John’s Game of the Year #7: Uno

We’re on to Game #7 from my/John’s goal to play an average of one board or card game per week for the year of 2021. This one is an old favorite, and definitely not the first time he’s played it.

The Game: Uno

One of the many variations.

Players: 5… John, me, Mama, Chris, and Dana

Date: 9-9:30pm, Sunday, January 31, 2021

John has several different Uno games which we have been playing for the past couple years, from the Super Mario Bros. version to the Incredible version. We just haven’t explicitly chronicled any of the Uno games until now.

Uno, as most everyone knows, is a simple game of trying to rid yourself of cards by playing a particular color or number on the discard pile, with wild cards, skips, reverses and other crazy things thrown in, depending on the version of the game you’re playing. It’s realistically easy enough for a smart 4-year-old to play, and entertaining enough for adults to play without kids.

How Uno Went

John is somehow very lucky at Uno. He has legitimately beaten me hundreds of times before. Granted, I always let him go first, and in a two-player game, that is quite the advantage. But a win is a win, and when I don’t have to intentionally play bad to keep the peace, it’s an added bonus.

John and Mama were among the Uno players at our neighbors’ house on this Sunday night.

On this night, we were visiting our neighbors across the street for dinner in celebration of my wife’s 37th birthday, and after the younger kids all fell asleep, we broke out Uno. The neighbors had a particular version of the game with a wild card that instructed players to swap hands, which added a twist.

Somehow, the one single round we played took an entire half hour. Just as someone was down to a single card, they’d get screwed with a Draw-4 wild card, or get skipped several times in a row. Back and forth we went, each player on the verge of victory, only to have to swap hands or some such nonsense.

Throughout it all, John kept his cool, and when push came to shove, it was the 6-year-old who came out on top of all the 30-somethings. It was a 100% legitimate victory. No one helped him, no one played down to him, no one played favorites. John just wiped the floor with us. I had several specialty cards in-hand, and amassed 134 points in that single round. (There are apparently two ways to keep score—either points are good, and the winner gets everyone else’s points; or points are bad, and players accumulate points when they lose.)

We ended after just one round due to the lateness and it being a Sunday night. John was as happy as a lark.

The Stats

Ease: 10/10. John has been playing on his own since he was 4.

Entertainment: 7/10. I think 30 minutes is about the right amount of time for keeping this game interesting.

Meltdown Likelihood: 5/10. John, for whatever reason, has historically been very lucky at Uno, but I have seen him have horrific meltdowns multiple times.

Time: 6/10. Some rounds can go by quickly, but you occasionally get these 30-45 minute games that always surprise.

Likelihood of Child Actually Beating Parent: 5/10. There is some strategy involved, but not enough to keep an adult from winning consistently. A kid could just get dealt a crazy good hand.

Dad’s Review

Rating: 8/10

Easy to explain, easy to play. I, unlike my son, have horrid luck at Uno.

John’s Review

Rating: 9/10

This was actually the second straight such victory for John amongst this group of adults. Of course he loves it!

Record

John moves to 5-1-1, previously “beating” me in Bold, Blink, Pic Flip, and Dos, while losing Old Maid, and essentially tying in Picture Charades, a game with no winner or loser.

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