Uno Game


History of Uno

Uno is one of the most popular family card games today, and that is exactly how it began: as a family card game.

In Reading, Ohio in 1971, Merle Robbins created Uno. Merle and his family played the game, and eventually started playing it with friends.

Everyone loved the game so Merle decided to have multiple copies of the card game made. He began by selling it to friends and neighbours, and eventually was able to have local businesses sell the card game too.

Just a few years later in 1976, the card game became officially licensed by International Games and started being mass-produced. In 1992, International Games joined the Mattel brand, who still produce Uno, which continues to be the classic favourite, popular, family-friendly card game today.

Official Rules of Uno

The official rules of Uno have changed since it was originated in the early 1970s. The updated edition from 2018 is the version of Uno we continue to play today.

Before beginning a hand, each player needs to randomly draw a card from the deck to determine who the dealer of that hand will be. The player who draws the highest number is the dealer for that round, and those randomly drawn cards are shuffled back into the deck.

To begin a hand, seven cards are dealt to every player. After that, the top card of the remaining deck is placed face up to the side of the deck and is the first car in the discard pile.

The player to the left of the dealer goes first, and then play continues clockwise. Cards are played by putting them face up on the top of the discard pile.

For every player’s turn, they have three options:

Play a card that matches the colour, number and/or symbol of the top card in the discard pile

Play a ‘Wild’ or ‘Wild Draw Four’ card*

Pick a card from the deck, and play it if possible**. Otherwise, keep the card in your hand and the next player goes.

If you go through the whole deck during the hand, the top discard is set aside and the rest of the pile is shuffled to create a new deck. Also, you are not allowed to trade cards with another player.

*A player can play a ‘Wild’ card at any time, even if they have other playable cards. However, a player can only play a ‘Wild Draw Four’ card if they do not have any cards that match the current colour of the discard pile. The player can still play the ‘Wild Draw Four’ card even if they have cards of a different colour that are the same number or symbol as the discard pile.

**A player who draws a playable card from the deck has to either play or keep that card. The player cannot play any other card from their hand on that turn.

How to Win

The first player to put down and play their last card wins the hand. This is called ‘going out.’ That player earns points based on the cards left in the other players’ hands.

Number cards are worth their face value, action cards are worth 20 points, and Wild and Wild Draw Four cards are worth 50 points.

If a Draw Two or Wild Draw Four card is a player’s last card, the next player in the sequence must draw the appropriate number of cards before the score is added up.

The first play to get to 500 points wins the game.

A player must call out ‘Uno’ when they have one card left in their hand. If they don’t, another player can call them out, forcing them to draw two cards as a penalty.

Uno Game​

What to do for each of the Wild or Action cards

The cards that do not have a specific number value on them are ‘Wild’ or action-based cards, like ‘Skip’ or ‘Reverse.’

  • Skip – The next player is skipped and misses their turn
  • Reverse – The order of play switches directions
  • Draw Two/+2 – The following player has to pick up two cards from the deck and does not put any cards in the discard pile this turn
  • Wild – The player who puts down the ‘Wild’ card chooses the colour of the discard pile. The player can choose to not change the colour. A ‘Wild’ card can be played on any turn, regardless of the card at the top of the discard pile.
  • Wild Draw Four – Like the ‘Wild’ card, the player chooses the colour for the discard pile. The next player must also pick up four cards from the deck and misses a turn.

If the very first card of the discard pile at the beginning of the hand is one of the above wild or action cards, the first player must do the following:

  • Skip – The player to the left of the dealer misses their turn
  • Reverse – The dealer plays first, and then the play continues counterclockwise
  • Draw Two/+2 – The player to the left of the dealer picks two cards from the deck and misses a turn
  • Wild – The player to the left of the dealer chooses the colour of the discard piles and takes the their first turn
  • Wild Draw Four – The card is placed back in the deck and a new card is placed face up to start the discard pile.

Penalties in Uno

If a player does not call out ‘Uno’ when they play their second to last card, and the other players notice before the next player takes their turn, then the player with one card left must draw two cards from the deck. If the player does not call out ‘Uno,’ but the other players do not notice, then there is no penalty.

When a ‘Wild Draw Four’ card is played, the next player can challenge it. The player who played the Wild Draw Four card must then show their hand privately to the challenger to prove that they have no cards in their hand that much the colour of the discard pile. If the player does have a card that matches the colour of the discard pile, then they must pick up four cards. If the player proves that they do not have any cards of a matching colour, then the challenger must draw six cards, and lose their turn. Either way, play proceeds with the chosen colour of the Wild Draw Four.

