Uno Variation: Uno With A River

Cards: 1 Uno deck (any variety)
Players: 2+ (4+ preferred)
Time: ~5-10 min/round
Rating: 8/10

Special thanks to Joe Lindstrom for sending this in.

For this variation, deal 4 cards to each player instead of the usual 7. The dealer also places 4 cards face up next to the discard pile, which forms the "River."

This variation then plays like a traditional Uno card game except that if a card from the River can be played on the discard pile, a player may choose to play a card from the River instead of from her hand. If a player chooses to play a card from the River, he immediately replaces the played card in the River with a card from his hand. There must always be 4 cards in the River. Essentially, the River acts as a shared pool of cards that are treated as part of every person's hand (similar to Texas Hold 'Em).

The final caveat to this variation is that a player cannot play a card from the River when she only has one card left in her hand. If a player has only one card left and cannot play that card, he must draw from the Draw pile. After drawing, the player would then have two cards and would be able to play a card from the River to end his turn, if possible.

Advantages: The greatest benefit of this variation is how much it speeds up each round of play. Because of this, it is ideal for games with more people, particularly when playing with four or more players. The River also provides some new and interesting, yet easy to learn, gameplay mechanics and strategies.

Disadvantages: This variation can lead to occasional unnaturally short matches where a player is able to get rid of all her cards in only 4 turns. This is even more of an issue where only 2 people are playing.

Overall: This is a fun, simple twist that can be used to speed up otherwise long games (and can allow for games with more players). Because the variation is designed to help players get down to Uno quickly, the game can get quite tense once most players are just battling to get rid of their last card. Enjoy!


  1. Played this with my family and absolutely LOVED IT!!! I like the speed, we spent way too may games in the past going on forever and the kids got really bored. But not now

  2. Thanks for sharing this blog its very informative and useful for us.