Uno (card game)

For the video game adaptation, see Uno (video game).
Type Shedding-type
Players 2 – 10[1]
Skills required Keeping important cards for later; knowing when to put them down, concealing your hand.
Age range 7+[1]
Cards 108
Playing time Normally up to 30 minutes but can go higher
Random chance easy

Uno (/ˈn/; from Italian and Spanish for 'one') (stylized as UNO) is an American card game that 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 brand since 1992. The game's general principles put it into the Crazy Eights family of card . When his family and friends began to play more and more, he spent $8,000 to have 5,000 copies of the game made. He sold it from his barbershop at first, and local businesses began to sell it as well. Robins 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.[2]

Official rules

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.
UNO cards deck

The aim of the game is to be the first player to score 500 points. This is achieved (usually over several rounds of play) by a player discarding all of their cards and earning points corresponding to the value of the remaining cards still held by the other players.

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 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 misses a turn Player to dealer's left misses a turn
Draw Two Next player in sequence draws two cards and misses a turn Player to dealer's left draws two cards and misses a turn
Reverse Order of play switches directions (clockwise to counterclockwise, or 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 in sequence draws four cards and loses a turn. May be legally played only if the player has no cards of the current color; cards of other colors in the current rank and Wild cards do not count in this respect. Return card to deck, shuffle, flip top card to start discard pile

A player who plays his/her next-to-last card must call "Uno" as a warning to the others.[4]

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 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 sequence must draw the appropriate number of cards before the score is tallied.

If a player picks up an extra card he or she must keep the card. They cannot put it back on top of the deck.

The first player to score 500 points wins the game.


Two-player game

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


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 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 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.[5] Players may exhibit physical tells,[6] 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 is a new version called "Uno Mod" where the cards have symbols instead of letters or numbers. This version also comes in a red and white case. It is one of several "Mod" games by Mattel, the others being Othello (game) Mod, Apples to Apples Mod, Phase 10 Mod, and Skip-Bo Mod.

Theme packs

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

Splash: Finding Dory Uno[lower-alpha 18]

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

Themed My First Uno games

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

Versions available on the Xbox 360 version of Uno:

Special Uno games

  • Uno Attack (Uno Extreme in the UK and Canada) (1999)
  • Uno Attack Refill Deck
  • Uno Bingo (1997)
  • Uno Blast (2012)
  • Uno Blitzo (2000)
  • Uno Choo-Choo (2011)
  • Uno Color Screen
  • Uno Deluxe
  • Uno Dare (2014)
  • Uno Dice (1987, 1996, 2011)
  • Uno Dominoes (1986)
  • Electronic Uno
  • Uno Flash (2007)
  • Uno Flip (2009)
  • Giant Uno (2016)
  • Uno H2O (2004)
  • Uno H2O To Go
  • Uno Hearts (1994)
  • Uno Junior (1992)
  • King Size Uno The oversized cards have animal illustrations in addition to numbers (1-6) and colors to help children make matches. The deck also contains 4 wild cards, a Draw 2 card for each suit, and a Free Turn card for each suit. (1994)
  • Killer Uno (1995)
  • Uno Moo (2008, 2014)
  • Uno Power Grab
  • Uno Reflex
  • Uno Roboto
  • Uno Royal Revenge Whoever wears the crown makes the rules! (2014)
  • Uno Rummy Up (1993)
  • 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 Slam
  • Uno Tiki Twist (2014)
  • Uno Wild Jackpot (2016)
  • Uno Wild Tiles (1982)

Video games


Alternative Game Play

Many variations from the standard gameplay exist, such as Elimination Uno, Speed Uno, French Uno, Pirate Uno and Pakistani Uno[7]

Alternative Games Featuring Uno Deck

Similar games

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. 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). (2000, 2003, 2005, 2010)
  10. 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. (2004)
  11. 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). (2010)
  12. 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. (2003)
  13. Wei, R. H. "Gamebits: Peanuts at Play". Games. Issue 196 (Vol. 27, No. 10). Pg.4. December 2003.
  14. Happy Holidays Card (2007, 2008, 2010)
  15. 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)
  16. 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)
  17. 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 H20 To Go.
  18. Comes with a handy clip that keeps all the cards together and attaches to a beach bag, backpack or camping gear.
  19. 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)
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Two Editions, both based on Star Trek: The Original Series
  23. 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. (1999)
  24. 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)
  25. Some versions with erasable score pad. (1978, 1979, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1993, 2001, 2000, 2004, 2008)
  26. 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 4 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)
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Different sources list 2005, 2005, & 2007


  1. 1 2 UNO instruction sheet, 1983, International Games Ltd.
  2. "30 Anniversary Rool Book" (PDF). Mattel. 2001. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  3. 1 2 "UNO Basic Instructions" (PDF). Mattel. 2008.
  4. 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'.
  5. "How to Play UNO in Large Groups". Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  6. "Tells". Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  7. "Uno Variations".


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