Uno (card game)
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
|Players||2 – 10|
|Skill(s) required||Keeping important cards for later; knowing when to put them down, concealing your hand.|
|Playing time||Normally up to 30 minutes but can go higher|
Uno (//; from Italian and Spanish for 'one') is an American card game which is played with a specially printed deck (see Mau Mau for an almost identical game played with normal playing cards). The game was originally developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. It has been a Mattel product since 1992. The game's general principles put it into the Crazy Eights family of card games.
- 1 History
- 2 Official rules
- 3 Strategies
- 4 Card and deck styles
- 5 Theme packs
- 6 Special Uno games
- 7 Video games
- 8 Variations
- 9 Similar games
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
- 12 External links
Merle Robbins, an Ohio barbershop owner, loved to play cards. One day in 1971, Merle came up with the idea for UNO and introduced the game to his family. When his family and friends began playing UNO more and more, Robbins and his family spent $8,000 to have 5,000 games made. At first Robbins sold UNO from his barbershop. A few local businesses sold it as well. Later Robbins sold the UNO rights to a funeral parlor owner and UNO fan from Joliet, Illinois, for $50,000, plus royalties of 10 cents per game. International Games Inc. was formed to market UNO, and sales skyrocketed. In 1992, International Games became part of the Mattel product line.
The deck consists of 108 cards, of which there are twenty-five of each color (red, green, blue, and yellow), each color having two of each rank except zero. The ranks in each color are zero to nine, "Skip", "Draw Two" and "Reverse" (the last three of these being classified as "action cards"). In addition, the deck contains four each of "Wild" and "Wild Draw Four" cards.
To start a hand, seven cards are dealt out to each player, and the top card of the deck is flipped over and set aside to begin the discard pile. The player to the dealer's left plays first, unless the first card on the discard pile is an action or Wild card (see below). On a player's turn, he/she must do one of the following:
- play a card matching the discard in color, number or symbol
- play a Wild card, or a playable Wild Draw Four card (see restriction below)
- draw the top card of the deck
If a player chooses to draw the top card of the deck, and that card is playable (it matches the discard, or is a playable wild card), then the player may (but need not) immediately play that card.
Play proceeds clockwise around the table.
Action and Wild cards have the following effects:
|Card||Effect when played from hand||Effect as first discard|
|Skip||Next player in sequence loses a turn||Player to dealer's left loses a turn|
|Draw Two||Next player in sequence draws two cards and loses a turn||Player to dealer's left draws two cards and loses a turn. Player can "stack" a draw two card by playing another draw two card on the next player adding the number of cards for the next player to draw.|
|Reverse||Order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, and vice versa)||Dealer plays first; play proceeds counterclockwise|
|Wild||Player declares next color to be matched (may be used on any turn even if the player has matching color)||Player to dealer's left declares first color to be matched, then plays normally|
|Wild Draw Four||Player declares next color to be matched; next player draws four cards and discards the declared color (may be legally played only if the player has no cards of the current color; Wild cards and cards with the same number or symbol in a different color do not count). The player can "stack" the Wild Draw Four by adding a Wild Draw Four card after the previous player has played adding number of cards for the next player to draw.||Return card to deck, shuffle, flip top card to start discard pile|
- A player may draw a card from the deck even if that player has a playable card.
- If a player chooses to draw a card and the drawn card is playable, the player has the option of either keeping it or playing it immediately (as part of that turn).
- If a player chooses to draw, the player may not play any card (other than the drawn card, if playable) on that turn.
- A player may play a Wild card at any time (even if that player has other playable cards).
- A player may play a Wild Draw Four card only if that player has no cards matching the current color (the player may have cards of a different color matching the current number or symbol or a Wild card). A player who plays a Wild Draw Four may be challenged (see below).
- If the entire deck is used during play, the top discard is set aside and the rest of the pile is shuffled to create a new deck. Play then proceeds normally.
- It is illegal to trade cards of any sort with another player, including special cards such as wild, blank, and reversal cards.
A player who plays his/her next-to-last card must call "uno" as a warning to the others.
