By Brad Cook
It began in 1971 with an argument. Merle Robbins decided to settle a Crazy Eights rules dispute by inventing a new card game. The result was UNO, and he made and sold the first 5,000 card decks with his familys help. In 1981, a funeral parlor owner purchased the rights, plus a royalty paid to Robbins for each deck sold, and formed a new company, International Games. Mattel bought International Games in 1992 and has sold the game in a variety of formats ever since, from Barbie UNO to X-Men UNO, many of which feature additional special cards and rules.
Like Crazy Eights, UNO challenges you to empty your hand one card at a time by matching the color or number of the card on the top of the discard pile. If you cant make a match when your turn arrives, you must take a card from the draw pile. Strategy comes into play when deciding on the right moment to use a special action card, such as the Wild Color card that allows you to call out a new color or the Draw Two card that forces the next player to take two cards and miss their turn. When you drop your penultimate card, you must call Uno! or another player can force you to draw two cards.
On the iPod, you can play UNO against one to three human or computer-controlled players, the latter with three levels of difficulty. In Career mode, you tackle 15 increasingly difficult rounds against computer opponents; along the way, you unlock reward cups for accomplishing various tasks, such as winning the game without drawing any cards, and collect new backgrounds and other items. Career mode also tracks all of your vital statistics, including wins and losses, the number of times youve called Uno!, and more.
Career mode matches feature a variety of special rules, introduced one by one as you progress through the 15 rounds, that you can also use any time by setting up a custom match. They include:
- Cumulate: If a Draw Two or Wild Draw Four card is discarded by the previous player, you can play a card of the same type, if you have it. The cumulative effect of the penalty is passed to the next player, who must also match it or draw the total number of cards.
- Draw and Play or Draw One: The former allows you to immediately play a card from the draw pile, while the latter doesnt.
- Force Play on or off: If this option is on, you must play a Wild or Wild Draw Four card if you have no others to play. When its off, you can choose to draw a card and save your special cards for later, if you want.
- UNO 7-0: When someone plays a zero, everyone must give their cards to the next player. When someone plays a seven, they must trade cards with the opponent of their choice.
- Jump In: If someone discards a card with the same number or color as a card in your hand, you can play it right away, without waiting for your turn. Play resumes with the next player after you.
Nearly four decades after he came up with the idea, you can enjoy Robbins invention on an iPod smaller than a deck of classic UNO cards. Too bad he isnt around today to play the game on an iPod with his son, reminiscing about the Crazy Eights dispute that led to UNOs birth and a worldwide phenomenon.
Tips and Tricks
- Youre only supposed to play a Wild Draw Four card when you have no other options, although you can play it anyway. The affected player, however, can challenge your move. If theyre right, and you could have played another card, you must draw two cards and let them take their normal turn. If theyre wrong, they must draw six cards.
- At the end of a hand, the winners point total is based on the cards remaining in the other players hands. Numbered cards are scored at face value, so get rid of the higher numbers every chance you get, while the action cards, such as Draw Two and Reverse, are assigned more points. The trick, then, is to figure out how long you should hold them, knowing that they will come in handy toward the end, before getting rid of as many as possible so youre not stuck with a high-point hand.
- Watch your opponents: If the current color is green, for example, and some of them are forced to draw cards, that means they dont have any green cards (before they drew new cards, at least) and you should keep that color going to empty your hand as fast as possible. Wild Color cards are perfect for the last few trips around the table, when you can use them to switch to your preferred colors.
- Other action cards also come in handy toward the end of a match, if the player next to you is down to their last few cards. Play a Reverse, Skip, or Draw Two to keep them from calling Uno! Extra strategy comes into play with the UNO 7-0 rule, which allows you to obtain the hand of a player who is close to winning.
iPod Games FAQ
Do you have questions regarding any of the iPod games available from the iTunes Store?
More iPod Games
- Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or Windows 2000
- iPod nano (3rd and 4th generation only), iPod classic, or iPod (5th generation only). Not playable on your computer, other iPod models, iPod touch or iPhone. Please check which iPod model you have.
- iTunes 7.5 or higher required to download (games cannot be played in iTunes)