It’s 2 AM. The raucous sounds of laughter ring throughout the house. Try as I may, I just can’t stop my cackling. You see, I just drew another card, bringing my total hand size to thirty. And my friends and I can’t help but find the whole situation hilarious. When it comes to gaming, there are a ton of games that are an absolute blast to play with friends, and I want to talk about what just might be my favorite: UNO. No, don’t leave! Let me explain...
Dating all the way back to the Xbox 360 version, UNO has long been a late-night pastime for my friends and I. The smooth jazz song from that version will forever be engrained in my head. All these years later, some of those very same friends and I now play the newest version of this beautiful card game. While under normal circumstances, UNO is a game where you start with 7 cards and try to work your way down to 0, that is not how we play. Oh no.
You see, UNO has a number of house rules that you can turn on that transforms the game from an innocent card game into an insanity-inducing endless spiral that will leave you delirious when you come out the other side. Now I know that might not sound enticing, but that’s also why I recommend you play late at night, on the precipice of sleep. The delirium that comes with that pairs nicely with the custom rules, like a nice cheese with a fine wine.
Be careful, though, as some of the custom rules actually tone down the experience, and why would you want that? The situation that always seems to generate the most fun for me revolves around maximizing hand size. The goal isn’t to win, so much as ensure absolutely everyone has so many cards that there can be no hope for any of you to win for at least an hour.
To do this make sure the only custom rules you turn on are 'Stacking' (if you have to draw a card but have one in your hand, you can play that card and pass the buck to the next player), '7-0' (playing a 0 shifts everyone’s hand around the table and playing a 7 you choose someone to swap hands with), and the real MVP, 'Draw to Match', in which you keep picking up cards until you can play, rather than just stopping at one.
All of these rules create the ultimate mayhem, shifting the objective of the game to getting as much “power” as you can. Power is the shorthand my friends and I use for the 0, 7, and Draw cards. The more mayhem you can create, the more powerful your hand. And if you really want to punish the people you’re playing with, set the score required to win to the max, all but guaranteeing that game won’t actually be over when, by some miracle, your current hand comes to an end.
Ultimately, what UNO becomes is an unashamedly fun social tool. As the game doesn’t require too much of your attention, it becomes a wonderful way to shoot the breeze with friends, all while ruthlessly handing out card after card.
While the game in all its absurd glory is fun, the experience isn’t solely about playing cards. I get a near-equal amount of joy from spending hours with my friends, laughing. And come the laughter will. You’ll likely hit a tipping point eventually, where some mundane, stupid thing is unbelievably funny, that you just break inside. And once this happens, that’s when the game really has you. Seeing your friend draw 11 or 12 cards from the deck in a row because they needed a blue but only had 27 yellow and a few greens offer this unbridled joy that you won’t soon forget or get sick of.
As I mentioned, I’ve been playing UNO all the way back to the days of the Xbox 360, and I still adore it. Sure, it’s not something I play every night, but when you trot it out once a month for special occasions, it’s truly magical.
Do you play UNO at all? What’s your go-to game for social gaming fun? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to check out our lists of Best PS4 Co-Op Games and Best PS4 Local Multiplayer Games.