Practically everyone knows how to play Uno! It’s pretty simple; we eliminate cards that match in colors or numbers until we have just one left. Then someone shouts, ‘Uno!’ and tries to get rid of that pesky last card to win the game!
The simplicity of UNO lends itself to customization, whether by using ‘house rules’ (adding extra rules that aren’t part of the official ones) or adding custom cards to the deck.
One way to do this is to buy custom UNO cards online (we can change them however we want to, whether pictures or words) to add to the deck. It will have the same appearance as the original cards, so they don’t stand out in the deck.
Not to worry, though – this can also add fun as all the players will see the custom-made card but won’t know what it says until you play it!
How Do You Play UNO With Customizable Cards?
Playing UNO with customizable cards is almost the same as playing the original game. Customizable cards are usually wild cards, which can be played in any color and will have written instructions to follow.
When playing the new cards, follow the instructions – the rules behind them are entirely up to whoever designed them.
Newer UNO sets come with two blank cards, which are purposely designed and added to the deck to be customized for your own rules.
A more DIY-friendly approach is to make them ourselves. Children will love this and enjoy decorating them, but the cards will inevitably stand out in the deck.
Adding cards is a great way to customize the game, whether we’re in a group of adults wanting to turn it into a more exciting game or looking to liven up a game for the kids. This article will look at more family-friendly options to spice up the original UNO set.
What Are Some Good UNO Card Ideas?
There are plenty of great ideas for customized UNO cards out there. Here’s a list of some of the best ideas we’ve found for players and some of our own.
We can play this card to swap hands with the player of our choice. Of course, this card can be super powerful, even giving us a chance to steal someone’s last card – don’t forget to shout UNO!
Pick a number
Play this card to pick a number. The next player should either play a card of that number or pick up cards until they can do so.
Draw or Pick up (any number)
Adding a custom ‘pick up’ card can add something everyone will want to avoid. We could be nice and make this a ‘draw one,’ but why not make things exciting by adding a “draw 6” card?
Choose a player to draw (pick) four
This card will let us choose any player and add four cards to their hand. It could be an excellent option to prevent someone from winning the game once they’ve declared UNO.
It’s simply evil, which can make it a lot of fun.
See a hand
Playing this card will let us see the cards in someone else’s hand. We can use this to let other players know which ones they shouldn’t play or pretend that we know which color they have while trying to manipulate other players into playing cards that will help us.
Bang! (or an explody picture)
A fun, out-of-the-box idea is to put a picture of a cloud (or something that exploded) on the card and shout ‘Bang!’ when playing it. Then, the last player to hit the floor has to pick up four cards.
Free points (+20 points)
Many people play a hand or two of UNO for fun, but if we’re playing the strict rules, the way to win a full game of UNO is to collect points. You get points from adding up the cards remaining in other players’ hands at the end of the turn until we get 200 points.
This card will give us a big boost towards that total without having to win the hand!
This card will diffuse any bang or exploding cards by forcing all players to remove those particular wildcards from their hands.
Be careful, as this may help the opponents win the game – but it would also be a good way to help protect ourselves against any negative effects from the cards.
If someone plays this card, choose a player. Then, that player has to dance until their next turn.
If you’re nice, you’ll let them have some music to jive to.
Play this card immediately when someone plays any card with a negative effect against you. That may be a block, a reverse, a pick card, or even a customized wildcard. The shield removes any extra effect, continuing play as if it were just an ordinary-colored card.
A tricky one to play with, this card makes us turn our cards around in our hands to face other players. This way, the other players will have the chance to stop us from playing them.
When picking up new cards, keep them hidden as usual. Only those we had when we played the card must face the others.
Get in the bin
When playing this card, we nominate a color, and all players may discard all their cards of this color, as long as we keep at least one card in our hands after saying UNO.
Be careful, as while this might give us an advantage, it may accidentally cause others to win.
Change a color
When playing this card, we can change one color for the rest of the round. For example, we might choose that all blue cards count as red for the rest of the round, helping us get rid of red and blue cards more easily.
It’s a trap!
This is a negative card rather than a positive one. When we play this card, we must pick four for ourselves.