The first player to get rid of his/her last card ("going out") wins the hand and scores points for the cards held by the other players. Number cards count their face value, all action cards count twenty, and Wild and Wild Draw Four cards count fifty. If a Draw Two or Wild Draw Four card is played to go out, the next player in sequence must draw the appropriate number of cards before the score is tallied.
The first player to reach five hundred points is the winner.
- If a player lays down his/her second last card without calling "UNO" out and is caught before the next player in sequence takes a turn (draws a card from their hand, draws a card or touches the discard pile, depending on interpretation), he/she must draw two cards.
- If the challenge of the Wild Draw Four card is successful, the player who played the card must draw four cards, and the player who challenged does not have to draw any. The player who played the card does not pick up the Wild Draw Four card that was played. Play resumes with the player who challenged being the next to play but if the challenge of the Wild Draw Four card is a failure, the player who challenged must draw six cards, and their turn is skipped. If a person is on their last card and a wild draw four is placed and the next player puts down another wild draw four, the person is not out, and the player must pick up and the game carries on.
A strategy at Uno may be offensive (aiming to go out), or defensive (aiming to minimize the score of the hand, in the event that another player goes out). Part of the skill of playing Uno is knowing when to adopt an offensive or defensive strategy.
An offensive strategy would advise holding on to Wild and Wild Draw Four cards, because these can be played near the end of the hand in order to go out (when it may be hard or impossible to play a matching card). However, a defensive strategy would advise getting rid of such cards early, because they have a high point value.
A defensive strategy would advise playing a high-numbered card in order to reduce the point value of the hand. However, an offensive strategy would suggest playing a 0 when the player wants to continue on the current color, because it is less likely to be matched by another 0 of a different color (there is only one 0 of each color, but two of each 1–9).
A player holding only one card is required to call out "uno" or risk being penalized if caught. A player who calls "uno" risks being the target of concerted action from the other players, who may be able to use action cards to prevent that player from having an opportunity to go out. Depending on the level and seriousness of play, some players may deliberately avoid saying "uno", in the hope of avoiding detection and then going out on the next turn. For this reason, it is useful to conceal how many cards are in your hand, and to keep track of how many cards every other player holds.
Little has been published on the optimal strategy for the game of Uno. Simulations of games may shed some light on the matter, but the game solution is likely to be very complex. This is because attempts to reduce point count in the player's hands can be "read" by other players if too transparent. This information can be exploited by other players, and it follows that a mixed strategy may be more appropriate.
Some work has been done into the psychology of Uno as it relates to individual and group behavior. Players may exhibit physical tells, in which a subtle, often repeated, visual cue inadvertently reveals their state of mind during a game. Alternatively, they may change their playing style; switching from an aggressive card-shedding strategy to a more subdued one, or vice-versa.
Card and deck styles
The new Uno action cards bear symbols which denote their action, except for the Wild cards which still bear the word "Wild." Before the design change, such cards in English versions of the game bear letters. Especially old English versions can be denoted by the absence of the white rim that surrounds the edge of most Uno cards. Other versions also use symbols and images in both old and new designs, especially those with Wild cards that do not bear the word "Wild" in 40th Anniversary sets. The Xbox 360 version of the game uses the new English style of the cards in gameplay. There are also language-free versions of the newer styles Uno action cards that do not bear the word "Wild" but have the same styling.
There are many different themes and versions of Uno. These theme games may come with slightly different directions and special cards.
