How To Play UNO, Because You’ve Probably Been Playing It Wrong The Whole Time

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If you’re like me, you probably grew up playing UNO — and still play today. After all, it’s ageless, right?

You’ve probably had to “Draw Two” more times than you wanted to, and let’s not forget about the “Wild Draw Four” card.

Of course, there are also the fun moments. You get excited to blurt out “UNO!” when you only have one card remaining — knowing you just may win this thing.


UNO’s Popularity

Though the game was invented in 1971, it didn’t really take off among the masses until 1978, when K-Mart started selling the game nationally. Since 1971, over 100 million UNO games have been sold, averaging about three million units sold per year, according to the “Game Inventor’s Guidebook.”

Wow. That’s a lot of Draw Twos and Draw Fours.

If you play UNO like I do, and probably everyone else you know, you match a card in your hand to one that’s been discarded, based on the number or color, then follow what the card says, if applicable, like Draw Two.

Whoever gets rid of all their cards first wins … right?


In fact, some people say UNO is like Crazy Eights, wherein players need to get rid of the cards in their hand via the discard pile — and they do so through matching the suit or number of the previously discarded card.

With Crazy Eights, the winner is also the first person to get rid of all their cards and, in addition, the players who still have cards score penalty points, like 50 points for an eight. Yep, the card games sound pretty similar to me!

But … if you play UNO via the above method, you’re playing wrong … at least according to the official UNO instructions on Mattel’s website.


How To Score Correctly

The official UNO instructions include a scoring section. Apparently, you’re supposed to get points for all the cards your opponents are still holding, as follows in the “Scoring” section.

Here’s the breakdown of how much each card is actually worth according to Mattel’s website (and your UNO instructions, if you haven’t lost them as I have).

  • 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
  • Anniversary – 100 Points

The scoring section also states that the true winner is the first player to reach 500 points.

Check out the instructions below for a full explanation of how the scoring works.

image (1)

So, assuming you play multiple rounds of UNO with your friends or family, you could rack up a ton of points.

Which makes me wonder how many games all of us have actually lost instead of won since we were probably determining the winner incorrectly.

RELATED: A ‘Golden Girls’-Themed Clue Game Is Coming Soon

We’ll definitely be keeping this scoring method in mind during our next UNO match! And maybe you can teach your opponents a thing or two about the correct way to play UNO.

Wondering What Board Game To Play Next?

There’s nothing quite like sitting down with friends or family to a good old-fashioned board game. Ready for your next game night? Here’s a fun flow chart that, through a series of simple questions, helps you choose the best board game for you.

(Hint: If you are viewing on your phone and are unable to expand the image while holding your phone vertically, flip your phone so that it’s horizontal and you should be able to zoom in on the chart below.)

Silver Oak Casino

We gave the flow chart a test drive to see what type of results we could get:

Are you playing with children? (No.) > Play for more than two hours? > (Yes.) Hardest rules ever? (Yes!) > OK, my game is Axis and Allies, which is a World War II-themed board game pitting Germany and Japan (“Axis”) against the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States (“Allies”).

World domination at stake — you know, the usual.


OK, let’s try one more.

Are you playing with children? (Yes.) > Younger than 7? (No.) > Let them experience crushing each other? (No.) > Portable? (No.) > One winner or a team effort? (Team.) > And the winner is … Forbidden Island!


According to Amazon, “You and your team can be the first to breach the borders of the Archeans’ ancient mystical empire in the collaborative card game Forbidden Island, by Gamewright. In this game, teamwork proves essential to locate the Earth Stone, the Statue of the Wind, the Crystal of Fire, and the Ocean’s Chalice as the Island floods beneath your feet. Adventure … if you dare!”

What’s your favorite board game to play?