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Uno (card game)

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UNO Logo.svg
Players2–10 players[1]
Skills requiredHand management
Age range7+[1]
Playing timeVaries
Random chanceHigh

Uno (/ˈn/; from Italian and Spanish for 'one'; stylized as UNO) is an American shedding-type card game that is played with a specially printed deck. The game's general principles put it into the crazy eights family of card games, and it is similar to the traditional European game mau-mau.

It has been a Mattel brand since 1992.[2]


The game was originally developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. When his family and friends began to play more and more, he spent $8,000 to have 5,000 copies of the game made.[3] He sold it from his barbershop at first, and local businesses began to sell it as well. Robbins later sold the rights to Uno to a group of friends headed by Robert Tezak, a funeral parlor owner in Joliet, Illinois, for $50,000 plus royalties of 10 cents per game. Tezak formed International Games, Inc., to market Uno, with offices behind his funeral parlor. The games were produced by Lewis Saltzman of Saltzman Printers in Maywood, Illinois.

In 1992, International Games became part of the Mattel family of companies.[4]

Official rules[edit]

Uno cards
Uno cards
Uno cards deck

The aim of the game is to be the first player to score 500 points, achieved (usually over several rounds of play) by being the first to play all of one's own cards and scoring points for the cards still held by the other players.

The deck consists of 108 cards: four each of "Wild" and "Wild Draw Four", and 25 each of four colors (red, yellow, green, blue). Each color consists of one zero, two each of 1 through 9, and two each of "Skip", "Draw Two", and "Reverse". These last three types are known as "action cards".

To start a hand, seven cards are dealt to each player, and the top card of the remaining 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, they must do one of the following:

  • play one 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 from the deck, then play it if possible

Cards are played by laying them face-up on top of the discard pile. Play proceeds clockwise around the table.

Action or Wild cards have the following effects:

Card Effect when played from hand Effect as first discard
Skip Next player in sequence misses a turn Player to dealer's left misses a turn
Reverse Order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, or vice versa) Dealer plays first; play proceeds counterclockwise
Draw Two (+2) Next player in sequence draws two cards and misses a turn Player to dealer's left draws two cards and misses a turn
Wild Player declares the next color to be matched (may be used on any turn even if the player has matching color; current color may be chosen as the next to be matched) Player to dealer's left declares the first color to be matched and plays a card in it
Wild Draw Four/Draw Four Wild (+4 and wild) Player declares the next color to be matched; next player in sequence draws four cards and misses a turn. May be legally played only if the player has no cards of the current color (see Penalties). Return card to the deck, shuffle, flip top card to start discard pile
  • A player who draws from the deck must either play or keep that card and may play no other card from their hand 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 and still play the Wild Draw Four card.[5] A player who plays a Wild Draw Four may be challenged by the next player in sequence (see Penalties) to prove that their hand meets this condition.
  • 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.

A player who plays their next-to-last-card must call "uno" as a warning to the other players.[6]

The first player to get rid of their 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 20, and Wild and Wild Draw Four cards count 50. If a Draw Two or Wild Draw Four card is played to go out, the next player in the sequence must draw the appropriate number of cards before the score is tallied.

The first player to score 500 points wins the game.


  • If a player does not call "uno" after laying down their next-to-last card and is caught before the next player in sequence takes a turn (i.e., plays a card from their hand, draws from the deck, or touches the discard pile), they must draw two cards as a penalty. If the player is not caught in time (subject to interpretation) or remembers to call "uno" before being caught, they suffer no penalty.[5]
  • If a player plays a Wild Draw Four card, the following player can challenge its use. The player who used the Wild Draw Four must privately show their hand to the challenging player, in order to demonstrate that they had no matching colored cards. If the challenge is correct, then the challenged player draws four cards instead. If the challenge is wrong, then the challenger must draw six cards; the four cards they were already required to draw plus two more cards.[5]

Two-player game[edit]

In a two-player game, the Reverse card acts like a Skip card; when played, the other player misses a turn.

