You’ve been playing UNO for a while now and you want to step up your game. That might be easier said than done. Contrary to popular belief UNO is not entirely a game of chance; a lot of thought and effort goes into turning every play in your favor. Here are the top 5 most useful tips to truly master the game.
Tip 1: Keep an eye on others’ hands
This is the first and most useful way you can keep the edge. Count the cards each player has and direct the play towards getting the one with the least cards to draw. This requires cooperation between the other trailing players as well, as you’d like to continue playing the color the leading player does not have. If someone calls UNO and draws on their next turn, try to keep that color running as it’d force them to draw another card on their next turn. Be ready to catch someone for not calling UNO when they have their last card in hand. At the same time, be aware that the others are watching your hand too. Try to keep your cards lowered down and as hidden as possible.
Tip 2: Predict your opponents moves
You not only have to figure the next best move for yourself, but you must also think one step ahead by reading your opponents’ minds to predict their next plays. The color they change to with their wild cards are a dead giveaway of what color most of their cards are and what they’ll try to discard next. Try to change the color again before their next turn. In the early to midgame, keep a varied hand to ensure that you always have a card to play and more opportunities to change the color when needed.
Tip 3: Remember the discard pile
A good memory can serve you well in being more certain about your and your opponents moves. You don’t have to memorize each and every card in the pile, but do keep a look out for some important ones. There are a total of four wild cards and four wild draw four cards in the deck. As the draw pile depletes, knowing how many wild cards have been played can allow you to stratify the risk of another player changing color as soon as you call UNO. If you think the person immediately before you has a wild draw four card, you may even risk not calling UNO on your final card, as it will catch their attention and guarantee that they use it. Another thing to look out for is the colors that have been played. In the late game it’s a good idea to hold onto and play the rarer colors, as it will increase the chances of your opponents having to draw.
Tip 4: Use action cards wisely
Action cards are limited, so play them carefully. Keep action cards in your hand for as long as you can and play them only when necessary. Be careful of hoarding them for too long though, as they each carry 20 or 50 points in the end when the totaling is done. Play the reverse card when the player immediately previous to you drew a card, as they will likely still not have a matching color and will have to draw again. An unused reverse card in your hand can save you from falling victim to the same trick by the opponent immediately after you. Use draw two and draw four cards to attack the leading player. Use a skip card if you think the player two places ahead of you does not have the matching color.
Tip 5: Ending with the perfect hand
Ideally, a wildcard should be your last remaining card so that you will win no matter what color is currently being played. However, this is difficult as there are only eight of them in total, and situations arise where they have to be used. If all that remains in your hands are a wild card and a few colored cards that don’t match the play color, it is better to pass your turn and draw than to waste the wild card. You can also attempt to end with two cards of the same color, which will allow you to play one after the other on your next turn. Keep in mind that because there are only 8 cards of each number and 25 cards of each color, the latter is far less likely to change while everyone have their turns.
UNO can be a lot more mentally stimulating than you originally thought. It requires a great deal of intuition and foresight, especially for the different variants that introduce new cards and new rules. Now that you’ve learned the ropes, it’s time to practice and master them. Get ready to win games, best every scenario, and most importantly, have even more fun!