile without giving the other guys any kind of advantage on their own Stock Piles. When all your moves were up (or you strategically decided to quit while you were ahead), a single card went from your five-card hand into one of your four personal “Discard Piles,” from whence it could be snatched back up in a moment of need.
On the game went, the Discard Piles growing ever smaller, until that final, fateful run came down from the soon-to-be-winner, who tried to mask his victor’s grin with an ineffective poker face. Inevitably, somebody demanded a rematch, and the Skip-Bo madness and mystery began afresh.