UNO Challenge 2023: 17 UNO Variations You Need To Try This Year
2022 came to a close with festivities and fun as we gathered around with friends and loved ones to celebrate the start of a new year. During that celebration, many of us grabbed our board games and cards and spent charming moments together, laughing and playing and smiling.
And some of us played UNO.
For those of you who haven’t played UNO recently, it still has the same addictive power, the same ability to pull you from the heights of quick wins down to the crushing lows of a hand struggling under the weight of half the deck’s cards in just seconds.
UNO turns even the most casual gamer into the most ardent rule follower as screams of “YOU CAN’T STACK +2S” are heard late into the night.
Still, we keep coming back to this deceptively simple card game. In fact, UNO first came out in 1971, so we’ve had it in our lives for over 50 years. Now, even as we grow older and rise from being the young ones in our family to having our own young ones, the game continues to have its allure.
Part of the reason for that allure? The homemade UNO variations that allow us to make up our own rules. While everyone seems to have a rule or two they’re fond of, we wanted to come up with the comprehensive list of UNO variations.
One guide (or should we say, UNO guide…) to rule them all.
Ready to take on the 2023 UNO Challenge? Keep reading for a list of variations that’ll keep you excited to play UNO for the next 50 years. If you’ve ever been looking for a board game challenge worthy of your game night, this is one.
ROLL THE DICE ON THIS ADVENTURE
Turn-by-turn, role-playing, strategy, and more - when it comes to games played among friends, there may be categories, but there are no limits. Each of these IRLAs celebrates the roll of a die, the casting of a spell, and every dungeon mastered. Gather your friends and family for game nights and lose yourself in the magic.
A game night to remember.
(And the real UNO challenge? Playing through this entire list while staying on good terms with your friends and family!)
The Comprehensive List Of UNO Variations
In this UNO version, you’ll dedicate a certain number as a special "Attack" card that allows players to send cards from their hand to the next player. When a player plays an Attack card, say a 3, they must get to send a number of cards from their hand to the next player in the direction of play. The next player then adds those cards to their hand and takes their turn as normal. It’s even more if you yell “ATTTAACKKK” as you do it. And yes, we’ll allow Stack Attacks, where the attack mounts until someone can’t match the card and they have to accept the other players’ cards.
Instead of starting with the normal seven-card hand, players start out with a buffet-friendly 10 or 20 cards. While this can be a heavier start, it also leads to some more dramatic runs of playing like numbers, especially If you are allowing stacking (which the company has stated over and over again is not allowed).
For the people who like to add extra hot sauce onto their chips, this version of UNO is spicy. Set new extreme action cards, like +3 or +6, have skips that go over two players, and add freezes that knock a player out for two or three rounds of play.
In this variation, players flip the draw pile instead of drawing from it. This means that the top card of the draw pile is revealed and then placed on the bottom of the draw pile, creating a new top card. Players must then play a card that matches the new top card by color, number, or symbol.
With this UNO variation of Wild Draw Four, we bring back the fun of the Cold War with Mutually Assured Destruction. By playing the designated Wild Draw Four card, every player draws four. The only exception is that this card can be played as the final card of the hand, letting the winner claim triumphant victory as everyone else draws four.
In this chaotic version of UNO, players who see that their exact card has been played (a green 4, a red 2, etc.) can play theirs on top of it – no matter where they are in the flow of the game. If you successfully play your card, play resumes within the flow of the game.
In this Bizarro world-variation of UNO, players try to accumulate as many cards as possible. Play goes on until there are no more cards in the deck, and the player with the most cards wins.
Similar to hearts, this UNO variation has players earning point values for the cards in their hands after each game. This is a great way to play if you’ve got people who can’t always seem to win, but get close – this will reward them for keeping their card count low. Each number card is worth its face value in points, and each Skip, Reverse, and Draw Two card is worth 20 points. The player with the lowest score after the chosen number of rounds wins the game.
