So it’s official; the current lockdown won’t be ending anytime in the foreseeable future. All the daunting prospects of our schools and careers are on hold, and with that our drive to get stuff done. Why not take the opportunity to settle down with your loved ones by the fireplace for a nice, family friendly game of UNO? This version of UNO features the Minecraft characters we’ve come to adore over the years, from Steve to creepers to the random chicken or sheep. With the various cards in one’s hand, every game is a unique experience for Minecraft veterans and newcomers alike.
For first time players of the base game, the rules are simple. The goal is to be the first to rid yourself of all the cards in your hand, while using cunning tactics to make your opponents pick up as many as possible. The round begins with a dealer shuffling the deck and dealing seven cards to all players. The remaining cards are placed faced down on the middle of the table and are collectively known as the draw pile. The top card is revealed and placed adjacent to the draw pile, beginning the discard pile. The players now take turns placing the cards in their hand onto the discard pile, starting from the player left of the dealer and moving clockwise. Only one card can be placed per turn, and must match either the color or the number shown on the topmost card of the discard pile. If the player has no such matching cards, they must draw one card and add it to their hand or play it immediately if legal. The player may also choose to draw even when they have a playable card in hand, but are not allowed to discard any other card for that turn.
So far, so easy. A three-year-old who can count to nine and has basic knowledge of the colors of the rainbow can play with these cards. What about the ones which don’t have numbers on them? There are various action cards that affect the flow of the game when played and are represented by symbols instead of numbers. The skip card causes the next player to miss their turn, while the reverse card changes the direction of play. The draw two card forces the next player to, you guessed it, draw two cards. These action cards are played as normal upon the same color or symbol as the previous card in the discard pile.
There also exist wild cards which can be placed upon any color, and the person who plays one gets to decide a new color to continue with. Arguably the worst card in the deck for its infamous reputation of destroying relationships since the game was invented in 1971, the wild draw four card acts as a normal wild card AND forces the next player to draw four AND skip their turn. Devastating for that annoying little sibling who keeps trying to steal a peek at your hand. You may only play this card if you have no card in your hand matching the color of the discard pile remaining.
When a player has one card remaining immediately after their turn, they must say “UNO” to alert other players about their final card. If they choose not to and are caught red handed (pun not intended) by another person before the next player’s turn, they must draw two cards. Once the last card in the draw pile is taken, the discard pile is shuffled and inverted, making it the new draw pile. Play continues until one player discards their whole hand. This player is announced the winner, or if you’re all in for an extended game, is awarded points based on the cards remaining in the opponents’ hands. Number cards are worth their face value, colored symbol cards twenty points, and wild cards fifty points. A new round then begins, with the game ending once one player reaches a victory target score, most often 250 or 500.
In the Minecraft version of UNO, there are special wild cards called creepers. Like in the PC game, these evil critters pop out when you least expect them and cause you to scream internally as they demolish any hopes you had of surviving. When a creeper card is drawn, the player must show this card to the others and proceed to draw three more cards while their turn is skipped. In subsequent turns, the creeper card can be played as a regular wild card.
UNO is a game of wit, judgement, and teamwork. While the good players may know how to play each card best, better players will work together and sacrifice their preferred colors to sabotage the opponent with the least cards. With a little practice and some knowledge of common tactics, you can become an UNO pro in next to no time.