Let’s take a look at a new version of Uno – Uno All Wild
Uno is very much our go to family game in this house. If we have time to spare and want to play something quickly then the cards come out – in our case a lovely vintage Waddingtons set from the 1980s, more on that significance later – and the four older members of the house can be playing quickly without anyone having to explain any rules. Over lockdown it’s also become a standard game to play on Skype with a long distance friend. We have a pack each and just say what we’re playing as we lay down a card and tot up points at the end of each round. Beautifully simple and a brilliant way of being together when we can’t physically be.
I was excited to spot a couple of next versions of Uno in a supermarket when I was in the middle of looking for school uniform for three kids. We’re already familiar with things like the Minecraft version of Uno and alternative games like Phase 10 and Dos, but Uno All Wild and Uno Flip hadn’t been on my radar before. I went home and did a bit of research and then the next day I was passing a toy shop and popped in for copies of both Uno All Wild and Uno Flip to add to our holiday games stash for the summer.
Here I’m going to be taking a look at Uno All Wild, but a separate post on Uno Flip will be coming very soon.
What is Uno All Wild?
Well, much as the name of the game suggests, all cards in All Wild are Wild Cards. That goes to say that there are no colours in Uno All Wild. Any card can be played on top of any other card. Instead of all the red yellow, blue and green number cards you just have standard generic wild cards. In addition to these you then have Wild Action Cards. There are the standard ones translated from the regular Uno game: Reverse, Skip, Draw Two and Draw Four but you then also have some additional ones that really start to change the game.
Additional Wild Action Cards
Wild Skip Two is pretty self explanatory as a card and works well if you have more then two people playing, but where things get really exciting is with the Targeted Draw Two and Forced Swap cards.
With Targeted Draw Two (on the left on the picture below) a player lays this down and says who they want to pick up two cards. Play then continues with the next player round the table, even if that is the player who just had to draw two. This is particularly useful if someone has just declared Uno and you want to stop them, even if they’re not sat next to you.
Forced Swap (on the right in the above picture) is a slightly more complicated card to use. With this you choose another player when you play it and you have to swap cards with them. And also remember to say Uno if you are taking a hand that just has one card in it. Quite when is the best stage in the game to play this is something we’ve been experimenting with. It can be a very powerful card, but at the same time you don’t want to leave it too late in your hand or else there may be no one left with a hand smaller than yours. Leave it far too late and you could end up with that being the only card left and if you play it we interpret the rules as meaning that you then pass victory on to a player of your choice. Whilst this might be useful to stop another player winning it might also be a cruel twist in a family game.
Stopping another player
I’ve already mentioned how useful the Targeted Draw Two card can be if you’re wanting to stop another player from winning the game, but there is also another way your could do this.
As all cards are Wild and you can literally play anything on top of anything else, you don’t ever have a situation where you can’t go. But, you are allowed to just choose to draw a card from the draw pile on your turn and then use it or not if you want to. This means that if someone else has called Uno and you have nothing in your hand to be able to stop them you can draw a new card in the hope that it is a Draw card that you can use on them. Useful.
Game end and scoring
Uno All Wild ends in the same way as a regular Uno game with the first player getting rid of all of their cards. That player then receives points based on what all the other players have left on their hands at this point. In All Wild any regular Wild card scores 20 points, and any Action Wild Card scored a whopping 50 points. This makes for some very high scoring games. When we first played my daughter won on one hand with 560 points in a four player game. The instructions say to play until one player scores 500, but if you are after more than just one hand of play I suggest you up this to at least 1000.
We have a few conflicting thoughts on Uno All Wild.
Whilst it is great to find a new way to mix up our regular family Uno sessions the huge number of standard Wild cards in the pack (think about it – they’re replacing all the red, yellow, blue and green 0-9 cards) can make the game a bit boring, especially if you have a whole handful of them.
At the same time though the swap hands and targeted draw two cards add a level of excitement and if anything make the game feel even more competitive. You can be quite tactical with how you deploy some of the action wild cards to really block other players from victory.
Uno All Wild Player Numbers
We have so far tried playing Uno All Wild with between two and four players and I thought it worth commenting on player numbers as the box states that it can be for 2-10 players.
Whilst three and four player games work brilliantly, and we can see the tactical targeting elements of the game being particularly good for even more players, two player games simply don’t work. As with regular Uno and two players, the Reverse and Skip cards are just an easy way to get rid of cards. Even more so here as you don’t even have to wait for the right colours to come up to be able to do so. Skip Two just passes play to the next player as if you’d played a regular Wild Card and Targeted Draw Two becomes just the same as a Draw Two card.
The Forced Swap card is useful in a way, but by then we were so bored with just laying down Wild Card after Wild Card that we felt a bit bored anyway. Yes there is the option to draw an additional card and hope it works in your favour after the other player has called Uno, but chances are you’ll just get another standard Wild Card.
Box and Card Quality
Finally, I feel I have to talk about the box that Uno All Wild comes in. We’re lucky in that we have a vintage set of Waddingtons Uno cards that have a lovely quality playing card feel to them and they come in a box with a lift off lid and a nice tray where the cards sit beautifully. Uno All Wild, like modern versions of Uno, instead comes in a cardboard box with a hole in the top section for them to be hung up on sale in a shop. You have to feed the cards into the box one half at a time, and they are known to get caught on the flaps of the box and you end up with bits around the lid flap tearing quickly with repeated use. If you’re taking the cards travelling with you then the flap bit at the top of the box tears easily and generally just gets in the way. The cards themselves also feel somewhat flimsy and even after just an evening of playing some of the cards were showing a degree of wear and tear.
I’m guessing that Mattel who make Uno these days want a cheap way of packaging it and having it hanging in shops makes it the sort of thing that people might quickly pick up as an impulse purchase. Especially as the price point is quite low. Fine, but not great in terms on longevity of a card set. Already our cards and box are showing signs of wear and tear more than the vintage set of Uno cards that have been used for over 20 years. I can easily see them getting torn in a bag at some point and then cards falling out and getting lost – as has happened with my daughter’s Uno set that she takes to Scout camps. What we really need is a more sturdy box. Or even a plastic one. I know you can go onto something like Etsy and buy this sort of thing custom made or they sell an Uno Carry Bag, but I just wish Mattel would do this in the first place as a way of upping the companies green credentials and reducing landfill.
After a bit of shopping around we found a £3 difference in price between stores for Uno All Wild, which is quite a difference in just one town for something with a low price point. However, we would have happily paid £3 more had we had a better box for the cards.
Where to buy Uno All Wild
If you like Uno…
… then you might also like to read about Uno Rummy.