Game Review: UNO

by Julia DeKorte | 28 Sep 2023

Book Reviews

Uno Review



UNO can be played with 2-10 players. Each player starts with seven cards in their hand, visible only to them. The 2018 edition of the deck includes 112 cards: 25 in each color suit (red, yellow, green, blue), with each suit including one zero, two of each number 1 through 9, two of each of the action cards (skip, draw two, reverse), and 4 wild cards, 4 wild draw four, 1 wild shuffle hands, and 3 wild customizable.


To begin the game, the top card of the remaining deck is flipped over and placed central to all players, becoming the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer goes first, and can do one of the following:

  • Play one card matching the card at the top of the discard pile. It must match in color, number, or symbol.
  • Play a wild card and declare a new color.
  • Draw the top card from the deck. If a player draws a card that can be played, they may do so.

Play continues clockwise around the table.


Wild Draw Four cards have a special rule: they can only be played if the player has no cards matching the current color. If a wild draw four card is played, the next player has the option to challenge the person who played it. Challenged players must show their hand to the player next to them to prove they don’t have any cards that match the color of the card on the top of the discard pile. If they do have matching colors, they challenged player must draw the four cards instead. If they do not, the challenger must draw six cards instead of four, and they lose their turn.


When a player has only one card left, they must call out “UNO” after they play their second to last card, and before the next player begins their turn. If they do not call out “UNO” and another player calls them out on it, they must draw two cards.


Once a player plays all their cards, the round is over. The player who “goes out” wins points for all of the remaining cards in other players’ hands: number cards are worth their face value, action cards are worth 20, and wild and wild draw four cards are worth 50. The first player to score 500 points wins the game.



UNO is a card game invented by Merle Robbins in 1971. Derived from the game Crazy Eights, Robbins developed UNO to resolve an argument with his son about the rules of Crazy Eights. 


UNO falls under the category of shedding card games, meaning the basic object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Robbins developed the game in his hometown of Reading, Ohio. After the game gained some traction with his family and friends, he took out a mortgage on his home and invested $8,000 to have 5,000 decks made and began selling them first from his barbershop and then at local businesses. His son, Ray, who was a teacher, also handed decks out to his students.


In 1972 Robbins sold the rights to Uno to Robert Tezak, who formed International Games to market Uno. Robbins received $50,000 and 10 cents per game in royalties. The cards were produced by Lewis Saltzman, founder of Saltzman Printers, in Maywood, Illinois.


Mattel bought International Games in 1992 and has been publishing Uno and its many variations since then.



There are over 50 different special editions and variations of UNO, from waterproof decks, mini decks, and jumbo decks to Jurassic World decks and Hannah Montana Decks. Many editions of the games have new cards, like the Uno H2O edition that has Wild Downpour cards that forced all other players to draw one or two cards, not just the next player. There are also many UNO video games, from handheld games, iPhone and Android games, Xbox games, and PlayStation games.


Reception & Awards

In 2018, UNO was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong Museum of Play. In 2017, UNO was officially the #1 selling card game in the world. It is a family favorite for many reasons: it is easy to learn and easy to play, one can play for as long or as short as wanted, and it’s multi-generational. Kids can play with kids, adults can play with adults, and kids can play with adults. A world-renowned game simple enough for all ages that provides endless fun and competition, UNO is a classic game perfect for any occasion.


To learn more about UNO, visit Merle Robbins' POP profile and the UNO brand POP profile.

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