Uno (card game)

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Uno
DesignerMerle Robbins
Publisher
  • International Games (until 1992)
  • Mattel (since 1992)
TypeShedding-type
Players2–10 players[1]
SkillsHand management
Age range7+[1]
Cards112[2]
Playing timeVaries
ChanceHigh

Uno (/ˈn/; from Spanish and Italian for 'one'), stylized as UNO, is a proprietary American shedding-type card game originally developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, that housed International Games Inc., a gaming company acquired by Mattel on January 23, 1992.[3]

Played with a specially printed deck, the game is derived from the crazy eights family of card games which, in turn, is based on the traditional German game of mau-mau.

History[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5]

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 2018 edition of the game consists of 112 cards: 25 in each of four color suits (red, yellow, green, blue), each suit consisting of one zero, two each of 1 through 9, and two each of the action cards "Skip", "Draw Two", and "Reverse". The deck also contains four "Wild" cards, four "Wild Draw Four", one "Wild Shuffle Hands" and three "Wild Customizable".[2] Sets manufactured prior to 2018 do not contain these last two types of Wild cards, for a total of 108 cards in the deck.[6]

For each hand, a dealer is determined by having each player randomly draw one card from the deck. The player with the highest number card deals, and all cards are reshuffled into the deck to begin the dealing.

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 Wild Draw Four card if allowed to (see restrictions below)
  • draw the top card from the deck, and optionally play it if possible

Cards are played by laying them face-up on top of the discard pile. Play initially 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 any card of matching color) Player to dealer's left declares the first color to be matched and takes the first turn
Wild Draw Four Player declares the next color to be matched; next player in sequence draws four cards and misses a turn. May be legally played if the player has no cards of the current color (see Penalties) Card is returned to the deck, then a new card is laid down into the discard pile (deck may be reshuffled first if needed)
  • A player who draws a card from the deck must choose whether to play that card immediately or keep it. No cards already in their hand may be played on that turn.
  • A Wild card may be played on any turn, even if the player holding it has cards that will match the current color, number, and/or symbol.
  • A Wild Draw Four card may only be played if the player holding it has no cards matching the current color. The player may have cards of a different color matching the current number/symbol or a Wild card and still play the Wild Draw Four card.[6] 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. An illegally played Wild Draw Four card incurs no penalty for its user unless challenged.
  • A player using a Wild or Wild Draw Four card must declare the new matching color before ending their turn, and may declare the current color if desired.
  • If the draw deck runs out 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 any other player at any time.

A player who plays their penultimate card must call "Uno" as a warning to the other players.[7]

The first player to get rid of their last card ("going out") wins the hand and scores points for the cards held by each other player. 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.

Penalties[edit]

  • If a player does not call "Uno" after laying down their penultimate card and is caught before the next player in sequence takes their 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 or remembers to call "Uno" before being caught, no penalty applies to that player.[6]
  • If a player plays a Wild Draw Four card, the next player in turn order may choose to 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 cards of prior matching color. If the challenge is successful, the challenged player must draw four cards instead and play continues with the challenger. Otherwise, the challenger must draw six cards – the four cards they were already required to draw plus two more cards – and miss their turn.[6] In either case, the Wild Draw Four stays with its chosen color.

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.[8]

House rules[edit]

The following house rules are suggested in the Uno instructions to alter the game:

  • Progressive or Stacking Uno: If a draw card is played, and the next player in turn order has a card with the same symbol, that player can play that card and "stack" the penalty, which adds to the current penalty and passes it to the next player[6] (although a +4 cannot be stacked on a +2, or vice versa).[9] 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.[9]
  • Seven-O: Every time a "7" is played, whoever played it must swap hands with another player of their choice before ending their turn. Every time a "0" is played, all players pass their hands to the next player in the current direction of play, after which play continues normally.[6]
  • 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. Play then continues as if that player had just taken their turn.[6]
  • 6-Smackdown: When a "6" is played, players must place their hand on top of the card, whoever is the last player to place their hand on the card will have to draw 2 cards.[10]
  • Keep-Drawing: When it's a player's turn and they don't have a card in their hand that they can play, the player will have to draw until they find a playable card.[11]

2018 rule changes[edit]

The two new types of Wild cards have the following functions:

  • Wild Shuffle Hands: The player using this card collects all cards held by all players, then shuffles and re-deals them.
  • Wild Customizable: There are three copies of this; these cards are blank and can have a house rule assigned to them.

