How to play Uno
On this page, you will find the Uno Rules in different versions: Quickstart, Original Uno Rules PDF, and our Definitive guide to all the rules.
Everything is based on the official Uno Rules but made easier on the eye and more fun to read!
The rules of Uno are simple. At least if you check out any of our Uno Rules guides we have made for you.
You will learn:
- How to play Uno (pretty obvious).
- How the scoring and points work.
- Have you been playing Uno wrong?
- What the unique cards do.
- What to do in particular situations.
So if you want to learn everything, there are about Uno rules and start playing you will love our guides.
What are you waiting for?
What are the Uno rules?
How to play Uno – The Definitive Guide
The game and the rules of Uno are easy to understand.
Especially after you have read our easy to grasp version of the official Uno rules.
Want to learn Uno in just two minutes? Check out our Uno quick start guide infographic here below.
If you want to dig deeper and explore the game, even more, we have made it even easier for you. In this section, you will learn Uno and become an Uno rules expert!
In other words:
All the official rules but made easier.
But that is not the end of it.
- Part 2 – Read the most common Uno questions in our FAQ.
- Part 3 – Explore two common Uno rule mistakes.
- Part 4 – The Uno Rules PDF with the unaltered official Uno Rules made it easier for the eye.
Let’s get started!
How to play Uno – Quick Start Guide
Eager to start playing Uno? Then you are in the right place. Check out the Uno infographic below and start playing Uno within 2 minutes!
All the Uno Rules without the fuss. You know what they say: A picture says more than a thousand words!
Do you want to explore the Uno Rules even more? Just continue reading our Uno guide below.
Use, save, share, print, and enjoy!
There you have it, a quick start guide that answers the question How to play Uno?. If you want to check out our step-by-step guide, just keep reading. Or maybe you want to read the Official Uno Rules PDF? Click the link, and it will take you there (the bottom of the page).
How to play Uno – Step-by-step guide
To play Uno, you will need:
Before we take a look at how to play Uno, let’s look at what you need to start playing the game. The good news is that you don’t need much!
- 2 – 10 players (The more, the merrier)
- A deck of Uno cards (quite obvious)
- Score sheet or Notepad and pen
The notepad and pen are for keeping score if you play multiple rounds.
A few quick notes before we start
The goal of Uno is to win. No big surprise here, and in order to win, you will need to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. Pretty simple.
And that is the best part of the whole game, that it is simple! In fact, the game can be played by everyone. With that said, Mattel has a recommendation for players to be at least seven years old.
You can play Uno one time, or you can play multiple rounds. If you want, you can keep a score. But how do you count points in Uno?
Uno Scoring Rules
If you play multiple rounds and count points, there are various ways to score Uno. The two first options are suggested in the Uno rules, and the third is your own house rules.
- Option 1: The first player to reach 500 points wins the game. – This one is the easiest, and we recommend it!
- Option 2: The player with the lowest points wins the game after a player reaches 500 points.
- Option 3: House rules.
Option 1: If you are the first player to get rid of all the cards, you are the round winner. Count the cards left in the other player’s hands (see table below) and add them to your points. The first player to reach 500 points wins the game.
Option 2: You can reverse the scoring and keep a running total of the points each player is caught with at the end of each round. When a player reaches 500 points, the game ends, and the winner is the player with the lowest points.
Option 3: House rules, or in other words: your way of scoring Uno. Depending on how many players you are, there are various ways of doing this.
If you are two players, a simple 1 point system can be applied. The winner gets one point when a round is won. In this case, you might want to lower the 500 points cap. Or if you are an Uno nerd (like us), maybe not, but then you are up for a long game of Uno!
The best part: Only your imagination sets the limit of how you want to score Uno. Just remember to select the scoring rules and other Uno rules before you start the game.
We recommend, Option 1 since it is the easiest way to score Uno!
The Uno points table
The point scoring table is easy to grasp and calculate after each round.
- All number cards (0-9) = Face value
- Draw 2 = 20 points
- Reverse = 20 points
- Skip = 20 points
- Wild = 50 points
- Wild Draw 4 = 50 points
This is where the notepad, scorepad, or piece of paper comes in handy!