House rules[edit]

The following official house rules are suggested in the Uno rulebook, to alter the game:

  • Progressive Uno: If a draw card is played, and the following player has the same card, they can play that card and "stack" the penalty, which adds to the current penalty and passes it to the following player.[5] (Although a +4 cannot be stacked on a +2, or vice versa.)[7] This house rule is so commonly used that there was widespread Twitter surprise in 2019 when Mattel stated that stacking was not part of the standard rules of Uno.[7]
  • Seven-O: When a 7 is played, the person who played may choose to swap their hand with that of another player. When a zero is played, all players pass their hands to the left.[5]
  • Jump-In: If a player has exactly the same card (both number and color) as the top card of the discard pile, they may play it immediately, even if it is not their turn. The game then continues as if that player had just taken their turn.[5]


A strategy at Uno may be offensive (aiming to go out), or defensive (aiming to minimize the value of one's hand, in the event that another player goes out, thus getting those points). Part of the skill of playing Uno is knowing when to adopt an offensive or defensive strategy.

An offensive strategy would be holding on to Wild and Wild Draw Four cards because they can be played near the end of the hand in order to go out (when it is harder 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 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 by the other players, who may be able to use action cards to prevent that player from going 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 one's own 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. Attempts to reduce point count in a 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.

Card and deck styles[edit]

A deck of English Uno cards from 1994. This particular deck uses the older card design, where letters appear on the action cards instead of symbols.

Modern Uno action cards bear symbols which denote their action, except for the Wild cards which still bear the word "Wild". Before the design change,[when?] such cards in English versions of the game had letters only. Earlier English versions can be recognized by the absence of the white rim that surrounds the edge of most Uno cards.

Other versions of the game use symbols and images in both old and new designs, especially ones with Wild cards that do not bear the word "Wild". There are also language-free versions of the newer styles that do not bear the word "Wild" but have the same styling.

The 2010 "Uno Mod" edition uses symbols instead of letters or numbers.

On September 16, 2017, Mattel released Uno ColorAdd, the first game designed specifically for those suffering from color blindness.[8]

On October 1, 2019, Mattel released a Braille version of their game, with Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said in a press release, "The fact that a blind person is now able to play a classic game of UNO straight out of the box with both blind and sighted friends or family members is a truly meaningful moment for our community."[9][10]

Theme packs[edit]

There are many different themes and versions of Uno. These theme games may come with slightly different directions and special cards.[11]

Note: * indicates HIT Entertainment character, by which Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.

Themed My First Uno games[edit]

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. My First Uno versions:

Themed video games[edit]

Uno versions available on the Xbox 360:

Themed sports teams[edit]

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.

Special Uno games[edit]

Video games[edit]


Many variations from standard gameplay exist, such as Elimination Uno, Speed Uno and Pirate Uno.[17]

In 2018, Mattel released a spin-off of Uno entitled Dos; the game is differentiated primarily by having a "center row" of discard piles, where pairs of cards that add up to the sum of a card on the top of one of the piles may be discarded.[18][19]

The game can be played with two decks of standard playing cards, if the jokers are marked up as the zeroes of the four suits, and the royalty treated as the special cards.

Uno: Slots[edit]

In 2002, International Gaming Technology (IGT)[20] released a video slot machine based on Uno.

Uno: The Game Show[edit]

In March 2013, it was announced that Mattel and the Gurin Company[21][22] were teaming up to create a game show based on the card game, produced as a half-hour daily strip with a $100,000 cash jackpot along with a primetime version in which contestants competed for 1 million dollars. However, the idea was scrapped later on.

Film adaptation[edit]

On February 4, 2021, an action heist comedy film based on the game was announced to be in development for Mattel Films with Lil Yachty of record label Quality Control Music developing and being eyed for the lead role alongside the label's managers Kevin "Coach K" Lee and Pierre "P" Thomas, and Brian Sher for Quality Films producing, Marcy Kelly writing, and Robbie Brenner and Kevin McKeon leading the project as executive producer and supervising producer, respectively.[23]

Similar games[edit]

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.