Bonus points if you draw a certain Star Wars character on this card.
Choose a rule
A bit of a meta one, this card would allow the player to introduce any rule of their choice. My favorite rules to introduce in this situation are those attached to specific numbers.
For example, ‘every time we play a two, we have to stand up.’ The exact rule is up to whoever plays the card, though.
This card can make for some wacky (and fun) games. Who knows – you may find a new rule you want to add to your customized cards!
The winner adds a new rule
This one builds off the idea of “Choose a rule,” but here’s how it works. The first round of UNO plays like normal (with or without the added customized cards). Whoever wins gets to add a new rule for the next hand.
From there, you can either require that the new rule is announced or let the rule maker enforce the rule until everyone figures it out without it having been officially announced.
Both ways can be lots of fun! Just make sure everyone knows which route it is beforehand.
Playing this way can lead you into UNO Mao (or Mau), though this is the intro-level version.
As an anticlimax, players can introduce a ‘nothing happens’ card. This works particularly well with homemade cards, where everyone can see that there is a custom wildcard but does not know the effect until we play it.
It will be a big relief for them to see a ‘nothing happens’ card, especially if they expect a powerful custom card to make them pick up many cards.
What Can You Put on Blank UNO Cards?
We can customize blank UNO cards either with words or pictures. A nice idea is to introduce cards with forfeits or new rules, allowing players to liven up the game.
Players can put anything on blank UNO cards; the only limit is the imagination. That said, try to choose something that won’t mess too much with the game’s original rules.
A specific example of this is rules which remove cards from our hands. If they allow us to remove more than one, we might end up with situations where someone can win without saying UNO, which ruins the point of the game.
Some of the most fun cards are those which introduce extra factors, such as making players do forfeits or silly things. These are family-friendly and add fun without affecting the actual game too much.
Can You Make Your Own Rules in UNO?
Making up new rules or customizing the official rules of UNO is known as creating ‘house rules.’ This is a great way to make the game more interesting. Explain any variations to new players who might not be familiar with them before the game starts.
Some house rules of UNO are so popular that many people believe they’re part of the official rules. A famous example of this is the ‘stacking’ rule.
House rule: stacking – If someone plays a draw 2 (pick 2) or draw 4 (pick 4) card before us, we can avoid the penalty and pass on the effect to the next player by playing a matching draw 2 or draw 4 card. The next player can then pass along the effect, too, as long as they can keep the stack going. When the stack ends, that player who can’t continue the stack must pick up the combined number of cards indicated by all the recently-played draw cards.
This rule is not part of the official rules, and when Mattel announced this on their social media in 2019, it stirred up quite a reaction.
Another popular house rule to add is what’s known as ‘playing doubles,’ where a player can play two identical cards from the hand in one turn. We’ve already written a complete guide to this, which you can find here: Can You Play Doubles in UNO? (Read This First!).
Can You Buy Customized Uno Cards?
Customized UNO cards can be designed at home or purchased online. Several companies offer this service, allowing the individual to put whatever they want on the cards, which will have the appearance and quality of the cards in the original UNO set.
In addition to just the blank cards, it’s possible to find fully customizable UNO sets online. Sometimes, this might be a more consistent and valuable way to design our own sets.
As a bonus, we’ll also be able to use our own pictures, so we could even have the family’s faces printed on them.
UNO Next Steps
Now that you know more about how to play UNO variations, try out a few.
UNO Mao is my favorite variation, though it’s definitely for the older crowd. It has never ended well when we play it with anyone under 12. So, we play our “winner makes a rule” version with the younger crowd. And, if any player is under the age of 10, we do require the rule to be announced.
That way, we can enjoy the game while prepping the younger players for the crazier versions as they age.
Enjoy your next game night!
Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as gamers.
- Hughie, Ritchie. “25+ Customizable Uno Blank Wild Card Ideas.” HobbyLark, 11 Aug. 2022, hobbylark.com/card-games/Uno-Blank-Wild-Card-Ideas.
- “Uno Customizable Wild Card Expansion Ideas.” Reddit, 25 June 2017, www.reddit.com/r/unocardgame/comments/6jeccc/uno_customizable_wild_card_expansion_ideas.