The aim of Uno is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, and when you’re down to one you shout “Uno!” Who’d have thought such a simple game could provide so many hours of fun??? There’s a lot to learn about Uno that you probably never knew – do you know how old it is, where to play it online or who owns it now? Read on and learn everything! For more gaming fun, have a go at our ultimate Uno quiz, or see how how well you know Scrabble or board games in general!
1. It’s older than you might think!
Uno was invented in 1971 by American barber Merle Robbins. That means it’s more than fifty years old!
2. It’s based on another game
Merle’s family loved to play a card game called Crazy Eights, which has been around since the 1930s and uses a standard deck of cards. Merle got into a disagreement about the rules with his son. To avoid more arguments in the future, he created a variation on Crazy Eights with slightly different rules – and Uno was born!
3. It became a hit quickly!
Merle’s family weren’t the only ones who loved playing Uno – his friends and community also loved it! He realised he might have a business venture on his hands, and invested $8,000 to make 5,000 copies of the game (that’s more than $50,000 dollars today)! His family sold their home and took the game on the road to sell it, which was a big risk…
4. Merle sold the rights for $50,000
…a big risk that paid off! That would be worth more than a quarter of a milion dollars nowadays, which is a great price for a little card game! He also earned royalties on top of the lump sum. The man who bought the game was a funeral director and business investor!
5. Now it’s owned by Mattel
Mattel is one of the biggest toy brands in the world. They also own Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Monster High – and a little doll line you might have heard of called Barbie! They bought the company that made Uno in 1992.
6. You can play it on the computer!
And on your phone, too! Uno has an official app and a fun multiplayer online game, for when you don’t have a deck of cards handy!
7. You can also play it in Braille!
In 2019 Matel announced they were producing a set of Uno cards in Braille. Braille is a writing system used by visually impaired people that uses raised dots to spell words, which are read by running your fingertips across them. Now Uno could be played by everyone!
8. The Uno deck is unique
To play Uno properly, you really need the actual card deck – you can’t sub in a standard deck of cards! The Uno deck has 108 cards in four main groups – red, yellow, green and blue, plus the special cards.
9. It’s getting even more popular
Even with video games becoming more popular, people still love to play Uno! Sales of Uno were up 20% in 2017, and stayed popular during the pandemic!
10. There are so many variations on the classic game
Bored of your classic Uno pack? You’ve got so many options to choose from! You can get packs themed after Harry Potter, He-Man, Super Mario, Barbie, Paw Patrol, Minions, and Minecraft! It also comes in Junior editions for younger players, a minimalist version for grown-up players, and an all Wild Card edition for a seriously crazy game!
11. It can teach kids colour recognition
Uno is suitable for kids as young as 3, and it’s a great way to teach them about colours! It can also teach them how to count at the same time!
12. It may also help with fine motor skills
Fine motor skill is your ability to make small movements with your eyes, hands and fingers. When you’re little these are still developing, so it’s good to do activities that help you learn how to use and control them. Uno is one of many things that can help with this, because you need to hold the cards, look at them, flip through them, and react quickly.
13. There’s also a version for colour blindness
Colour blindness is when you have difficulty telling certain colours apart. It’s more common in men than women with about 1 in 12 men experiencing it in some form, though it’s not known why. This can be a big problem if you want to play a game like Uno! Uno released a colour blind friendly edition in 2017 with extra symbols representing the colours.
14. Uno means “one”
The aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards, so when you get down to just one you yell “Uno!” This simply means “one”. Fun fact – the card game Uno developed from was called “Pesto” in the 1930s. It would be a bit weird to yell that!
15. TV gave the game a boost!
In 1973, packs of Uno were given as prizes in a popular children’s TV show called The Bozo Show, which starred Bozo the Clown. TV always helps give products a boost, and this boost was what helped give International Games (the company that originally owned Uno) their big break when a larger company saw the game! It’s a good thing the investors weren’t scared of clowns…
15 Unbelievable Uno Facts! If you think you already know everything about the card game, these fun facts might just pull a reverse card on you! 🤣 Beano Team Last Updated: August 16th 2023 The aim of Uno is to get rid of all the cards in your hand, and when you’re down to one