Some variations of Uno come with a Swap Hands Card and Customizable cards. The official scoring for these cards is 40 points.
The Uno cards
To know how to play Uno, you first need to get to know the cards. The whole deck consists of 112 cards, and the Uno cards come in six colors; red, blue, green, yellow, black, and white or blank cards. If you are interested in the Uno cards, we have a whole article to dive into the topic. You can read it here: how many Uno cards? If not, here is the whole table of Uno cards:
The 112 Uno cards are divided as follows:
- 19 Red cards – 0 to 9
- 19 Blue cards – 0 to 9
- 19 Green cards – 0 to 9
- 19 Yellow cards – 0 to 9
- 8 Skip cards – two cards of each color
- 8 Reverse cards – two cards of each color
- 8 Draw cards – two cards of each color
- 8 Black cards – 4 wild cards and 4 Wild Draw 4 cards
- 4 Blank cards (can be used as replacements cards or as special cards that fit your house rules.) For original Uno, you can put them aside.
The special cards
In addition to the numbered Uno cards, you also have five types of special cards. These cards create excitement and even more fun in the game! If you put down a:
- Draw 2 Card – You draw two cards.
- Reverse Card – You change the direction of the play.
- Skip Card – The player next to you must skip their turn.
- Wild Card – You choose the color of the next play.
- Wild Draw 4 card – You choose the next play color, and the next player must draw 4 cards, and their turn is skipped.
There are some blank cards included that can either be used as a spare card if you lose a card or if you have a special rule and or card you wish to use; you can add them straight to the deck.
Another thing for you to keep in mind is that If a special card is drawn as the first card in the game, the same rules still apply—at least kind of.
That means that a Draw 2 Card results in the first player drawing two more cards and losing the turn. The Skip Card skips the first player, the Reverse Card reverses the order, and the dealer starts the game, and the Wild Card allows the player to choose the color for the next player.
The only difference is the Wild Draw 4 Card. The official rules state that you should put the card back into the deck if it is drawn as the first card, and the dealer should draw a new card. But other popular versions of when the Wild Draw 4 Card is drawn is that the first player chooses the color of the next play, and the next player must draw 4 cards, and their turn is skipped!
How to play Uno – Gameplay
Each player draws a card. The player with the highest point value is the dealer. The unique cards and wild cards count as zero!
Put the cards back in the deck and shuffle the Uno deck.
The dealer deals seven cards to each player and places the remaining cards face-down in the middle of the table. This is called the draw pile. The dealer draws the first card and puts it face-up in a separate pile called the discard pile.
The first player, that is, the player to the dealer’s left, starts by playing a card by placing it on the discard pile. The player can play a card that:
- Matches the color of the Uno card.
- Matches the number of the card.
- Matches the word or symbol of the Uno card.
Below is an image illustrating what Uno card you can play.
Example: If the top card of the discard pile is a blue number 3, you could play any blue card or any card with the number 3 on it. You can also play the black Wild card however when it comes to the Wild Draw 4 cards you can only play it if you don’t have a matching color on your hand. In this case blue.
Remember that you don’t have to play a card even if you have a playable card. However, in that case, you will have to draw a card from the draw pile. If it matches, you can play it, or you can decide to keep it. That is up to you.
Just remember that after you have drawn a card, you can not play a card from your hand that you had before you drew the card from the Draw pile.
Comment ont the rules:
It is true that in the “Let’s play section of the rules,” the official rules state that “If you draw a card you can play, play it. Otherwise, play moves to the next person.” This suggests that you have to play a card if you can, after the draw. However, in the “Reneging”– part of the rules, it states, ” You may choose not to play a playable card from your hand. If so, you must draw a card from the DRAW pile. If playable, that card can be played, but you may not play a card from your hand after the draw.” In other words, you don’t have to play the card you draw!
If you don’t have any cards that matches
If it is your turn and you don’t have any matching cards you have to take a card from the draw pile. If the card matches, you can play it immediately. If not, then you have to keep it and it is the next player’s turn.
Going out – Uno!
