The Jarbochov Stratagem

Living in the gray.

Hardcore UNO

We live in an utter utopia of board and video games available to everyone today. There are plenty of niches that are filled and plenty of robust multiplayer experiences. But back in the day, we didn’t have much. The world has had Chess for centuries. Someone somewhere once thought Monopoly was a fun game12. But for the quick pick up and play social game, there was always UNO.

Some people take UNO pretty seriously. I am one of those people. I hold the official rule of ensuring that someone has to say UNO as they are playing their second to last card in the highest regard. However the basic game of UNO can be a little wanting in terms of ACTION! Society has adapted and produced a series of house rules to make the action better, yet they are inconsistent and not very well documented or endorsed. Some even misinterpret the official core ruleset and then are outraged when the official UNO Twitter account posts about it. I admire that everyone had collective Mandela Effect regarding the rules and that they were trying to add a little chocolate to the vanilla. But adding a Draw Two card to a Draw Four Wild card? It’s preposterous and doesn’t make any sense to me. But what if I told you that the makers of UNO had their own MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL RULES? Well… they do.

I have been preaching these for years and no one has taken my word for it. And surprisingly after purchasing a fresh deck of UNO while on vacation I had discovered they were removed from the printed manual. A friend of mine did some Google-fu and found them for me. So I humbly present to you directly from Mattel’s website a PDF with the rules enclosed. There are two specific sections of note3:

  • Progressive UNO
  • Jump-In UNO

These will change your world when it comes to UNO. If you “take UNO seriously” then you need to familiarize yourself with these. They are manufacturer recommended4, easy to interpret and reference, and make the game a blast. Also you might want to start by reading the base rules first anyway. But let’s be honest: UNO is all luck anyways and Disney Princess UNO is the real best version5.

I’ll keep a backup hosted here just in case that link ever dies.

Jared’s Official UNO Rule Modifier: Speed UNO

Not that you asked for it, but here’s my own personal twist on UNO that makes the game aggressively competitive:

Goal: Play as fast as possible.

Penalty: Anyone who loses track of whose turn it is loses their turn and draws two cards. This can be either by asking whose turn it is, or if it gets to them and they don’t realize it’s their turn.

Play with the other rules above for disastrous fun.

  1. Except J.T. Williams always wins.
  2. It isn’t and if you watch Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story you’ll realize how dumb this game is. That’s my opinion of course.
  3. Don’t pay attention to that Seven-O UNO nonsense.
  4. I always find the makers of games have the most balanced and fun “house” rules, rather than just being a slog.
  5. There’s a dragon.

2 responses to “Hardcore UNO”

  1. Kyle Mullins Avatar
    Kyle Mullins

    I take board games very seriously as I am very competitive and I also make sure to follow rules.

    Monopoly is fun and is played fast when following the official rules.

    I hate house rules on games

    I could kick your butt in some Uno, let’s throw down.

    1. Jared Cherup Avatar

      I am with you on house rules especially when initially playing a game. If everyone is familiar with the game, and the majority prefer the house rule, then there’s probably a reason. Most people play Monopoly using house rules whether they realize it or not. That’s why I stated in my footnotes when the maker of the game has a recommended modifier it’s usually well tested and thought out as opposed to your friend who made one up while they were drunk.

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