When most people think of card games one of the first that come to mind is probably UNO. Originally created back in 1971, most people have probably played UNO at least once in their lives. The basic premise of the game is to play cards from your hand that either match the number or color of the last played card. With how popular UNO is there have been quite a few spinoff games created over the years. Most of these games involved taking mechanics from UNO and applying them to other types of board games. UNO never really had a true sequel until the release of DOS last year. It only took 47 years for UNO to finally get a sequel, so I was curious how it would turn out. Despite being the unofficial sequel to UNO, DOS differs quite a bit from UNO which in some ways is good and in other ways leads to problems.
How to Play DOS
- Each player draws a card. Whoever draws the highest number will be the first dealer.
- The dealer shuffles the cards and deals seven cards to each player.
- The dealer then places the top two cards face up on the table. The rest of the cards are placed face down to form the draw pile.
Playing the Game
The player to the left of the dealer will start the round.
On a player’s turn they will perform one of two actions:
- Play a card(s)
- Draw a card
Players will try to play cards that match the numbers on the face up cards. Players can match cards even if the colors on the cards they play don’t match the colors on the cards they are matching.
There are two ways you can match a face up card.
First a player can play a card that exactly matches the number on one of the face up cards (single number match).
Otherwise a player can play two cards that add up to one of the face up cards (double number match).
A player is able to play a single number match or a double number match on two of the face up cards in the middle of the table. A player may not play two matches on the same face up card though.
While a player does not have to match color when playing cards, they will receive a bonus if they are able to match the color. The bonus the player receives depends on if they make a single or double number match.
If a player plays one card that matches the number and color of one of the face up cards, they have created a single color match. They will get to lay down one of the cards from their hand face up on the table. This is done at the end of the player’s turn and will lead to there being three face up cards on the table.
If a player plays two cards that add up to one of the face up cards and both cards also match the face up card’s color, they will receive an additional bonus. At the end of their turn they will get to lay one of the cards from their hand face up on the table creating another pile to play to. All of the other players must also draw one card from the draw pile.
Draw A Card
If a player is unable or doesn’t want to match one of the face up cards, they will draw a card from the draw pile.
After drawing you may use the card you just drew to make a match with one of the face up cards.
If a player does not match any of the cards on the table, they will get to play one of the cards from their hand face up on the table. This will create another pile to play on.
End of Turn
After a player either plays a card(s) or draws a card, their turn ends.
All of the cards from the matched pairs are removed from the table and placed into the discard pile.
If there are less than two face up cards in the middle of the table, take a card(s) from the top of the draw pile and place it face up on the table. If a player gets to lay down a card(s) for color matches, they will lay it face up after cards from the draw pile have been added.
Play then passes to the next player clockwise.
There are two special cards in DOS.
Wild DOS: A wild DOS card will count as a two of any color. When you play the card you get to decide what color it is. If a wild DOS card is face up on the table, you get to determine what color it is when you match it.
Wild #: A wild # card acts as any number between 1-10 of the color shown on the card. When a player plays the card they determine what number it will act as. If a wild # card is face up on the table, a player chooses what number it is when they match it.
When a player only has two cards left in their hand they must say DOS. If another player catches you not saying DOS you will have to add two cards from the draw pile to your hand. If you are called out during your turn, you will draw the two cards at the end of your turn.
End of Round
The round ends when one player gets rid of the last card from their hand. The player who got rid of all of their cards will score points based on the cards remaining in the other players’ hands. Cards are worth the following points:
- Number Cards: Face Value
- Wild DOS: 20 points
- Wild #: 40 points
End of Game
The first player to score 200 points wins the game.
My Thoughts on DOS
I will admit that I was a little skeptical of DOS when I first heard about it. UNO is far from a deep game but I have always had a soft spot for it. UNO has very little strategy and relies on a lot of luck, and yet for some reason the game works. I think the reason I like UNO is that it is the type of game that you can just sit back and play without having to put a lot of thought into what you are doing. This is what makes UNO a perfect filler card game.