- Angelina Ballerina Uno*
- Angry Birds Uno
- Barbie Uno
- Barbie Cali Girl Edition Uno
- Batman Uno
- Batman Begins Uno
- Betty Boop Uno
- Bob The Builder Uno*
- Care Bears Uno
- Car-Go Uno
- Cars Uno
- Coca-Cola Uno
- Curious George Uno
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid Uno
- Disney Theme Park Uno
- Disney Electronic Uno
- Disney Pixar Uno
- Disney Princess Uno
- Disney Shows Uno
- Dog Uno
- Dogs Herding Breeds Uno
- Dogs Terrier Breeds Uno
- Dora the Explorer Uno
- Doraemon Uno
- Doctor Who Uno
- Elvis Uno
- Family Guy Uno
- Fantastic Four Uno
- Ferrari Uno
- Fraggle Rock Uno
- Frozen Uno
- Golden Compass Uno
- Glee Uno
- Green Lantern Uno
- Hannah Montana Uno
- Hanna-Barbera Uno
- Happy Feet Uno
- Harry Potter Uno
- Hello Kitty Uno
- High School Musical Uno
- High School Musical 2 Uno
- High School Musical 3 Uno
- Hoops and Yoyo Uno
- Hot Death Uno
- Hulk Uno
- Iron Man 2 Uno –
- John Deere Uno
- Koala Brothers Uno
- Kung Fu Panda Uno
- Macy's Parade Uno
- Magic Tree House Uno
- Marvel Heroes Uno
- Mario bros. Uno
- Monster High Uno
- Mini Party Favors Uno
- Muppet Show Uno
- My 1st Uno 
- My Scene Uno
- MyUno Uno
- NASCAR Uno
- National Parks Uno
- New York City Uno
- NHL Uno
- Nightmare Before Christmas Uno
- Nintendo Uno
- Notre Dame Uno
- NSYNC Uno
- One Piece Uno
- Over the Hedge Uno
- Peanuts Uno
- Peanuts – Christmas Uno
- Peanuts – Great Pumpkin Uno
- Peanuts Valentine Uno
- The Penguins of Madagascar Uno
- Phineas and Ferb Uno
- Pirates of the Caribbean Uno
- Pokémon Uno
- Polly Pocket Uno
- Ratatouille Uno
- Ren and Stimpy Uno"
- Scooby-Doo Uno
- Sesame Street Uno
- Shrek Uno
- Shrek 2 Uno
- Shrek the Third Uno
- The Simpsons Uno
- The Simpsons: Great Scot Uno
- The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror Uno
- The Simpsons: Springfield Uno
- South Park Uno
- Speed Racer'
- Spider-Man Uno
- SpongeBob SquarePants #1
- SpongeBob SquarePants #2
- SpongeBob SquarePants #3
- St. Louis Uno
- Star Trek Uno
- Superman Returns Uno
- Sydney 2000 Uno
- Teen Titans Uno
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Uno
- Texas Uno
- Thomas & Friends Uno
- Toy Story Uno
- Toy Story 3 Uno
- Uno 35th Anniversary
- Uno 40th Anniversary Edition
- Uno Deluxe in box
- Uno Deluxe in Wood Box
- Uno H2O
- Uno H2O Splash
- Uno Mod
- WWE Legends Uno
- Wizard of Oz Uno
- X-Men Uno
Note: * indicates HIT Entertainment character, by which Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.
Themed video games
Versions available on the Xbox 360 version of Uno:
Themed sports teams
Several sports teams each have 112-card sets, featuring players from those teams. The special cards in each deck vary depending on the card set itself. The following teams have confirmed Uno sets.
- Boston Red Sox (regular and World Series editions)
- Boston Celtics
- Calgary Flames
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago Bears
- Chicago White Sox
- Houston Astros
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Basketball player LeBron James
- Manchester United
- MLB All-Stars
- NBA All-Stars
(East and West)
- Auburn Tigers (NCAA)
- New England Patriots
- New York Giants
- New York Knicks
- New York Mets
- New York Yankees
Special Uno games
- Uno Attack
- Uno Attack Refill Deck
- Uno Dice
- Uno Flash
- Uno Flip
- Uno Junior
- Uno Moo
- Uno Reflex
- Uno Roboto
- Uno Rummy Up
- Uno Spin
- Uno Spin To Go
- Uno Stacko
- Uno Dominoes
- Uno H2O
- Uno H2O To Go
- Uno Tippo
- Electronic Uno
- Uno Color Screen
- Uno Blitzo
- Uno Deluxe
- Uno Master
- Travel Uno Stacko
- Uno Bingo
- Uno Hearts
- Uno Madness
- Uno Slam
- Uno Wild Tiles
- Uno (handheld video game for the Game Boy Color of the classic Uno board game)
- Uno (PlayStation Network)
- Uno (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Uno Rush (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Uno Challenge (mobile version of the classic Uno board game)
- Uno Free Fall (puzzle game for mobile phones)
- Uno 52 (Nintendo Game Boy Advance)
- Super Uno (Super Famicom)
- Uno (Facebook) (Adobe Flash–based version of the classic Uno card game produced by GameHouse Studios)
- Uno iPhone version featuring online and local play. Produced by Gameloft
- Uno The same as on the iPhone, but with enhanced graphics. Produced by Gameloft
- Uno Released as three versions: SD, HD and Free with adverts. Produced by Gameloft
- Pocket Uno
- Uno for Windows Phone
- Uno Undercover (Windows)
Alternative Game Play
Many variations from the standard gameplay exist, such as Elimination Uno, Speed Uno, and Pirate Uno.
