15th August 1997 at 01:00

Spears Games, Pounds 4.99 from Woolworths and most leading toy outlets Recommended age: seven to adult


108 playing cards

Who can play

Between two and 10 players. A wide age range can take part - I've played with nine people, aged between five and 44. It is particularly good for drunks as only one word ever needs to be spoken - Uno.


Any time, any place, anywhere - just like Martini, an excellent accompaniment to the game but not as recommended as some strong Polish vodka, a fiendishly simple way to ensure victory. It worked every time for me with one of my opponents. It made him so incoherent he couldn't even say "Uno" - and he's Italian.

What happens

Each player is dealt seven cards. The rest of the pack is turned face down to form a draw pile. The first card is then turned over to form a discard pile. The first player has to match the card by colour or number. If they can't, they must pick up a card. The aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards, but you must remember to yell "Uno" when you put down the second-to-last card, or you are penalised by having to pick up another one.

When a player has no cards left, the hand is over and points are scored. The overall winner is the first to get to 500, but scoring is best omitted with very young children. Play is enlivened by wild cards to change the colour, cards that force the next player to pick up an extra two or four cards, or those that reverse the order of play or make a player miss a turn.

Value for money

Excellent. You don't get many games that are really enjoyable for the whole family.

Entertainment factor Six-year-olds seem to find it endlessly appealing, adults (sans alcohol) might find enjoyment palls after a game or two.

Star rating ****

**** Must-have

*** Rainy-day stand-by

** Emergencies only

* Go home

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