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There can only be Uno
2013-08-18T16:27:23-07:00
I regularly host games nights. Sometimes we play intricate, grown up games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne (with expansions), Ticket to Ride, and the like. Recently we've been taken to playing …Uno. Here are some notes on why, and the large extended ruleset we built up to wonderful effect.
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uno
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37.77493,122.41942

I regularly host games nights. Sometimes we play intricate, grown up games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne (with expansions), Ticket to Ride, and the like. Recently we've been taken to playing …Uno.

Uno (or “UNO” as my iPhone keeps insisting on autocorrecting) is a game I have fond memories of as a child. Simplicity and family fun, all too easy to discard for complicated games as an adult. It's a bit tame. At work, the rules we play have evolved a bit, and what follows is a combination of those “Twitter Rules”, Sarah's “Killer Uno” experience, and some others that rolled in as we went along.

We're going to assume that you know how to play basic Uno.

Extra Rules:

  • The winner of each round may add a new rule. They may also override or discard a previous rule if it didn't work out.
  • Cumulative, chaining +2s. A +2 (of any colour) may be played atop another +2, passing +4 onto the next player. They in turn can make it +6, and so forth. A similar rule got added later for +4s.
  • Chaining skips: When a skip card is played against you, you may instead play a skip card of any colour to pass it on to the next player. In our play, only one player misses their turn at the end of the chain, but you could probably make them additive as well (such that three consecutive skips result in the next three players missing their turn.)
  • Interceptions: You may play out of turn if you have the exact same card as was just played (and if you're quicker than the player in sequence.) Play resumes with the next playing in sequence after the interceptor. You can also intercept yourself; playing duplicate cards together.
  • Chaining while drawing: When you're at the end of a cumulative +2 chain, you may draw your cards one at a time and if that card is itself a +2, you may play it and move the remainder of your draw (plus two) onto the next player. So, you must draw six. You draw one card which is a +2. Play it! The next player must draw 7 (or play their own +2 to continue the chain.)
  • Special Interceptions: On top of the regular out-of-turn interception described above, and chaining-while-drawing, with an exact match,you can intercept a +2 at any time, that is, while someone is drawing. That is, you can allow one player to draw half their penalty and then pass the remainder to another player.
  • 69: At this point you'll be playing fast and trying to keep up with whose turn it is. At this point, 6s and 9s might as well just be same card, so we'll allow it. (This, of course, makes 9s and 6s more powerful for interceptions.)
  • Zero Trades: If you play a card of number 0, you must trade hands with another player. You can introduce this rule as “must” or “may”, depending on how chaotic you are. Any player receiving a single card in this transaction must declare “Uno”. (You are allowed to win when playing a 0, though.)
  • Sequences: If you play a 3, you may also play a 4, 5, 6, etc. of the same colour.
  • Sets: When playing a card, you may also play cards of any other colour that match that number.

This can result in: Playing a Yellow-5 out of turn on another Yellow-5, stacked with a Green-5 and Red-5 (sets), stacked with a Red-9 (because that's also a six), Red-7, Red-8 (sequence), stacked with a Yellow-8 (another set.) If you can keep your hand organized well enough to pull that off, you deserve to win, in which case you get to add another rule.

And that was our lot. It's great. If you ever dismissed Uno as a tame children's game, you should play this instead.