Alternative Games Featuring Uno Deck
Uno is a member of the shedding family of card games. The shedding family of card games consists of games where the objective is to get rid of all your cards while preventing the other players from getting rid of their cards.
- UNO instruction sheet, 1983, International Games Ltd.
- "30 Anniversary Rule Book". Mattel. 2001. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- Exact wording of the official rules: 'When you play your next-to-last card, you must yell "UNO" (meaning "one") to indicate that you have only one card left'.
- "How to Play UNO in Large Groups". UNOtips.org. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- "Tells". Unotips.org. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
- which features the "friendship" card, where the player can swap his/her hand with another player.
- feature a Joker, when you discard this card you can choose 1 to 3 players to draw 1 to 3 cards
- "On the Go Card: Swapping Cards with the player to your left or right depending on the person that played the card.
- two different packs. One a heart shaped tin, one a lunch box style. Features "Care-a-lot" card, when played allows all players to discard any card in their hand to the discard pile without causing any consequences to other players.
- Packaged in a round barrel designed to fit in a car's cup holder
- "Cheese Touch Card: If this card is played, all players need to show their yellow cards if they got the cheese touch.
- "Evil card: the player holding this card can steal the top card from the DISCARD pile at any point in the game, even if it's not his/her turn."
- Features the Dragon Card, when played, all players must discard a prince card (regardless of color or number) to kill the dragon before continuing play. If a player does not have a prince card in their hand, they must pick up cards until they find a prince card.
- Deck features many of the characters on the Disney Channel.
- The deck features pictures of various dogs on each of the cards, and contains a Fetch Wild Card.
- (Released in Japan)
- "Vegas" Command Card. This card can only be played on another Vegas card or on the same color of play. When this card is played, the next person in the direction of play has to draw 1 card off of the draw pile and flip it over. If the card flipped over is 0–9, then the player has to draw that many cards and keep the card they flipped over. If the card flipped over is a skip command card, then the next player in direction of play has to draw 10 cards, and the player who flipped over the skip keeps only that card. If the card flipped over is a Reverse command card, then the player who laid the Vegas card has to draw ten cards. If the card flipped over is a wild, draw 2, or a draw 4 wild, then the next player has to draw 10 cards, plus the extra 2 or 4 from the wild.
- in which players can try for world domination, à la Stewie Griffin, with the exclusive "Dominate" card and rule.
- Includes the Travel card (featuring Traveling Matt), which allows the player to 'travel' to another player's spot and view his/her entire hand.
- "Sue Sylvester's Sabotage Card allows you to select an opponent whose hand you wish to view, then allows you to swap a card you don't want with one you desire from the hand of the opponent you selected."
- "Best of Both Worlds Card, when this used a player can decide whether to use this as "Miley's 'Ya Think' Rule" or "Hannah's Gotta Secret Rule". This former causes every other player to draw a single card, while the latter can block a "Wild Draw Four" Card."
- Yogi Bear adds to the fun with the exclusive "pic-a-nic" card – the player with this special card gets to steal the top card from the discard pile at any point in the game.
- "Mambo! card: the player who plays it must give each opponent one card from his/her hand, and then places a card on the discard pile to start the next round."
- which features a Draw Three (instead of Draw Two) card; also features a "howler" wild card where, if played, the player who uses the card may select another player to say all of their cards aloud; also features an "invisibility" wild card where, if played, the player can block any card placed down (such as, a card that forces them to draw cards)
- "Love Me Not" card and rule that when laid, person who laid the card picks a color and everyone has to lay down a card from their hand of the color and say 'Love Me' as they discard. If a person doesn't have a card of the color, they must draw until they get one while saying 'Love Me Not'. The color called is now the color in play after everyone has laid their card, and the game continues.
