Uno Rules - Unorules.org

Uno History

– How it all began

Today Uno is a game played by people all over the world. It was inducted into the toys hall of fame in 2018 and is a favorite among young and old.

But how did it all begin?

In the article, we tell you the Uno history and how the game developed.

And now, without further ado, here is the Uno history, brought to you by Unorules.org.

Uno history - How it all began
Uno history - Where does Uno come from

How it all began

Loved by young and old, Uno has been enjoyed by many of us since the invention of the game in 1971.

But what are the origins of the game, and where do the Uno rules come from?

The story of this popular game begins in Reading, Ohio, and the family Robbins who loved to play cards. The game they loved the most was a game called crazy eights.

Crazy Eights is a card game for two or more players. The object is to get rid of all the cards in your hand onto a discard pile by matching the number or suit of the previous discard.

Does this sound familiar?

The problem with the game, according to Merle Robbins, was that it was a bit tricky and could cause friendly confrontations. To make it simpler, he marked a deck of cards with simple instructions.

  • The King = direction of played reversed.
  • Queen = skip the next turn (Like the Uno reverse card)
  • Aces = Wild cards

After a while, the family discovered that they basically had invented a new deck. And with that, Uno was born!

The name Uno

Uno means “one” in Italian and Spanish. The name Uno comes from the rule that you have to announce that you only have one card left in your hand.

Putting it all on the line

Merle and his wife took a risk and printed up 5 000 decks of Uno and traveled from Ohio to Texas and all the way down to Florida, selling and demonstrating their new game. Living in a camper that they bought from some of the money they got when they risked their house to afford the game’s financing.

The risk paid off. Upon returning home to Ohio, they had sold all the decks and quickly printed up more.

Uno goes to the next level

Although the game had done well, it wasn’t before the marketeer Bob Tezak came into the picture that Uno exploded in popularity. Tezak formed a company called International Games, Inc and went to work.

Bob redesigned the game and the packaging and promoted the game very successfully.

Merle Robbins did just as well, earning a 10-cent royalty on each deck that Tezak sold. During the 1980s and beyond, Uno’s sales numbers went through the roof!

In 1992 International Games became a part of the Mattel family of companies together with Uno.

Since then, we have enjoyed new versions of Uno, like Uno Attack, Uno wild jackpot, or different versions ranging from the NFL, Minecraft Uno, or Uno online.

Uno is truly a remarkable game that transcends language, ages, and culture. Today the game is played in more than 80 countries around the world!  

Just imagine telling that to the Robbins family back in 1971!