Each of these cards can be played on any turn and is worth 40 points when a player goes out.[2]

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, 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, which was designed specifically for those suffering from color blindness.[12]

On October 1, 2019, Mattel released a Braille version of their game with Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. Riccobono 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."[13][14]

Special Uno games[edit]

  • Uno 50th Anniversary (2021)
  • Uno Wild Twists (2022)
  • Uno All Wild (2022)
  • Uno Attack (Uno Extreme in the UK and Canada) (1999)
  • Uno Attack Jurassic World (2018)
  • Uno Attack Refill Deck (2005)
  • Uno Bingo (1997)
  • Uno Blast (2012)
  • Uno Blitzo (2000)
  • Uno Choo-Choo (2011)
  • Uno Color Screen
  • Uno Deluxe (2022)
  • Uno Dare (2014)
  • Uno Dice (1987, 1996, 2011)
  • Uno Dominoes (1986)
  • Uno Emoji (2016)[15]
  • Electronic Uno (2020)
  • Uno Flash (2007)
  • Uno Flex! (2023)
  • Uno Flip (2009) (Target Store Exclusive)
  • Uno Flip! (2019)
  • Get Wild for Uno (2016)
  • Giant Uno (2016)
  • Giant BTS Uno (2020)
  • Uno Go! (2022)
  • Uno H2O (2004)
  • Uno H2O To Go
  • Uno Harry Potter (2019)
  • Uno Hearts (1994)
  • Uno Junior (1992)
  • King Size Uno (1994)
  • Uno Lightyear (2021)
  • Uno Madness (1995)
  • Uno Minecraft (2018)
  • Uno Moo (2008, 2014)
  • Uno Show 'Em No Mercy (2023)
  • Uno Party! (2022)
  • Uno Power Grab (2012)
  • Uno Remix (2022)
  • Uno Reflex (2010)
  • Uno Roboto (2010)
  • Uno Royal Revenge (2014)
  • Uno Rummy Up (1993)
  • Uno Showdown Supercharged (2020)
  • Uno Spin (2005)
  • Uno Spin Hannah Montana (2005)
  • Uno Spin One Piece (Japan)
  • Uno Spin To Go (2010)
  • Uno Stacko (1994)
  • Travel Uno Stacko
  • Uno Tippo (2009)
  • Uno Tiki Twist (2014)
  • Uno Triple Play (2021)
  • Uno Wild Jackpot (2016)
  • Uno Wild Tiles (1982)

Uno H2O[edit]

Uno H2O differs from the standard game in that the cards are transparent and waterproof. Play is identical to the standard pre-2018 Uno game, with the addition of two types of "Wild Downpour" cards. When one of these is played, all other players must draw either one or two cards as indicated on the card. The player using it may then declare the next color to be matched.

Video games[edit]

Variations[edit]

Many variations from standard gameplay exist, such as Elimination Uno, Speed Uno and Pirate Uno.[20]

On February 13, 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.[21][22][23]

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.

Spin-offs[edit]

Slot machines[edit]

In 2002, International Gaming Technology introduced a "pod concept" for grouping the prize winnings of similarly-themed and newly-released MegaJackpot games into one collective pool.[24] Among these was the new Famous Games pod, unveiling two new Mattel-licensed machines, UNO Slots and Magic 8 Ball slots. In the following two years, additional properties were tied into the pod, along with the Video Slot versions of both UNO and Magic 8 Ball.[25]

The UNO slot machine featured a basic vertical 3 wheel system, along with 3 additional horizontal wheels that would activate when 3 UNO bonus symbols in any position were landed with the maximum bet wagered.[26] Meanwhile, the UNO Video Slot Machine featured a 5 reel, 15 line Video system with additional UNO Attack and UNO Triple bonus games awarded based on the symbols landed.[27] Both versions saw limited releases to various Native American gaming centers.[25]

Uno: The Game Show[edit]

In March 2013, it was announced that Mattel and the Gurin Company[28][29] 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.[30]

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.

