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Backwards Uno

This game originated at a Sonic in Huntsville, TX, July 23rd, 2011.  The game is epic. The game is awesome. The game is Backwards Uno. 


Goal: To be the last person playing OR have the most cards at end of game.


1. The cards are distributed evenly to all players, much like in WAR

2. No one looks at the cards, holding them face down.

3. The player to the dealer’s left starts the game.  They call out “FLIP!” and everyone flips over a card from the top of their hand.

4. The highest valued card wins and that player takes the appropriate action. For example, if the cards in play are a 4, a 9, and 0, the 9 wins and that player takes all the cards and adds them to the bottom of their deck.  (No shuffling of cards allowed.  Cards must be randomly picked up and added.)

– The following cards are Power cards and follow a specific hiearchy.  They are listed from least powerful to most.

  • Reverse- If you play this card, you choose to switch the cards of any player, including yourself.  You often choose who wins that round by rearranging cards.  Battles over ties.
  • Skip- You choose one card that is disqualified from that round.  You will not win that round, but you can choose who definitely won’t get to play or win.  Battle over ties.
  • Draw 2- You choose to add 2 to any cards in that round.  If it is a 4, it is now a 6.  If it is a power card, it loses its power and becomes a 2.  You won’t win that round, but you get to influence who wins or doesn’t win. Battle over ties.
  • Wild- You try to be the first person to cry out the word that is the name of the game, the only time you can cry it out.  It is the word Uno backwards.  Here is the only time it shall be written: “ONU!” (pronounced “owe” [as in “you owe me money!”] and “new” [as in “look at my new car!”]  If you are the first to cry it out, you win all those cards in that round.  If there is a tie, the flipper decides who wins.  Factors include the volume and speed at which one cries out the word.  One cannot say it until it is flipped over, though.  If a Wild Card is revealed, but it is not in play, it doesn’t count.  If two Wild cards are played, the winner must say the word twice to get all the cards. Finally, you may choose to give those cards to someone else if you wish.
  • Wild Draw 4- If you play this card, everyone must put down an additional 3 cards, thus giving you 4 cards.  So, if you are playing with 5 people and play this card, you will get a total of 20 cards– the 5 on the table, plus an additional 15, 3 from every player. Battle over ties. You may also choose to give those cards to someone else if you wish.

+ Each Power Card trumps the lower ones in the hiearchy.  Though Wild is one of the best cards, Wild Draw 4 still trumps it, and even if a person cries out the word, they don’t get the cards.  If three people are playing, and they play a Reverse, a Skip, and a Draw 2, first the person with the Draw 2 gets to play, then the Skip, then the Reverse.

3. Play continues to the next player.  They become the flipper and call out “Flip!”


+ In case of tie between players who have the most valuable cards (such as two 8s against a 4, not two 4s against an 8), you have a battle, like in War.  Each battling player lays down three cards, face down.  Then the flipper for that round calls out flip and they flip another card from the top of their hand.  The most valuable card wins, then that winner gets to play.  If the tie was in between a Draw 2, the winner choose to give 2 to someone else.  The loser of the battle is disqualified from winning anything.  If there is a tie in a battle, have another battle.  A battle can have any number of players.  If a person doesn’t have enough cards to battle, someone can give them cards just for the battle, or the number of cards in play for the battle can be changed.


+ If all cards in play are the same color, the first person to slap the cards wins those cards.  This trumps the other Power Cards.


– If someone says the word out of turn, they must give every player a card.  If they aren’t in the game and say the word, they get hit.


– If someone calls out “Uno!” in play they must put 2 words in the pot for that round.


– If someone asks “Who is the flipper?” or a similar question, they must lose 2 cards to the pot.   If someone flips out of turn, that card is disqualified from the round.  People can play tricks on eachother.  A card is not flipped until it is face up and on the table.  You can’t flip the card until the flipper says “Flip” in its entirety.


– Anyone can join in the game by calling out “the word.”


– If a card is flipped over and lands back face down, that person must sacrifice a card to the pot.


– Debate over other rules and come to a consensus.


Thanks to the game co-creators– it was a fun experiment with a truly enjoyable result. The game is a fluid creation, still growing and open to change. Try it out and see what you think!  Just don’t say “the word” or else I’m going to hit you!

Posted under: Fun

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