Almost everyone has played Uno at one time or another, but most people haven’t played Combat Uno! Way back in the 1990s before all my friends were addicted to World of Warcraft and Words with Friends they used to sit around and play Uno, and one day one of them (exactly who came up with the idea is lost in the annals of history) came up with the idea of Combat Uno. The basic concept is simple: if someone plays a card and you have the exact same card (same color and number or type) you can immediately try to play it even if it’s not your turn. If you get your card down before the next card is played your card is the legal play and the turn proceeds to the next person after you. In effect you can interrupt the play and change the turn order at any time. It makes for a very hectic but very fun variant.
Ive been hearing about this legendary game for years and got to sample it a little bit once but just last night most of the original crew was assembled and we threw down a killer game of Combat Uno: 8 players using two decks shuffled together. It was just as chaotic as you imagine it would be.
So here’s a summary of exactly how the rule changes work:
- You can always match any card that is played. So if someone plays a red 4 you can put your red 4 on it even if it’s not your turn. Then whoever would normally go after you takes their turn. But you have to play your matching card before the next play is made. Example: Player A puts down a green 7, Player B goes to put a green 9 on it but before he does Player D matches it with a green 7. Since player D matched play goes to Player E, skipping players B and C.
- This even applies to worded cards like Skip, Reverse, and even Wild. So if player A plays a blue Reverse and then it’s matched by player C and then matched again by player D and matched again by player E (using 2 decks so there are actually 4 Reverses of each color) it would be player F’s turn because he goes after player E (and the 4 Reverses would all cancel each other out so the turn order would be the same).
- And yes you can even match Draw 4 Wilds! However there is a rule that you can never force anyone to draw more than 12 cards at a time, so no more than three Draw 4 Wilds can be played on any one match. This rule was stress tested last night, with some record-setting results…
- Another house rule is that if a Draw 2 is played into you instead of having to draw and end your turn you can instead play an additional Draw 2 and the next person has to Draw 4; or put another Draw 2 on it, making it Draw 6. And yes, there can be matching thrown in as well! But you still can’t go above Draw 12, so once you get to that point you’re done.
As you can imagine, it’s gets pretty wild (no pun intended) with 8 players all trying to match and play and generally screw with everyone else at the table. We had a situation last night where J1 ended up having to draw 12 cards because three Draw 4 Wilds had been played and he was the designated victim. B, who was sitting to his right and happens to be his wife, tried to play another one but couldn’t because that would have exceeded the draw 12 rule. Well immediately afterward J played two Draw 4 Wilds (he had a nice selection of cards to choose from at that point), and B hit him with the third one, so he had to draw 12 more cards! Even the veterans couldn’t remember someone having to draw 24 cards like that.
That game lasted a couple hours, but we still had time for another. A couple players bugged out so we were down to six and we also went back down to a single deck. Playing with only one deck eases the chaos considerably since there are only two of each card (except for the Wilds and Zeros). J2 ended up killing everyone in that game. There was one round where he went out before I even got to play a card.
Probably the most legendary moment in the history of Combat Uno was the time a card got sliced. Two players went to play at the same time and one card intersected with the other at just the right angle to slice into it. It didn’t go clear through, but still pretty impressive. I wasn’t around for that one unfortunately, and apparently nobody kept the sliced card, which is a shame.
So if you’re bored with regular Uno (and frankly, you should be by now!), give Combat Uno a try. It spices things up considerably; I love how everyone is always on the edge of their seat and paying attention ready to pounce at any moment instead of sitting back spacing out waiting for their turn to come around. Give it a try sometime and if you slice any cards in half at least take a picture!