Two-Player Game Variation in Uno

When only two people are playing Uno, the ‘Reverse’ card acts like a ‘Skip’ card. So, if a player puts down either a ‘Reverse’ or ‘Skip’ card, they get to play again immediately.

Popular House Rules in Uno

Many people create their own house rules for Uno. Here are some of the most popular:

Progressive or Stacking: If a Draw Four or Draw Two card is played, the following player can choose to also play a Draw Four or Draw Two. This ‘stacks’ the penalty and passes it to the following player. So if one player plays Draw Two, and the next player stacks a Draw Two on top, then the next player must draw four cards from the deck. There is no limit to how many times a card can be stacked. However, you cannot play a Draw Four on top of a Draw Two and vice versa.

Seven-O: Whenever a “7” is played, that player must trade their hand with another player of their choice. Whenever a “0” is played, all players pass their hands to the next player.

Jump-In: If a player has the same card (both number and colour) 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.

2018 Rule Changes in Uno

The ‘Wild Shuffle Hands’ and ‘Wild Customisable’ cards were added to the Uno deck in 2018. The player who plays the Wild Shuffle Hands takes every players’ cards, shuffles and re-deals them. Wild Customisable cards are blank and any house rule can be assigned to them. Both of these cards can be played at any time, and are both worth 40 points when a player goes out.

Card and Deck Styles in Uno

The Uno card deck consists of 112 cards. There are 4 different colours of cards: Yellow, Blue, Red and Green.

Each of the four colours have 25 different cards including one zero, two cards for each of the numbers between 1 and 9, two ‘Skip’ cards, two ‘Draw Two’ cards, and two ‘Reverse’ cards.

Additionally, the deck has four ‘Wild’ cards, four ‘Wild Draw Four’ cards, one ‘Wild Shuffle Hands’ cards, and three ‘Wild Customisable’ cards

In 2018, the ‘Wild Shuffle Hands’ and the ‘Wild Customisable’ cards were introduced to the game. Card decks that were manufactured before 2018 will not have these cards and therefore, only have 108 cards in the deck.

Uno cards have changed design over the years. Some cards have symbols to explain their action, while other cards have words. Older decks had letters only.

In 2017, an Uno ColorAdd deck was designed specifically for those who struggle with colour blindness. Also in 2019, a Braille version of Uno was released so blind people can also play.

Special Uno Games

There are so many different versions of Uno games. For example, Uno Attack, Uno Blast, Uno 50th Anniversary, Uno Wild Twists, Get Wild for Uno, Uno Go! and so much more.

Uno H2O - A Unique Variation of Uno

The perfect Uno game to play by the pool!

Uno H2O is identical to the standard pre-2018 Uno deck, but the cards are transparent and waterproof. Also, there is a ‘Wild Downpour’ card, which is similar to ‘Wild’ and ‘Wild Draw Four’ cards in a standard deck.

Uno Video Games

Uno has expanded from a card game to different variations of video games. Uno video games are available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Gameboy, Android and iOS mobile devices and more.

Variations of Uno

With all the special versions, house rules, video games and the continuation of new variations being released, there are many different variations available to standard Uno.

In 2018, Mattel released a spin-off of Uno called Dos. Dos incorporates a centre row of discard piles, where you can discard pairs of cards that add up to the card on top of one of the piles. Dos can be played with two decks of standard card playing games by playing Jokers as if they are Zeroes, and Royalty cards are treated as special cards.

Spin-Offs of Uno

Uno Slot – A Casino Game Based on Uno

A video slot machine based on Uno was released by International Gaming Technology (IGT) in 2002.

Similar Games to Uno

If you enjoy playing Uno, you may also like Crazy Eights, Mao, Black Jack (Switch), Switch the card game, Eleusis, Last Card, Macau, O’NO 99, Phase 10, Skip-BO, Wot!, One Card, and Taki.


What if your last card is a Wild Swap Hands or a Wild Shuffle Hands?

If the last card in a player’s hand is the Wild Swap Hands card or the Wild Shuffle Hands card, you can treat these cards like a normal Wild card in this situation. If you play a Wild Swap Hands or a Wild Shuffle Hands as your last card, no further action is required, and that player wins.

What if you prefer Uno with either the Wild Shuffle Hands or Wild Swap Hands card?

When you purchase Uno, check the back of the box and it will tell you what version of the game it is. The box will tell you if it contains the Wild Swap Hands card or the Wild Shuffle Hands card. This way you know you will purchase your favourite version of Uno!