Uno isn’t a difficult game to learn or even master. The simple rules make it a great party game!
The base version of the game is the most simple, with the other variants of Uno building on that simplicity. This guide will go over the basic rules of the first version of Uno as well as some great tips on how to win the game.
You can find the complete instruction sheet for Uno on Mattels website but here are the basic rules to the game.
How To Play Uno
- Deal Cards
Deal players 7 cards and place the rest facedown as a draw pile.
- Place The First Card
Turn over the first card of the draw pile and use it as a starting card as long as it’s not a Wild or Wild Draw 4, if it is put that card back in the deck and take another from the top.
- Players Start Placing Cards
The player to the left of the dealer plays a card into the center of the group. Going in a clockwise direction, players place a card on top of the pile that matches either the number, color, or type of the previous card played.
If you can’t play anything, draw a card from the draw pile until you have something you can play.
- Get Down to 1 Card
Play continues until someone has one card left. That person must say “Uno” loud enough for the group to hear. If not, someone can call that person out and they must draw 4 cards.
- Someone Places Their Last Card
After someone places their last card, points are tallied based on your chosen scoring method.
Here are some other minor details to the game:
- You always have the option to draw a card. If you draw a card and it is playable, you can play it that turn.
- You can’t call out a person for not saying “Uno” after the next player starts their turn.
- Reverses act as skips in 2 player games
- Players can play on teams, the team wins points when 1 of the team members runs out of cards.
Points are scored based on the cards left in players hands, here are the points that each card type is worth:
|Card Type||Card Value|
|Numbered Cards (0-9)||20 Points|
|Draw 2||20 Points|
|Wild Draw 4||50 Points|
Here are the 2 different methods of scoring in Uno, just pick whichever you like best:
Highest Point Winner
This is the way I’ve always played Uno, so it feels the most natural to me. The style of game focuses on gaining points when you put down your last card.
The player that plays all of their cards gets points based on how many cards is left in their opponents hands. Once someone has 500 points, that person wins.
Lowest Point Winner
This style of playing the game focuses on gaining points for the cards you have left in your hand at the end of a round.
After a player plays their last card, every other player tallies their points up based on the cards in their hand. When someone has 500 points, the person with the lowest score wins. This is essentially the reverse of the other method, with the “winning” player scoring no points for a round.
Different Card Types
In this version of Uno there are 6 different types of cards, each with their own effects:
|Card Type||Card Effect|
|Draw 2||This card forces the person that plays next to draw 2 cards and skip their turn.|
|Reverse||Changes the play direction.|
|Skip||The next player is skipped.|
|Wild||This card can be any color and the player decides what color the next card has to be.|
|Wild Draw 4||The player gets to pick the color and causes the next player to draw 4 cards.|
|Blank||These cards are included for replacement cards or house rules.|
Each of these cards can only be played on their own color or types except for the wild cards. Also, any of these card effects are used on the first player if they are drawn first, except for the wild cards. All the card effects are also used on the last player if it’s the last card played.
Scoring is based on what type of scoring method you use (which we went over earlier in the article). The scores for the basic version of Uno is simple, here are the values of cards in the game:
How To Win At Uno
So now you should know how to play the game, but winning the game is another topic entirely. At a core level, Uno is a game of luck so there is only so much strategy that you can use to win the game.
However, there are a few tactics that can give players an edge in the game.
1: Card Counting
This is probably the strongest tactic you can use to swing the odds in your favor against other players. Basically, you can remember the number of each type and color of card in the game and use that information to decide if your opponent likely has or doesn’t have certain colors, numbers, and types of cards.
Of course, to know this you need to know how many of each card there is. Here are teh card numbers to keep in mind:
- 19 of each colored card with numbers on them
- 8 of each cards with 1-9 on them, 2 in each color
- 4 cards with 0 on them, 1 in each color
- 8 “Skip” cards, 2 in each color
- 8 “Draw 2” cards, 2 in each color
- 4 “Wild” cards
- 4 “Wild Draw 4” cards
Your opponents will likely not be considering which cards have been played, so this is a tactic that other players probably won’t use.
This can also end up in some pretty crazy situations where a player can’t stop drawing cards, like this one:
2: Hold On To Draw 2 Cards
There are a couple of good reasons for keeping this type of card in your hand:
- Deny your opponents a victory
- Use on your last move to rack up points
If your opponents are on their last card this is a great card to keep them from ending the round. It isn’t quite as valuable as the Wild Draw 4 card but there are twice as many of these in the game which make them easier to come by.
On top of that, using this as a last card will require the next player to pick up 2 and end the game at the same time, which is great for racking up some points at the very end of the round.
3: Endgame Card Colors
When the game is nearing its end, with few cards in everyone’s hand, it becomes very easy to guess the card colors. If a player only has 2 cards and can’t put a yellow down, you know that is a safe color to play.
This goes both ways, so your opponents will likely guess your card colors and try to deny you a round victory by avoiding certain colors that are in your hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Uno can be played with 2 players. The only change to the rules is that the “reverse” cards act as “skip” cards.
Yes, Uno can be played with 3 players.
Yes, the game can end on any card. If the final card is a +2 or +4 the next player must draw cards before the game ends.
Uno was invented in 1971.