Uno hit the scene back in 1971 in all it’s garish, primary coloured glory. It’s hard to think of a family home without a copy, as the rules are so easy any member can learn and plan in a matter of minutes. Designed by Merie Robbins, Uno formalises an old style of card game nicked named in the USA as ‘Crazy Eights’. This style of game is all about shedding the cards in your hand and being the first one to do so. Although the origins can’t be pinned down to any specific game, each version uses different rules for each card. These allow players to dump their own or make other players draw. Since its release, there have been well over a hundred different versions of the game. Some are simply aesthetic whilst other strive to change up the mechanisms. These include, Minecraft Uno, Uno Junior, and what we're speaking about today, Uno Flip.
For those new to the Uno parish the rules are simple. There are four colours, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow and cards are numbered 0 – 9. The rule, like most trick taking games, is that a card can only be followed by a matching colour or symbol/number and if you can’t go you have to draw. There are also five symbol cards which allow you to skip turns, change direction, change colour, and force others to draw. Much like Monopoly, Uno spread around the world and due to its cheap price point is now a fixture in almost every family board game collection.
Not to be confused with 2009’s Uno Flip the dexterity game (yes that existed!), this new version adds a more frenzied gameplay with a much more aggressive ‘take-that’ mechanism. The first thing to notice is that the cards are now double sided. There is the standard ‘light’ side, which is essentially the same recognisable deck as before. But the ‘dark’ side is where the fun happens.
On the flip side (as it were) is another deck, the colours of which are now vibrant pinks, purples, oranges and turquoises. The main new card is the ‘Flip It’ card which does exactly as it sounds. When played, the decks are flipped and you must do the same to your hand. This little thing adds so much more game to play with opponents now being able to see what each other has in their hand. You could play without ever checking out your rival’s hand, but those, eagle eyed among us will be constantly seeing what sort of colours are showing up, especially nearing the end of the game. A well placed flip after a shout of “Uno” can really mess with the win. And that is just the beginning of the new, more aggressive tactics that make this version more fun!
Call It A Draw?
As well as the usual change direction and change colour cards, there is also the horrid ‘opponent draws 5’ and the ‘I get to play another card’ options. My favourite of the new cards, however, is the ‘Draw Up’. This often brutal card can add so much excitement to a turn. It is simple. When played, the next player must draw up from the deck until they reach a colour of the original player’s choice. I have seen this end after drawing a single card but have also witnessed someone draw almost a full deck’s worth before finding sweet relief. This mechanism can really flip the game, but be prepared for the ensuing revenge. There is no player like a player scorned!
It is fair to say, that original Uno has often been given a bad reputation, especially by more regular gamers. But, the truth of the matter is, it is one of the most common card games known in the western world and is often a person’s introduction to trick taking as a mechanism.
If you really don’t like Uno then Uno Flip is not going to change your mind. However, if you are looking for something with a bit more variety and you have a family or friendship group who like to have a bit more bite in their games then this is a fun addition to the collection. Just make sure its only the cards being flipped and not the table too!