  1. ^ A version released in Japan.
  2. ^ Features the "friendship" card, where the player can swap his/her hand with another player. (2002, 2010)
  3. ^ 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. (2004) (2013)
  4. ^ Deck features many of the characters on the Disney Channel.
  5. ^ Card game in Foil Bag.
  6. ^ 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 or her turn. (2005, 2012)
  7. ^ Released in Japan
  8. ^ Includes the Travel card (featuring Traveling Matt), which allows the player to "travel" to another player's spot and view his or her entire hand. (2006)
  9. ^ 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). (2000, 2003, 2005, 2010)
  10. ^ A deck with transparent waterproof cards. It includes four (two of which are +1 and two 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. (2004)
  11. ^ First of the #UNOAtriste series
  12. ^ 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).
  13. ^ Features X-Ray card that lets a player see another's hand and strategically exchange a card.
  14. ^ Second of the #UNOAtriste series
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Third of the #UNOAtriste series
  17. ^ Will be interesting to see if this hits store shelves since the Olympics were postponed to 2021 due to COVID19.
  18. ^ Wei, R. H. "Gamebits: Peanuts at Play". Games. Issue 196 (Vol. 27, No. 10). p. 4. December 2003.
  19. ^ Happy Holidays Card (2007, 2008, 2010)
  20. ^ In a Shrek-faced package. 'Merlin Card' When you play this card you call out a color of your choice. All other players draw cards from the DRAW pile until each draws a card of that color. All of the cards that they draw are added to the cards in their hands. (2007)
  21. ^ 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. (2007)
  22. ^ Comes with a handy clip that keeps all the cards together and attaches to a beach bag, backpack or camping gear. Seems to be about the same as H2O To Go.
  23. ^ Comes with a handy clip that keeps all the cards together and attaches to a beach bag, backpack or camping gear.
  24. ^ 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. (2002)
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Lost in Time (#3 Uno) – Daredevil – Can be played to counter a Draw Two or Draw Four card. Can also be used as a Wild card.
  27. ^ Two Editions, both based on Star Trek: The Original Series
  28. ^ 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 number of cards in their hand and forfeits their turn; Beam Me Up, Scotty card – This can played to stop any command card (a "Draw Two" 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. (1999)
  29. ^ 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.) (2008)
  30. ^ Some versions with erasable score pad. (1978, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, 2001, 2000, 2004, 2008)
  31. ^ When this Check Two card played by a player, he/she can:
      • immediately play another card of the same suit color, OR
      • play either Wild or Wild Draw Four card, the wild color called must match the color of the Check Two card played.
    However, this Check Two card cannot be played:
    • on its own (without a card of the same suit color), OR
    • as the last card in your hand.
    If the Check Two card is the last card in a player hand, he/she must take another card from the draw pile. If the card just drawn matches the suit color of the Check Two card, he/she may directly play the Check Two card, say "uno", and play the matching suit color card to complete the game. (2002)
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ 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 normal.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ This may be the same as the "American League" deck
  37. ^ Different sources list 2005, 2006, & 2007


  1. ^ a b Uno instruction sheet, 1983, International Games Ltd.
  2. ^ "Mattel to buy International Games". UPI. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Uno History".
  4. ^ "30 Anniversary rule Book" (PDF). Mattel. 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "UNO Basic Instructions" (PDF). Mattel. 2008.
  6. ^ 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".
  7. ^ a b Hourigan, Adam. "The Uno rule you're all getting wrong". Daily Examiner. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Candice; Lussier, Muriel (16 September 2017). "UNO® Introduces The First Card Game For The Colorblind". Mattel Newsroom. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  9. ^ Capron, Maddie; Zdanowicz, Christina (1 October 2019). "Mattel releases a braille version of UNO". CNN. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. ^ Tucker, Devin; Hein, Joanna; Cascone, Stephanie (1 October 2019). "UNO® Introduces First Official Braille Deck". Business Wire. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Every Type of UNO Card Game, Theme Pack, and Spinoff".
  12. ^ Ammann, Keith; Ratzlaff, Dan (23 May 2017). "Hot Death UNO! 1.5". Internet Archive. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Nintendo Life – Uno WiiWare review". Nintendo Life. November 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Buy Uno". Microsoft Store.
  15. ^ "Buy UNO ™ & Friends". Microsoft Store.
  16. ^ "UNO Now Available On Nintendo Switch". Gamasutra. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Uno Variations".
  18. ^ Friedman, Megan (13 February 2018). "The Makers of UNO Are Releasing a Spinoff Game Called DOS". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  19. ^ Beck, Kellen. "'DOS,' the sequel to 'UNO,' is a new take on an old favorite". Mashable. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  20. ^ "UNO Slots" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2004.
  21. ^ "'UNO: The Game Show' In The Cards From Mattel And Gurin Co". Deadline. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  22. ^ Lyons, Margaret (26 March 2013). "Who Doesn't Want an UNO TV Show?". Vulture. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  23. ^ "Lil Yachty Developing Action Heist Movie Based on Card Game Uno". Variety. 4 February 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.


Media related to UNO at Wikimedia Commons