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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

How to Play UNO

UNO is a fast-paced and exciting card game for all ages. You can have up to ten players. Get rid of all your cards first and score points for the cards your opponents still hold. The first player to score 500 points wins.

  1. Use a deck of UNO cards. The deck has 108 cards consisting of four suits, wild cards, and word cards with directions on them.

  2. Choose a dealer by having each player pick one card. The person with the highest number is the dealer. Word cards count as zero.

  3. Deal each player seven cards and place the remaining cards face down in the middle of the table. This is the draw pile.

  4. Turn the top card of the draw pile over to form the discard pile.

  5. Take turns beginning with the player to the dealer's left and go clockwise around the table.

  6. Place one of your cards on the discard pile when it's your turn. Your card must have the same number, color or wording as the top card of the discard pile - or be a wild card. If playing with blind or visually impaired players, announce the card that you are discarding.

  7. Draw a card if you cannot discard. Play the drawn card if you can. If you can't, it's the next person's turn.

  8. Announce a suit when you place a wild card on the discard pile. You can play a wild card any time it's your turn and can name any suit you wish.

  9. Announce a suit when you place a Draw Four card on the discard pile.

  10. Follow the directions of a word card that is played on the discard pile by the player preceding you. This may mean that you have to draw two cards, skip a turn or even draw four cards.

  11. Say "UNO" when you have one card left in your hand. If you forget to say UNO and another player catches you, you must draw two cards.

  12. Tally all the points when one player is out of cards. (See below for "How to Keep Score in UNO.")

When the card turned over to form the discard pile is a Wild Draw Four, put it back in the draw pile and turn over another card.

If the top card of the discard pile is a green two, for example, the next player may play either a green card, any color number two card, or a wild card.

A Wild Draw Four card causes the next player to draw four cards and forfeit his or her turn. Play this card only when you have no card of the color previously played.

The person required to draw four may "challenge" the person who played the card. The challenged person must show his or her cards to the challenger. If that person, indeed, has no cards of the proper color, the challenger must draw two additional cards. If the person does have the right color and illegally played a Wild Draw Four card, that player must draw four, and it now is the challenger's turn.

How to Keep Score in UNO

Get a score card and write each player's name down - the first person to 500 points wins!

  1. Tally scores at the end of each game. The game is over when one player is completely out of cards. That person gets all the points.

  2. Add the total of all the cards left in each player's hand.

  3. Count number cards as their numeric value.

  4. Count Draw Two, Skip, and Reverse cards as 20 points.

  5. Count Wild and Wild Draw Four cards as 50 points.

  6. Award all points to the winner of each round.

  7. Start a new round.

  8. Play until one player scores 500 points.

How to Play Variations of UNO

Spice up your UNO games by adding a few simple rules to play an UNO Variation.

Two-Player UNO

  1. Play normal UNO, but with only two players.

  2. Count Reverse cards as skip cards, and immediately play another turn.

  3. Play another turn right away after you play a Skip card.

  4. Play again after you play a Draw Two card or a Wild Draw Four since your opponent's turn is taken by drawing cards.

Save your word cards as long as you can, then play them in a straight run to win the game without giving your opponent a chance.

Challenge UNO
  1. Play normal UNO with three or more people.

  2. Keep track of each player's personal point total at the end of each round.

  3. Leave the game when your personal point total reaches 500. You are "out."

  4. Play until only two players remain. Those players play one more hand of Two-Player UNO (see above rules), and the winner of that hand wins the game, regardless of points.

Speed UNO
  1. Play normal UNO.

  2. Play out of turn if you have the exact same card as the card previously played. Do this only before the proper player plays the next card.

  3. Continue play with the person to the left of the person who last played a card, even if that person played out of order.

If a red 5 is played, for example, and you have a red 5 in your hand, you can play it immediately even though it is not your turn.

On Draw Cards, the person who would have had to draw still must draw even if another Draw was played on top of it out of order. The new Draw card counts, too.

On Wild Draw Four cards, the player must pick a color before a Wild Draw Four can be played on top of it.

Do not replenish the draw pile. If the draw pile runs out, draw cards no longer cause people to draw, and if you can't play, skip your turn.

If you have doubles in your hand, you might as well play them at the same time.

Waterproof UNO and Standard playing cards

Cards and drinks tend to go hand in hand, but keeping the braille on them does not. Should your friends around the table be more clumsy than usual through the night, this pack of Umbra Waterproof Playing Cards or UNO H2O cards will certainly come in handy. Because the cards are covered with plastic, they hold the braille dots well and you'll love the results. Yes, you'll have to manually braille them yourself, but they will last much longer than standard decks. Each purchase comes with a protective case for easy portability. Also great to keep yourself entertained with a game of Solitaire or UNO with a friend while chilling out in the sauna.

Click this link to purchase the Umbra H2O Waterproof playing cards.
Click this link to purchase UNO H2O from Amazon.

UNO for the Computer

Ian Humphreys of Spoonbill Software has released a high-quality version of UNO. You play against three computer-generated opponents. To get the game, send a message with your name and country to Ian at

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