You win by getting rid of all your cards. Keep taking turns, and when a player has 1 card left, the player must say “Uno”! If the player fails to do so and the other players point it out, there is a two or four-card penalty. But if no one notices, there is no penalty.
Mattel’s official rules say there is a four card penalty for failing to say “Uno”. However, a lot of players play with a two-card penalty. We leave it up to you to establish the penalty amount before the game.
This Uno rule might need some clarifying:
- You must say “Uno” before playing your next to the last card.
- Your card has to touch the discard pile before anyone can call you out for not saying “Uno!”.
- If a player places the card in the discard pile and doesn’t say “Uno!” The opponents can call the player out until the next player begins their turn.
- Beginning a turn is defined as either drawing a card from the draw pile or drawing a card from your hand to play.
- You may not catch a player for failure to say Uno until the player’s second-to-last-card touches the discard pile.
From the horses mouth (The Mattel game rules)
“Before playing your next to last card, you must say “UNO”. If you don’t say UNO and another player catches you with just one card before the next player begins their turn you must pick FOUR more cards from the DRAW pile.
If you are not caught before the next player either draw a card from the DRAW pile or draws a card from their hand to play, you do not have to draw the extra cards.”
“If you forget to say, “UNO” before your card touches the DISCARD pile, but you “catch” yourself before any other player catches you, you are safe and not subject to the 4-card penalty.
You may not catch a player for failure to say “UNO!” until his/her second-to-last card touches the DISCARD pile.
Also, you may not catch a player for failure to say it after the next player begins his/her turn.
“Begining a turn” is defined as either drawing a card from the DRAW pile or drawing a card from tour hand to play”.
Source: Mattel UNO rules
If you can play your last card before anyone else goes out, you will be the winner of that round. If you save one of the Wild cards, you know for sure, you can win the round.
Besides, if you go out on a Draw 2 Card or a Wild Draw 4 Card, the next player must draw two or four cards (depending on the card) which is essential if you count the points!
If no one is out of cards by the time the draw pile is depleted, reshuffle the discard pile and continue play.
Now that you know how to play Uno, it is time for you to become an Uno expert! Check out our FAQ, articles or why not read the Uno Attack rules as well?
Welcome to the largest Uno FAQ one the web.
In fact it is so big we have put it on a seperate page: Uno FAQ.
But you will also find short answers down below on the most frequently asked questions about Uno. For example:
- How many cards are in a Uno deck?
- How many cards do you start with in Uno?
- How do you win in Uno?
- How does a challenge work in Uno?
- What happens if you don’t say Uno?
Is there a question that we have missed? Please help us make this site even better and submit it to us!
Let’s get started!
The most common UNO rule questions
Q: Are these the official Uno rules?
A: Yes, they are. We have made them easier to read by changing the structure of the text.
Q: How many cards are in an Uno deck?
A: 112 (108 + 4 blank cards is the standard); however, some versions have more cards.
Q: How many cards do you start with?
A: 7 cards each.
Q: How do you win at Uno?
A: The first player with no cards left wins the round. First to 500 points win the game.
Q: How does a challenge work in Uno?
A: A challenge can only be made when the Wild Draw 4 card is played. If you suspect that a player has played a Wild Draw 4 card illegally, you may challenge them. A challenged player must show his/her hand to the player who challenged. If the challenged player is guilty, he/she must draw four cards. If the challenged player is not guilty, the challenger must draw the four cards, plus two additional cards.
Q: What happens if you don’t say, Uno?
A: Before playing your next to the last card, you must say “UNO”. If you don’t say UNO and another player catches you with just one card before the next player begins their turn, you must pick FOUR more cards from the DRAW pile.
Q: What is “stacking”?
A: Stacking is allowing to play a special card upon an already played special card. Example: Player A plays a Wild Draw 4 cards. Player B also plays the Wild Draw 4 cards, making Player C forced to pick up eight cards.
Q: Is allowed by the official rules in Uno?
A: No. Stacking is not an official rule, however a widespread modified house rule!
Are you still wondering about anything, or are you curious to find out more? Visit unorules.org to find all the questions and answers about Uno.
Q: When was Uno invented?
A: Uno was invented in 1971 by Merle Robbins and his family. Read about the history of Uno here.