- features 27 additional or modified cards
- Gamma Card: Makes a player discard all their cards in their hand and draw the same amount discarded.
- Features farm equipment graphics and a "Harvest" card-The player who plays the harvest card selects another player to draw from the DRAW pile until he/she draws a green card, which will allow them to complete the harvest (or, until they draw 5 cards, whichever comes first).
- "Battle" card
- power card: draw 6 cards. Same thing as Nintendo Uno.
- "Mayhem card: the player who plays it causes everyone to swap hands. The direction of the swap is determined by the player playing the card."
- card sets only have 36 cards designed for children at least 3 years of age. These sets come in several variants, based on titles for children (such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Sesame Street, and Clifford the Big Red Dog).
- "My Uno: Uno card game with your own personal pictures."
- Has pictures of various Nintendo characters on each card and has writing in classic 8-bit style. Also contains the Power card; this card can be used as a regular Wild card at any time, but can also be used to block a Draw 2 or Wild Draw 4 card played against the player after which it acts as a regular Wild card.
- Artwork contains scenes from the University of Notre Dame, mostly football-related. Includes a special "Irish" card which can be played as a wild card or to block a draw two or four.
- Released in Japan. The gameplay is the same as normal, but all card's artwork is made into One Piece related artwork.
- "Red Baron" card: this is a wild card; the player playing the card chooses to look at someone else's hand and then designates the color of play. "Good Grief" card: this is a wild card; the player playing the card may select an opponent to continue drawing cards until one depicting Charlie Brown is drawn.
- Wei, R. H.. Gamebits: Peanuts at Play. Games. Issue 196 (Vol. 27, No. 10). Pg.4. December 2003.
- Happy Holidays Card
- The Black Pearl card and special rule lets the player who lays it down choose one opponent and that opponent must draw until he/she gets a Capt. Jack Sparrow card or a Capt. Barbosa card.
- Features third-generation and previous Pokémon on the back of cards
- features an exclusive "Recipe for Chaos" card.
- features an exclusive "Eeeeeediot" card where the person playing this card chooses someone to be the "Eeeediot" and turn their hand around so it is facing everyone else and continue to hold their hand that way until someone discards a card with a Stimpy on it.
- Features a Grouch card, which allows players to give up to three un-needed cards in their hand to another player, so it removes their "garbage". The character featured on it is Oscar the Grouch. There are 4 Grouch cards in the 112-card deck.
- In a Shrek-faced package
- features a Draw Three card. It also includes a "Blinky" card which requires all players to pick up cards from the draw pile until all players pick up a card of the colour named by the "Blinky" player. This feature can considerably add to the game time. At least one other version contains the Doh! card. This is a wild card where everyone has to draw 2 cards including the person who placed it down!
- which features a "GREAT SCOT" card, with Groundskeeper Willie, where a player selects another player and gives that player two of the former's cards.
- features a Witchcraft; the player who plays this card can use it to block any Draw 2 or Wild Draw 4 played against him/her.
- The special card is called "Dead Kenny". When you play this card, you decide which player will share Kenny's bad luck. You may choose any player's hand to "kill" by having that player draw cards from the DRAW pile. The chosen player must keep drawing cards until he/she draws any card with Kenny on it.
- ' This set has a special Racer X card. The player who uses this card draws a card from the draw pile onto the discard pile and the depending on the number, the next player must place a card that follows the number drawn before. For example, player A draws the racer X card and draws a card with the number 3. The next player must place a card with the number 4 (regardless of colour) and the next player must place a card with the number 5 and so on. If they reach 9, they must start over with 0 until a player is unable to place a card and he/she must draw three cards.
- The special card is called "Spider Sense" card, where this card is a wild card and allows you to view an opponent's hand.
- Super Absorbency (#1) Uno – which features the Super Absorbency card, a wild card which requires the next player to draw one card from all other players' hands at random. There is controversy as to what happens when the Super Absorbency card is played as the player's penultimate card. Some contend that the person playing the card would win as the next player would be required to take that card from him/her. However, some say that there is an exception whereas the Super Absorbency requires a card to be drawn from all players' hands except those who are in the uno stage. Clarification can be found on the back of the SpongeBob metallic tin.
