Uno Rules and A Brief History of the Quick-Thinking Classic

A combination of Uno cards.

Have you lost your copy of the Uno rules, and it's been a while since you've played? Or maybe a questioned has arisen that needs you to recall a small detail about the rules of Uno. The basics might still be embedded in your mind, but a small nudge will probably help jog the rest of the Uno rules into your head.

Quick History of Uno

Uno was created in 1971 and was loosely based on Crazy Eights. Merle Robbins, who owned a barbershop, and his son were arguing over the Crazy Eights game, which prompted Robbins to invent Uno. At first, his family played the game, but when he invited some friends over to play and they really enjoyed the game, Robbins and some other family members gathered around $8,000 and had 5,000 copies of the game made. He sold them from his barbershop, and eventually he sold the rights to a Joliet, Illinois gamemaker for $50,000 and 10 cent per game sold royalties. In the early 1990's Uno became part of the Mattel family and has been a popular card game and still is to this day.

Uno Contents

Make sure you have the following cards to make a full Uno deck.

  • 19 cards each of blue, green, yellow and red of 0 thorugh 9s.
  • 8 Draw Two cards. Two for each color.
  • 8 Reverse cards. Two for each color.
  • 8 Skip cards. Two for each color.
  • 4 Wild cards
  • 4 Wild Draw Four cards

Uno Rules

Setting up the Game

The Uno rules state that the game is for two to ten players. After the deck has been shuffled, each player is dealt seven cards, face down. The rest of the cards denote the draw pile. Someone takes the top card from the draw pile and places it adjacent, indicating the discard stack.

Playing the Game

Determining who goes first should be agreed upon before the first card is played. Usually, the youngest player goes first, but if players want, everyone can draw a card from the deck before it is dealt, and the person with the highest card goes first. If someone nabs a non-number card, then that person's card doesn't count.

Gameplay moves to the left. Each player must match the card by number or color. If a player doesn't have a card to play, then he obtains a card from the draw pile. Official Uno rules say that the player can play this card if it is a match; otherwise the next player in line goes. However, some people play the option of pulling from the draw pile until a match is made: it doesn't matter if one or twenty cards are pulled. These rules need to to chosen beforehand.

As cards are played, someone will eventually end up with one card. If this is the case, that player must say "UNO." If someone else says "UNO" then the person with the single card draws two cards. Otherwise play continues. The person who finally gets rid of the last card in his hand indicates the round is over and points are accumulated and given to the person who turned in the last card.

The non-number cards are instructions. If someone plays a reverse, gameplay goes opposite to what it was currently moving. A Skip card skips the next person, and a Draw Two card makes the next person draw two extra cards. These cards can be built on, meaning if someone plays another Draw Two card on a Draw Two, then the third person has to draw four cards from the draw pile.


Numbered cards are worth whatever number is on them. Draw Two, Reverse and Skip cards are worth 20 points. Both Wild cards are 50 points each. The player who reaches 500 points first wins. Other point values can be used. Other common totals are 100, 250 and 350. For shorter games, lower the final score needed to win.

Fast Fun

Uno is a fun and quick game that requires some skill and forces you to pay attention to what others are playing. Of course, more luck is involved, but then, that's the fun of most family card games. Understanding Uno rules, however, is an important aspect of game play.

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Uno Rules and A Brief History of the Quick-Thinking Classic