This variation of UNO is played in teams, with each team trying to get rid of all their cards first. A minimum of four players are required. Teams work together to play cards and strategize to get rid of their cards as quickly as possible. Team stacking is allowed, so if one player plays a 2 and the teammate also has 2s, they can stack immediately before the opposing team plays.
UNO Red Zero
UNO can’t always be about making other people draw cards. Sometimes, bad luck falls on the cardplayer. With UNO Red Zero, the red zero is the doomsday card. In order to play it, you must first draw ten cards.
This variation involves forming sets and runs with the cards in your hand, similar to the game of Rummy. Players must try to form sets of cards with the same number (e.g., three "4" cards) or runs of cards in the same color (e.g., a red "3," a red "4," and a red "5"). When a player has formed a set or run, they can lay it down on the table and draw new cards to replace them. The first player to get rid of all their cards wins the game. In this instance, UNO must be declared when a player is working on their last set of cards, e.g. all one type of number, or a run of the same color.
UNO Silent Sevens
Once someone plays a seven, the game becomes silent until another seven is played. Anyone who speaks has to draw a card. If it’s time for UNO, you raise one finger.
Ah, the infamous stacking rule for UNO. Though not an official rule, it’s included in most home versions of UNO. Essentially, it involves stacking cards that match – either in color or value – on top of each other. This includes action cards! So if someone plays a +2, you can stack a matching +2 on top of it, and so on until it isn’t matched. If a player cannot play a card, they must draw one from the draw pile or comply with the action cards.
UNO Swap Hands
You start this UNO variation by designating a number. Once that number is played, its player can choose to swap hands with another player. The players then continue the game with their new hands. If you choose to swap with a player who has just one card, “UNO!” must be declared at the time of the swap, or you’ll have to face the typical four-card penalty.
UNO That Escalated Quickly
To take a page from our Anchorman friends, UNO That Escalated Quickly is a version of stacking that starts with you getting hit with a + card. You have the option of matching that card, or throwing one down of greater value. This keeps going until someone can’t match the highest + value, and they must take the sum of all the cards.
UNO Timed, or perhaps UNO Bobby Fischer, is about adding a timed element to the game. This gives players a limited amount of time to play their turn. Though there are a number of ways to add this element, our favorite is to add a short timer of 60 seconds. When that timer runs out, the person it stops on must draw four cards. This makes for some fun moments toward the end of each clock.
This UNO variation takes a page out of the war playbook (the card game, not the armed conflict between superpowers). When one player matches after another, play is paused. The two players must create a separate standoff that includes them playing two cards face-down, followed by a third card face-up. The person whose face-up card is highest wins, and the loser has to accept all of the cards into their hand. Play resumes with the player to the right.
What You Need To Take On The 2023 UNO Challenge
To make your 2023 UNO Challenge a success, grab the Tabletop Gaming (Traveling) IRLA.
ONE COIN TO RULE THEM ALL
It began with the playing of the great game… and the gamers, all the gamers were of the race of men, who above all else desire victory. For within those gamers was bound the strength and will to read all of the game’s many fine-printed rules and to play late into each night and to each lay claim to victory. But they were all of them deceived because only one gamer could win the One Coin…
One Coin to Rule Them All…
One Coin to the Game Night’s Victor…
One Coin with the Power to Select the Next Night’s Game…
And In Between Game Nights, the Power to Blind Friends with the One Coin’s Shininess, Showing Them Once and For All Who’s The Best (Until Next Week, Same Time, at Sean’s House).
Get the One Coin for a traveling trophy that showcases your game night’s true champion (and, hopefully, doesn’t make you disappear).
Designed specifically for game nights (including intense UNO marathons like this one), this IRLA is a token that rewards the victor… but only temporarily. They’ll be required to defend their honor at the next game night.
Truly the ultimate gaming night achievement, get your own Tabletop Gaming (Traveling) IRLA challenge medal and make game night one to remember!