Twisting the Phases

I have to admit I am so enjoying running my blog about really cool games.  I just wanted to say thanks to a dear friend of mine that helped me get it up and running. His name is Paul Clukey. You can visit his site here.

Phase 10 for better or worse

There’s a game that was pretty popular for a while, and then a new version came out that’s much better.
Ever heard of Phase 10? That’s it.

Now that original game could actually drag on forever. It had the capacity for becoming dull and quiet and frustrating as hell!

Phase 10 Twist is the new version, and it took the endless-trudge-of-death possibility out of the old Phase 10.

You have to advance in Phase 10 Twist. It’s not possible to get stuck forever in the same phase while all other players leap and bound ahead, like in the original version.

Phase 10 is a pretty simple card game. It comprises a deck of cards that come in four colors and in numbers from one to 12.

You have to accomplish ten different phases of card configuration to complete the game. Whoever completes phase ten first is the winner.

The first phase is easy but the phases get progressively more difficult after the first one, and if you are not dealt good cards, you can just languish forever trying to collect this set or that set or this run or that color. You feel like the gods are conspiring against you as all other players are completing their configurations and advancing to their next phases.

Phase 10 Twist adds a circular board to the card game. Every player has a marker, and the first player to reach the end of the board is the winner.

You still have to complete phases, and they are the same phases as in the original game. But this new version has a twist.

If you compete your phase, discard your remaining cards in your hand, and are the first to lay down the phase, you move forward three squares on the board.

If you complete your phase but can’t discard and therefore can’t lay the phase down, you move forward two squares on the board.

If you didn’t complete your phase, you still get to move one space forward.

There are also Twist spaces. If you land on a Twist space, you can either ignore it and just do the next phase on the list, or you can take a Twist card from a special pack, and create that phase. The phases in the Twist pack are different from all the other phases in the regular game.

If you successfully complete the Twist phase, you move forward 5 spaces. If you don’t complete it, and someone else wins the round, you move back two spaces. So the Twist space introduces a risk element that is not present in the original game.

I like Phase 10 Twist a lot better than the original game, for the simple reason that every player keeps moving and no one gets stuck. Also I like the Twist spaces. Those Twist phases are different and interesting and unpredictable. They add some spice to the game.

So, that’s about it for Phase 10 Twist. A great re-do of a classic game. Good for up to six or eight players.

A Game of Dice: Let ’em Roll!



This game can be played by literally as many people as you have. There’s no limit because everyone is essentially playing their own game, and the winner is determined at the end by who has the most points.
It’s the most fun when played with six people or less, though. The reason for that is you’re just sitting there watching when it’s not your turn. The fewer people play, the faster your turn comes back around.
Still, sometimes it’s nice to have a game that 14 people can play.

So, the goal of the game is to accumulate as many points as you possibly can.

All you need for play is a set of five die plus score sheets. Having ones that are pre-printed is most helpful. I’m sure you can download them. If not, draw up your own.

If you draw up your own, here’s how you need to set it out. You have two sections, an upper section and a lower section. The upper section contains these lines, one below the next: Ones (write 3 beside “Ones”); Twos (write 6 beside “Twos”); Threes (write 9); Fours (12); Fives (15); Sixes (18). Under your Sixes line, put a line titled “Total” and under that put a line titled “Bonus (35)”.
Your second scoring section is directly below the first section. Line one is titled “Three of a Kind (total of all die);” line two is titled “Four of a Kind (total all die);” line three is titled “Full House (25);’ line four: “Small Straight (30);” line five: “Large Straight (40);” line six: “Yahtzee (50)”; line seven: “Chance (total all die);” line eight: “Total;” line nine: “Total from Section One;” and line ten: “Grand Total.”
The numbers in the parentheses are the point values for those configurations.
It might sound a little complicated on paper, but it’s really not. And once you see it in front of you, it makes perfect sense.
Then everyone gets their own scoresheet, with a pen or pencil. You’re ready to play.
Each person gets three rolls of the die per turn. Your goal in one turn is to get the correct configuration of die to be able to fill in one of the lines on the scoresheet. You must fill in one line per turn, whether it’s with a number or a “Scratch” (meaning, you couldn’t roll anything decent to save your life, so you just have to line out one of the categories).
Roll all the die together. The first roll will help you determine which line on the scoresheet you should aim for filling out. If you roll numbers in a sequence, you should try to complete a small or large straight (these are numbers in sequence). A small straight is 4 numbers in sequence; a large straight is 5.
If you roll pairs or triplets of the same number, aim for completing the lines in the top section, or go for a Full House (two of one number and three of a different number), Three or Four of a Kind, or a Yahtzee (five of the same number).
The Chance line is if you have an epic fail and just can’t come up with a configuration that will fit well anywhere. It’s basically a dud turn. You add up the total and put it into Chance. However, you only have one opportunity to do this, so be careful.
In the top section, if you roll at least three of all of the numbers, or if your subtotal is 63 points, you will qualify for the 35-point bonus. Getting the bonus is always the goal in the top section.
That’s basically it. You play until everyone has filled in all of the lines.
It can be a very fun, exciting game, suitable for players ages seven to a hundred.

Dutch Blitz

Dutch Blitz is a game that you have to be on your toes to play. It’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s a game that originated in Pennsylvania, I believe. The cards have depictions of Mennonites or Amish people on the fronts.

Dutch Blitz can be played with two people, but it’s most fun with more than three. A game contains four decks of cards, one deck per player. So if you have more than four players, you need another game with additional decks. Over eight players isn’t ideal but probably can be done.
The goal of the game is to get the most points. Whoever gets the most points wins.
Basically, what happens is that everyone, all at the same time, is working on building piles of cards in numerical order starting with 1 and ending with 10. The piles of cards must also be all the same color. (Red, yellow, blue, or green.)
The piles are in the center of the table where everyone can reach them. Anyone can start a pile (by laying down a 1 card), play on any pile, and end a pile (with a 10 card).
Each person has a Blitz pile in front of them. This is their own pile that no one else touches. It consists of ten cards, upside-down, except for the top card, which is face up. It must be completely played out—all ten cards played on the common piles in the middle of the table—before you can shout “Blitz” and end that round of the game.
Next to your Blitz pile are three single cards, laid out next to each other. You can play these at any time on the common piles in the middle of the table. As you play these cards, you can move the top card of your Blitz pile over to the space you just emptied. It’s a way to get cards off of your Blitz pile.
So, at the beginning of the game, every player has a full deck of cards. Each deck is marked with an illustration on the back: a carriage, or a wagon wheel, or a water pump, or a plow.
Game set-up is simple. Each player deals out their ten-card Blitz pile, sets that directly in front of themselves, and also places the three cards face-up, side by side, next to the Blitz pile. The rest of the deck they hold. They will shuffle through this deck the entire duration of the game, and when a playable card comes up, they will put that card onto one of the common piles in the center of the table.
And then keep shuffling through their deck.
When all players have their Blitz pile ready and the three cards next to it, the game is ready to start. One person says GO!, and the game is open.
As soon as any player has a 1 card, they put that out on the table. All players can now build that pile up to 10, as long as they are setting down like-colored cards in ascending numerical order.
The first player to play all the cards in their Blitz pile ends that round. All cards on the common piles are then divided according to the illustrations on the cardbacks. Those cards are returned to the player who holds that deck, counted, and that’s the player’s score.
Any cards that remain in any player’s Blitz pile count double AGAINST that player and must be deducted from the number of cards played out in the middle.
Generally, a goal score is established at the beginning of the game, like 100 or 500. Whoever gets there first is the winner.
Be careful with this game! It can get rough!