Uno is a shedding-type card game, and is essentially a proprietary version of the American Game Crazy 8s. The game is extremely popular all over the world, with numerous digital and mobile versions available on phones, computers, and even gaming consoles.
How to Play Uno?
While Uno also provides their own instruction manual, the directions in this guide are simply provided for ease, in case the manual is lost or as a quick refresher. We also provide our take on the strategy of Uno.
The Uno card game is played utilizing Mattel’s own proprietary deck, meaning it is a deck that is used exclusively for Uno and cannot really be used for other games.
A full deck should have 108 cards in it, with 24 of those cards being the various “Special” or “Power” cards of the game, and 8 being wild cards. The remainder are normally numbered cards, from 0-9.
There are 2 copies of each numbered card, except for the 0s which only have a single copy, and each card can be found in one of four colors: Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green. These colors act as suits in the Uno deck.
How to Deal
The Dealer can be selected by any means the Players deem. In subsequent rounds of the game, the Dealing position will move clockwise to the next immediate Player. Once the deck has been shuffled, each Player should be dealt exactly 7 cards, regardless of the number of Players (which can be between 2-10).
Once each Player has been given their required cards, the game may begin.
- The Dealer starts the game by taking the top card of the deck, and then placing it face-up next to the deck.
- The Player to the clockwise of the Dealer then begins their turn.
Cards must match color or rank, for Example:
If the top card of the discard pile is a blue 5, then Players may either play a 5 of any color or a blue card of any number.
If the Player has no legal card to Play, and no power cards that match the color of the top card, then the Player must draw a card from the deck. If they can play that card, they may do so. If not, the Player must end their turn with that additional card in their hand.
Ending and Declaring
Play continues, utilizing various power cards and numbered cards to empty the hand of cards, or “shed” them from the hand. This goes on until one Player is down to their last card, at which point they declare Uno! After a Player has declared Uno, if they manage to discard that final card, they win the round.
If a Player with one card does not declare and the next Player takes their turn, they must draw two penalty cards.
Uno utilizes matchplay in the official rules, with the true winner of a “game” being the winner of 500 total match points. A scoring table will be provided below that will explain how to score a game of Uno.
Below you can find a summary of the official rules of Uno:
- Power cards must be played on the correct color.
- Cards must be either the same color, or the same number, as the below card. Similarly, power cards must be the same color, or the same type of power card. A Draw-2 card can be played on top of another draw-2 card of any color.
- Wildcards may be played on any card of any color, and the player of the wildcard may declare the color that subsequent cards must follow.
- According to the official UNO Twitter page, a Wildcard Draw 4 Card must be played only when a Player does not have any other possible legal move to make. If the Player who must draw cards believes the wildcard Draw 4 was played illegally, they may challenge it. The Player who played the wildcard must then show their hand to the Player. If the card was played illegally, the Player who attempted the illegal play must draw 6 penalty cards, and return the Wildcard Draw 4 to their hand, and then make a legal move.
Scoring & Point System
Uno utilizes a scoring system, with the winner of a single “round” being awarded points depending on the number of cards remaining in their opponent’s hand at the end of a round.
Only the winning player is awarded points at the end of a round.
When a Player wins a round, the cards of all other Players are collected into a single deck, that is then presented to the winning Player. The winning Player will then go through the deck, and assign themselves points, publicly so that there is no cheating, based on the values associated with particular cards.
The table demonstrates the scores as follows:
|Type of Card
|Face Value (0-9)
|20 Points Each
|50 Points Each
Keep in mind that 0s do not award 10 points, but rather 0 Points. Each of these cards has their points added to the total, and then a new game can begin with a running tally kept of each Player’s score.
As previously stated, the first Player to reach 500 Points wins the game. It is theoretically possible to win a game of Uno in a single game, as the total score of every card is more than 500 (all of the power cards combined alone is 480 points) but it is rare for this to happen unless playing with the maximum 10 Players.
Meaning of Cards
Each of the Power cards in Uno performs a different function, though essentially their goal is always the same: disrupt the next Player’s turn, conveying an advantage to the remaining Players. The Power Cards are all fairly simplistic and easy to understand:
Skip Turn cards do as they suggest. They force the player to the clockwise of the Player to immediately skip their turn without the ability to discard.
Reverse cards reverse the order of Play, turning it from clockwise to counterclockwise. This essentially gives the Player counterclockwise to the Player a second turn. A Reverse card played later will return the play order to clockwise once more.
The Draw Two, written as “+2” on the card forces the next Player must not only skip their turn, but is also compelled to draw two cards from the deck.
Each of these Power cards is worth 20 points in the final scoring section of a round, and there are 24 of them in each deck. 2 copies of each card in each color. One should keep in mind that if the Dealer turns over a power card as the first card of the game it’s effect still activates, under the assumption that the Dealer played the card.
In addition to the Power cards, there are the Wildcards. There are two types of wildcards in Uno, The Wildcard, and the Wildcard Draw 4 or +4.
The regular wildcard is simply as it says, a wildcard that may be played on any number, power card, or color. After a Player discards a wildcard, they are allowed to determine the suit/color that must be followed by Players afterward. For example, if they declare it is a Red Wildcard, Players must treat the wildcard as though it is colored red.
The Wildcard+4 or Draw 4 follows all the normal rules of the wildcard, with two additions.
- Firstly, the Wildcard+4 can only be played when a Player cannot make any other legal move. The mechanics for this were explained above.
- The other rule is that, when legally played, a Wildcard+4 forces the next Player to draw 4 cards from the deck.
Imagine that the top card of the discard pile is a Green 4, and imagine that the following is your hand:
- A Blue 3
- a Green Reverse
- A Red 5
The only legal move to make would be to play the Green Reverse, however, consider the Player to your counterclockwise. If they have fewer cards than you do, playing the Green Reverse at this point will bring them even closer to victory.
It might be best to simply draw from the stockpile, taking the additional card for yourself, rather than giving your opponent a chance to end the game more quickly than you.
Even if you do end up losing, you can drag the game out to give other players the chance to discard, thereby reducing the winning player’s score overall.
Strategy & Tips
- Sometimes, it might be better to take a draw than to simply let your opponent get an advantage. If someone is about to win, playing a Draw 2 against an unrelated opponent is only hurting yourself, by increasing the winning Player’s score.
- It is possible to keep track of the remaining colors in the deck, if a Player has a good memory. By keeping track of the remaining colors, a Player can essentially count cards, and calculate the probability that certain cards are going to block out a player’s turns for quite some time. If there are only 3 remaining green cards in the entire game, and you have one of them, play it. Odds are high other Players will be unable to respond to the green without wildcards or the 2 remaining greens, or a card that matches the number/power of your played card.
- Always play power cards as early into the game as you can, and save your wildcards for as late into the game as you can.
Practice your skills with our free online UNO game.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cards do you get in Uno?
Whether playing with two players or with ten, each Player is dealt seven cards at the start of the game.
How many cards are in an Uno deck?
There are 108 cards in a regular, Mattel Inc branded deck of Uno cards.
How many cards can you put down?
Only a single card may be discarded in games of Uno per each Player’s turn.
Can you win Uno with a wild card?
Yes, if your final card is a wild card, you may end your turn by discarding it. However, don’t forget to declare Uno when it is the only remaining card in your hand, otherwise, you may be penalized and forced to draw two cards!
How many draw 4 cards are there in Uno?
There are 8 total Wildcards in the game, 4 Regular Wildcards, and 4 +4 cards. There are only four Draw 4 cards in an Uno Deck.