The main reason that I was skeptical of DOS is that it felt like it was an attempt to make a quick buck off the name of UNO. Although the game is never officially called the sequel to UNO, the game runs with the comparison. I felt that it was basically going to just be UNO with a few slight tweaks. For example I thought the game might just give you a few different cards and maybe a second play pile in reference to the name DOS. After playing the game I was genuinely surprised by how different DOS is from UNO.
It is pretty clear that DOS takes some inspiration from UNO. Just like UNO you are trying to get rid of all of cards from you hand. This is done by matching the numbers on your cards to the numbers out on the table. While DOS is quite a bit more difficult than UNO, it is still a pretty straightforward card game that you can pick up and play without a lot of explanation. For this reason I think DOS is a pretty good filler card game if you want something that you don’t have to put too much thought into.
DOS might have taken some inspiration from UNO but it plays quite a bit differently. The main difference between DOS and UNO is the emphasis on numbers instead of colors. In UNO you can match color or number to get rid of a card. That is not the case in DOS as you can’t match cards by just their color. You would think this would make it much harder to get rid of your cards as you can only match cards by their numbers.
That is far from the case in DOS though as it is actually the opposite. It is actually quite a bit easier to play cards in DOS than UNO. This comes from three rules added to DOS that significantly alter the gameplay. In UNO you are only allowed to play one card each turn. In DOS that restriction is eliminated. You can play a card(s) to two different piles each turn. As you can play at least twice as many cards each turn, it is only natural that it is easier to get rid of your cards.
The mechanic that has an even bigger impact on the gameplay though is the ability to play two cards in order to match a face up card. Instead of having to play cards that exactly match the numbers on the cards on the table, players can play two cards that add up to one of the face up cards. This might not sound like much but it actually adds a lot to the game. Whenever possible you want to play two cards as it helps you get rid of cards quicker. This means that you always need to be aware of opportunities where you can combine your cards in order to match the face up cards. This actually adds a little educational component to the game as I could see DOS being used to teach younger children basic addition skills.
The final change that makes it easier to play cards in DOS comes from the fact that you can basically ignore the cards’ colors if you want. The colors have no impact on you being able to play a match in the game. You can play cards that are a totally different color. You can even play two cards that add up to a face up card and neither card has to match the color of the face up card. The two cards don’t even have to match one another. After playing UNO for so long it is kind of odd being able to ignore the colors on the cards.
You don’t want to totally ignore the colors though as it is still really beneficial being able to play cards that match the face up cards’ colors. The bonuses that you receive from matching colors can really help in the game. Being able to lay an additional card face up on the table at the end of your turn is a huge reward. You can get rid of one of your cards that will be hard to get rid of while also reducing the number of cards in your hand. Being able to play two matching cards is even better as you are able to force the other players to draw a card. This allows you to gain a four card advantage over the other players. While you usually want to take what you are given, when possible you probably want to match colors as much as possible.
When these three things combine it is quite easy to get rid of cards from your hand. In UNO you would be lucky to get rid of one card each turn. In DOS it is theoretically possible to get rid of six cards in one turn. In this theoretical situation you would also be forcing the other players to draw two cards as well. This allows players to massively swing the outcome of a round in just one turn. With it being so easy to get rid of cards, rounds in DOS move quite a bit quicker than UNO. In DOS most rounds will end after a couple times around the table with each round only taking a couple minutes.
I have some mixed feelings about these additions/changes in DOS. As I just mentioned rounds in the game play quite a bit quicker. I see this as a positive as filler card games should play quickly. There is no need to worry about the infamous UNO rounds that never end as players can’t get rid of their last card. At max players might have a couple turns where they aren’t able to play a card. With games only taking a couple minutes you don’t have to play for a long time for a player to reach 200 points.
The other benefit of these additional mechanics is that DOS feels like it has more strategy than UNO. While I have always enjoyed UNO I would not call it a strategic game. If you have a card that matches the current face up card you play it. There aren’t a lot of choices to make in the game as it is usually pretty obvious what you should do on any given turn. DOS is not highly strategic either, but there are some decisions to make when it comes to playing cards. This mostly comes from being able to play one or two cards to match a card along with getting a bonus for matching colors. On most turns it is still going to be pretty obvious what you should do, but there will be some turns where you have a couple choices.
