It’s not that long since I discovered Rummikub (and the addiction that it is!). My kids love UNO and I’ve been playing a card version of Rummy (or threes and fours as it was always known in our house) for as long as I can remember. UNO Rummy (which later seems to have changed its name to UNO Rummy Up) therefore seemed a natural progression in my exploration of tile games.
In UNO Rummy there are four sets of tiles numbered 1 to 12 in the four UNO colours – red, blue, green and yellow. There are also four wild draw 4 tiles, which are a bit like the jokers in Rummikub.
The tiles all look like UNO cards and that was actually one of the things that we found a bit off putting. But more on that in a moment.
Rules of play
If you know how to play Rummikub then the rules of play are pretty familiar, with just a few UNO exceptions. Players start with 14 tiles, and the aim is to again make runs or sets of three or more tiles. Either straight from your hand or by manipulating runs and sets already on the table.
The starting position is a little different in that you don’t need your first play to have a certain score to be able to start. There are also an additional four tiles left on the table for players to use to manipulate with right from the start of the game.
Special UNO tiles and rules
To be a bit more like UNO some tiles are more than just the number written on them. If you play a 2 then it forces the next player to draw two tiles and to skip their turn. Playing a 5 forces the next player to skip a turn and playing a 7 it reverses the direction of play around the table.
The Wild Draw 4 tiles are played on the table as jokers, but doing so forces the next player to draw four tiles and miss their turn too.
The aim, as with Rummikub, is to get rid of all your tiles, but the one other difference is that players must shout UNO when they only have one tile left on their rack. Not doing so (and the racks have cut outs so you can see how many tiles everyone has left) results in a penalty of having to take two more tiles.
Our thoughts on UNO Rummy
To be totally honest, we’re not fans. The idea behind the game is fine, but we just found that it didn’t have the nice touch and feel of Rummikub. The tiles themselves didn’t feel as nice in the hand, and the drop shadow used on the numbers, especially on the green and blue ones, made them quite hard to read. Basically we’re Rummikub snobs!
The penalties involved in having to take extra tiles took away some of the strategy that we had started to get into with traditional Rummikub, yet also added an extra element of surprise and unpredictability to the game.
At the same time though I can see how UNO Rummy would appeal to UNO fans. It’s actually quite fascinating to look at all the different twists on the original UNO game and which ones work, and which don’t.
The version of UNO Rummy that we have been playing was produced by Spears Games in 1993 and came with a note that UNO and UNO Rummy are copyright Mattel.
How to buy UNO Rummy and the other games mentioned here
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Uno Rummy Up (which I believe to be exactly the same game) can be bought on Amazon *here at the moment and a search on eBay brings up a few versions of the two games (including our one which we have decided not to keep!)
For pure UNO fans then there is the *standard version of the card game available around the £5 price point, or even *Minecraft and *Harry Potter versions. If you’re a proper player then why not try your hand at *UNO Attack, the rapid fire version!
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