Reception[edit]

The Games magazine included Uno in their "Top 100 Games of 1980", noting that the game "borrows so much from the familiar card game of Crazy Eights" but that "it's a much better game and just as simple to learn".[31] They would later include the game in their "Top 100 Games of 1982", noting that its "popularity is based on its simplicity, not on its strategic aspects" and that "the game has a rummylike scoring system".[32]

Reviews[edit]

  • Family Games: The 100 Best[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Uno instruction sheet, 1983, International Games Ltd.
  2. ^ a b c "Uno Instructions, 2018" (PDF). Mattel Service. August 30, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Mattel to buy International Games". UPI. January 23, 1992. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "Uno History". UNO Rules.
  5. ^ "30 Anniversary Rule Book" (PDF). Mattel Service. January 31, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "UNO Basic Instructions" (PDF). Mattel Service. December 17, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  7. ^ 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".
  8. ^ "Uno Instruction Sheet" (PDF). Mattel Service. July 21, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Hourigan, Adam. "The Uno rule you're all getting wrong". Daily Examiner. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  10. ^ "UNO's house rule "6 Smackdown"". UNO's official Twitter. May 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "UNO stating that "Keep Drawing" can be used as a house rule". UNO's official Twitter. December 19, 2022.
  12. ^ Jacobson, Candice; Lussier, Muriel (September 6, 2017). "UNO® Introduces The First Card Game For The Colorblind". Mattel News. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Capron, Maddie; Zdanowicz, Christina (October 1, 2019). "Mattel releases a braille version of UNO". CNN. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Tucker, Devin; Hein, Joanna; Cascone, Stephanie (October 1, 2019). "UNO® Introduces First Official Braille Deck". businesswire.com. Business Wire. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  15. ^ https://m.service.mattel.com/us/Technical/productDetail?prodno=DYC15&siteid=27
  16. ^ "Nintendo Life – Uno WiiWare review". Nintendo Life. November 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  17. ^ "Buy Uno". Microsoft Store.
  18. ^ "Buy UNO ™ & Friends". Microsoft Store.
  19. ^ "UNO Now Available On Nintendo Switch". Gamasutra. November 7, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  20. ^ "Uno Variations".
  21. ^ Friedman, Megan (February 13, 2018). "The Makers of UNO Are Releasing a Spinoff Game Called DOS". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Beck, Kellen (February 13, 2018). "'DOS,' the sequel to 'UNO,' is a new take on an old favorite". Mashable. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  23. ^ Pisani, Joseph (February 13, 2018). "Mattel doubles down on Uno with a new card game called Dos". Jacksonville, Florida: The Florida Times-Union. Associated Press. Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  24. ^ IGT (September 10, 2015). "Pat Sajak, Vanna White will help IGT launch newest version of Wheel of Fortune slot machine at Global Gaming Expo". IGT News Room. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  25. ^ a b "Famous Games". Sodak Gaming Inc. Online. August 13, 2004. Archived from the original on August 13, 2004. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  26. ^ IGT. "UNO Slots" (PDF). IGT Products. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2004.
  27. ^ IGT. "UNO Video Slots" (PDF). IGT Products. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 28, 2004. Retrieved January 3, 2024.
  28. ^ "'UNO: The Game Show' In The Cards From Mattel And Gurin Co". Deadline. March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  29. ^ Lyons, Margaret (March 26, 2013). "Who Doesn't Want an UNO TV Show?". Vulture. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  30. ^ "Lil Yachty Developing Action Heist Movie Based on Card Game Uno". Variety. February 4, 2021. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Games of 1980". Games. No. 20. November–December 1980. p. 58.
  32. ^ Schmittberger, R. Wayne, ed. (November 1982). "The Top 100 Games 1982". Games. No. 33. p. 52.
  33. ^ Lowder, James (January 4, 2024). Family games : The 100 best. Green Ronin. ISBN 978-1-934547-21-2.

External links[edit]