Why you have been playing Uno wrong!
We will probably get a lot of pushback for this, but the truth must be told.
Yes, it is true! You have probably been playing Uno wrong.
But don’t despair; you are far from alone.
Besides, one of the things that make Uno so special and lovable is that it is simple, and the Uno rules are modifiable.
So the questions on everybody’s lips are how we have been playing Uno wrong and does it even matter?
But let us take a closer look at two rules that you have probably broken without even knowing it.
You can’t stack the Draw 2 card and Wild Draw 4 Card
Stacking is either playing two of the same cards in one go or playing a Draw 2 card or Wild Draw 4 card, forcing the next player to pick up four or eight cards, respectively. This is not allowed. At least according to the official rules. This rule might come as a surprise for many players since it is a popular way of playing. Stacking Draw 2 Cards and Wild Draw 4 Cards resulting in a poor player having to pick up many cards (staff record is 24) in one go.
To be fair, the rules do say that you can match the top card on the discard pile either by number, color, or word. It is also a fact that the rules do not forbid stacking Draw 2 Card or Wild Draw 4 Cards.
However, they don’t state that you can, and to be entirely fair, the Uno rules state that a player should draw two cards and four cards, respectively, and nothing else.
Do you have to live and die by this rule?
Of course not.
The game has worked fine without it as well as it will with it.
And besides…what do @realUNOgame on Twitter know anyway?
To stack or not to stack - That is the question.
You can’t stack or pile up the Draw 2 Cards or Wild Draw 2 Cards. This is a prevalent strategy, but Mattel actually made a public announcement on Twitter confirming this.
But hey, what do they know? Besides, is it not the case that this game’s beauty is the fact that it is so easy to implement your own house rules? If you ask us: Play the way Uno makes you happy. Do you like the stack? Then keep stacking!
The Wild Draw 4 Card rule
The second rule is not as controversial as the first one. But the facts are there, and this is an official rule. In fact, it is specified and pretty clearly stated in the official Uno rules (in contrast to stacking which is not equally clearly stated ). This leads us to the question:
Why have most people, probably including you, missed it completely?
The obvious answer: You have not read the rules scrupulously enough. And who can blame you? It’s not something anyone likes to do, especially considering that they come printed in small letters on a poorly designed black and white, small piece of cheap paper that makes you want to throw them away.
(That is why our colorful site Unorules.org … well, Rules!)
Not so obvious answer: A lot of us start playing Uno at a young age. It is common to learn a simplified version of the game, which then is stuck with us for the rest of our lives. Others learn from someone else that has learned the simplified house rules, and by now, you understand the vicious circle, the downgoing spiral we are on.
We know what you are thinking, come to the point, what is the rule?
The Wild Draw 4 card rule
You can only play the Wild Draw 4 card if you don’t have another alternative card to play that matches the card’s color previously played. Please note that it is only the color and not the symbol that cannot match.
Or from the horse’s mouth
“Wild Draw 4 Card – This card allows you to call the next color played and requires the next player to pick 4 cards from the DRAW pile and forfeit his/her turn. However, there is a hitch! You can only play this card when you don’t have a card in your hand that matches the color of the card previously played.”
If you suspect that the player before you has played a Wild Draw 4 Card illegally, you can challenge that player!
But beware! If you decide to call out a player on this, you can get a penalty as well!
Once again the Official rules:
“If you suspect that a player has played a Wild Draw 4 card illegally, you may challenge them. A challenged player must show his/her hand to the player who challenged. If the challenged player is guilty, he/she must draw the 4 cards. If the challenged player is not guilty, the challenger must draw the 4 cards, plus 2 additional cards. Only the person required to draw the 4 cards can make the challenge.”
Uno Rules PDF
Do you need the Uno rules on the go?
Then download the Uno Rules PDF!
This PDF contains the original Uno Rules with an added FAQ. The unorules.org team has remade the original black and white rules included in the Uno box and made them come to life. We have:
- Made the rules clearer by dividing them up into smaller sections.
- Added pictures to make it easier to understand.
- Made the rules in color.
- Added an FAQ with the most common questions.
Download, read, share, print, and enjoy!