Most of the problems that I had with DOS come from the fact that the game goes too far in making it easy to match cards. As I alluded to earlier, it is rare to have a turn where you can’t make any matches. While I like that this makes the rounds quicker, it speeds up the game too much in my opinion. A player could actually win a round within two turns if they get lucky. Due to these mechanics rounds seem to end almost as quickly as they begin. While UNO draws out rounds a little too much at times, DOS goes way too far in the opposite direction.
Another problem with DOS is that it eliminates a lot of the player interaction from UNO. UNO actually has a lot of player interaction as you can change the card that the next player has to match. Having control over what card the next player has to match lets you impact their fate in the game. This allows you to mess with players as you try to change the pile to a number/color that the next player can’t play on. Almost all of this is eliminated in DOS. You can’t really mess with the next player as any cards you play just leads to the cards being discarded and new cards being added to the table. Outside of forcing a player to draw a card due to playing a two card color match, you can’t really impact any of the other players.
In addition DOS eliminates all of the special cards that you could use to mess with the other players. Skips, reverses, draw twos, etc. are not included in DOS. All of the special cards in DOS are used to help the player holding them instead of punishing the other players. In UNO you could use these cards to prevent a player from going out. This is not possible in DOS as you can’t force them to draw cards or lose their turn. With player interaction being such an important part of UNO, you can immediately tell that it is sadly missing from DOS.
On top of all of this I think DOS could possibly have even more luck to it than UNO. The luck comes from a couple different areas. What is most important are the cards that are face up on your turn. The cards that are face up determine whether you will be able to play cards and how many you will be able to play. If the face up cards don’t work with the cards in your hand there is no chance you will be able to play cards on your turn. Basically you want wild # or higher number cards face up on the table on your turn. These cards are much easier to play on as you have the opportunity to play two cards to match the face up card.
As far as cards that are dealt to you, you want to be dealt a lot of low number cards and special cards. Lower cards are better because they can be played on low face up cards as well as being added to another card for a two card match. The special cards in particular are quite powerful. The wild DOS cards really help with getting two card color matches as they act as a low value card of any color. The # cards are totally rigged though. As they can act as any number in the game, you can play them on any turn. They are even more powerful as you can add them to any of your other cards making them easy to use to make a two card match. Basically whichever player is dealt the best cards is going to win the game.
Component wise DOS is basically what you would expect out of a Mattel card game. While the two games might be quite different, the cards in DOS remind me quite a bit of UNO. The style of the cards are very similar. The cards are pretty basic but are colorful. They are nothing special but they serve their purpose.
At the end of the day I don’t know exactly what to think of DOS. There are things that I like about the game and there are things that I think could have been better. Based on the official rules I think UNO is the better game as it is more elegant and works better as a filler card game. DOS has a lot of untapped potential though. It just feels like the game is missing something. Some good house rules that limit how many cards you can play each round would probably drastically improve the game. While I think UNO is the better game, with some good house rules I could see DOS becoming the better game.
Should You Buy DOS?
Billed as the unofficial sequel to UNO, I didn’t really know what to think about DOS. I thought it was just going to be another UNO spinoff with some slight tweaks to the rules. While DOS takes some inspiration from UNO, you immediately notice that the two games don’t share as much in common as you would expect. The main differences come from you not having to match colors (outside of bonuses), and that you are able to play more cards each turn. This leads to it being much easier to match your cards which makes rounds move quite a bit quicker. DOS also seems to have a little more strategy as there are some strategic decisions to make in the game. The problem is that it is way too easy to get rid of cards leading to rounds ending too quickly. DOS is also missing a lot of the player interaction from UNO. DOS has some good ideas but really needs some house rules to be as good as UNO.
If you have never really been a fan of simple filler card games, DOS is not going to be for you. For fans of UNO the decision on DOS is going to be a little more complicated. If you think DOS is going to play a lot like UNO you may be disappointed. You will also probably miss some of the player interaction. If the game’s concept sounds interesting to you though and you like simple card games, it may be worth checking out DOS.