- Secret Recipe (#2) Uno – Secret Recipe – Allows the player to look at another player's hand. The player can also select a new color just like a wild card.
- Lost in Time (#3 Uno) – Daredevil – Can be played to counter a Draw 2 or Draw 4 card. Can also be used as a wild card.
- Two Editions, both based on Star Trek: The Original Series
- with special cards, each of which appears once per pack: Double Tribble card – The player who plays this card chooses the color of play, then next player doubles the amount of cards in their hand and forfeits their turn; Beam Me Up, Scotty card – This can played to stop any command card (a "Draw 2" card, for example) and allows for the color of play to be chosen; Mind Meld card – This commands the next player to show the person who played this card their hand; Live Long & Prosper card – This can be played at any time to discard the players hand and pick up an entirely new one, then allows him/her to choose color of play.
- which simplifies the special WILDs to one kind: 4 "Beam Up WILD" cards that can negate the effects of any DRAW 2 or DRAW 4 WILD cards played against a player. That player can then call a new color, and play resumes as if they had played a regular WILD. (It can also be used as a regular WILD if desired.) *Superman Uno – This version features a battle card. When this card is played, the player who plays it selects another player to "battle". The player who played the card chooses to be either Superman or Bizarro, and the player he/she selected is the other character. Superman must discard a blue card since Bizarro is vulnerable to blue Kryptonite, and Bizarro must discard a green card since Superman is vulnerable to green Kryptonite.
- This deck has a "claw" card that when a player lays it down, everyone has to lay down a card of any color with an alien on it.
- This specialty deck features characters from the Toy Story 3 universe. One special card includes the Lotso card, which functions as a Wild card, but with a penalty. The person playing the Lotso card calls out a color. All other players must immediately show a card of the color. Any player who does not have a card of the same color must draw 3 cards. If all players have the chosen color, then the person who played the card must draw 3 cards.
- A special deck made to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the first edition of Uno released in the United States in 1971. In this deck, there are specialty "35" cards, when, if the card is in play, only 3s or 5s of any color must be played after the card is dealt.
- A deck sold at the end of 2010 and throughout 2011 with the cards and box design resembling the original International Games-era product.
- with erasable score pad
- A deck with transparent waterproof cards. It includes 4 (2 of which are +1 2 of which are +2 downpour cards) black action cards called "wild DownPour" cards; when played, all the other players must pick up the number specified on the card and may choose the next color of play these cards replace two of the wild cards and two of the wild draw four cards out of the original deck, and also double as wild cards.
- Features a special "whirlpool" device that has you shake the Magic 8 Ball-like item to reveal what you must do such as Wave Left or Wave Right
- Two decks in a Red and White Plastic Travel Case. Contains 2 Mod Cards in each deck. The Mod Card plays like a wild card but instead allows you to pass out all the cards of one color from your hand to your opponents in a clockwise manner.
- Includes a special "Over The Rainbow" card where the person playing this card chooses someone hand to look at, also acts as a wild which then the person chooses the color of play.
- Includes the "Mutate" card, which when played, allows the player to exchange all but one of their cards with new cards from the draw pile. Alternatively, the player can choose to force another player to do the same.
- In this game, the cards show different characters from the Street Fighter II video game. This deck contains a special Hadouken card, which allows the user to choose 1 player to draw cards until they have drawn a Skip or a Reverse card. Play then continues on as normally.
- In this game, the cards are drawn like cars seen in the Project Gotham Racing series of video games. In this game, the rules include a card called the "Gotham Live" card, which is the same name used as the replay feature in Project Gotham Racing 3. This card allows a player to look at the hand of any of the other players.
- This pack was released on 1 November 2006. This is a custom deck with artwork from the Kameo game. In addition, a special play card allows you to swap your hand with the hand of another player in the game.
- (Uno Extreme in the UK and Canada)
- Official Mattel Uno site
- Uno Rules at UnoRules.com
- Uno Variations at UnoVariations.blogspot.com
- Uno variants at pagat.com
- Uno News at Wonkavator
- Advanced UNO strategy at UNOtips.org
- Uno at BoardGameGeek