While opinions of the game can vary quite a bit, it is undeniable that UNO has been a really popular card game ever since it was first released. This has lead to quite a few spinoff games many of which we have taken a look at in the past. The latest UNO game is UNO All Wild!. When I first heard of UNO All Wild! I kind of assumed it was a joke as the idea of an UNO game where all of the cards are wild kind of ruins the general premise of UNO as any card could be played at any time. Despite this I was kind of intrigued because I was curious about how you could design an UNO game where all of the cards were wild. UNO All Wild! is an interesting twist on the UNO formula that creates a unique experience that can be fun while also creating its own problems.
If you would like to see a detailed rules explanation for the game, check out our UNO All Wild how to play guide.
The idea of UNO All Wild! on the surface doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. UNO is basically built around players playing cards that either match the color or number of the last played card. By making every single card a wild this is gone since every card is wild so you can play any card from your hand at any time. In a way UNO All Wild! kind of feels like a parody of UNO where it was built off of someone joking about what an UNO game would play like if all of the cards were wild. Colors and numbers no longer matter as all of the cards are now special. In fact simple wild cards have become the most basic card in the entire game.
Because of all of the cards being wild, the gameplay actually differs quite a bit from your traditional UNO game. Instead of trying to find cards in your hand that you can play, the ultimate goal of UNO All Wild! is to prevent the other players from going out long enough that you can get rid of all of your cards first. You need to keep track of how many cards the other players still have left in their hands, and when a player gets close to going out you need to either get them to lose their turn or have to draw more cards.
UNO All Wild! does share some things in common with your typical UNO game. Many of the special actions are the same as every other game in the series. The game still has the skip, reverse, draw two, and draw four cards. Outside of having many of the same cards though, the gameplay feels quite a bit different. No longer do you have to worry about having a card that you can play in your hand or preventing another player from being able to play a card. As any card can be played at any time, the gameplay is more about figuring out how to use the special cards in your hand to lower your own hand size while preventing the other players from getting rid of cards from their hands.
The game does have a couple new cards. The Skip Two card is nothing special as it just skips two players instead of one. The Forced Swap card is interesting as it forces you to swap your hand with another player. This is interesting as it can be really helpful or hurtful. You can use it to reduce your hand size significantly, or you could end up with more cards than you started with. Thus it is really important to play the card at the right time. The Targeted Draw Two is my favorite of the new cards as it is something that I think UNO has needed for a long time. For far too long UNO has never allowed players to target someone other than those on either side of them. This card finally allows you to specifically target a player to give cards to them just before they are about to go out. I honestly hope that this card is included in other versions of UNO in the future.
UNO All Wild! plays a lot different than normal UNO, but it ultimately has a lot of similarities as well. Like its predecessor, no one is going to consider UNO All Wild! to be a considerably deep game. There is some strategy to the game as you need to figure out the best time to play your special cards in order to prevent another player from going out. The strategy in the game is rather obvious though as whenever someone gets close to going out you need to try and play a card that either forces them to draw cards or lose their turn. Basically in the early game players will get rid of their boring old Wild cards, and then players will start playing their special cards as they prevent the other players from winning.
No one is going to confuse UNO All Wild! for a deep game, but it really isn’t trying to be one. The designer knew that the game had to be a simple card game that you didn’t have to put too much thought into. It mostly succeeds in this task. The game gives you enough control over your fate without forcing you to have to spend much time thinking about what you want to do. Players basically just take turns playing a card from their hand until someone is able to get rid of their last card. While I kind of wish there was more to the game, sometimes it is nice playing a simple card game where you don’t really have to spend much time trying to decide what to do.
It is kind of hard to judge what people will think of the game. The game shares things in common with the original UNO, but it also plays quite a bit different. I could see some people preferring it over the original, and others thinking it is worse. I ultimately thought it was a decent game that I had fun playing. I personally prefer the original game more though for a number of reasons which I will get to shortly. It is still a decent game that I think some people may really enjoy.
I think the biggest problem that I had with the game is just that far too often it felt like every single game played the same. Each hand would begin with all of the players getting rid of their Wild cards as they have no real value in the game. Players would then start unleashing their special cards until only one player remained who was able to get rid of their last card. While somewhat fun, it got a little repetitive after a while. It just feels like there is something missing from the game. It is interesting to play with all of the special cards hoping that things will ultimately end up in your favor, but the experience just felt kind of shallow.
This is combined with the fact that the game still relies on quite a bit of luck. I don’t know how it compares with the original game, but I wouldn’t say that it is noticeably better or worse. The cards you are dealt will have a big impact on how successful you are. Bad use of your cards could have an impact, but it is usually pretty obvious what card you should play on any given turn. You only have some impact on what happens in the game as while you can occasionally hit a player that is not directly next to you, you still mostly can only impact the players on either side of you. Therefore luck plays a pretty big role in the ultimate winner of the game.
As for the game’s length it really depends. I could see some games ending really quickly while others take quite a bit longer. Unlike normal UNO the main rules have you only play one game instead of scoring points for the cards that are left in players’ hands. This is actually the variant scoring in the game. The length of a game really depends on what cards the players have in their hands. Usually you will have enough special cards in your hand to hold off other players for a while. Eventually the players will run out of cards that are helpful though. If two players next to one another only have one card each it is also really hard to prevent both of them from winning. Generally I would say hands are about the right length as you can finish them in a couple minutes where they don’t drag out too long.
Finally the components for UNO All Wild! are basically exactly what you would expect if you have played any recently produced UNO games. The game has 112 cards which are plenty. I don’t know if we ever really got close to running out of cards where we had to reshuffle. Even if you have to reshuffle, since all of the cards are wild you don’t really get clusters of the same cards together so you don’t have to shuffle nearly as often. I do think the card distribution could have been better though as there are too many normal Wild cards and not enough of some of the special cards. As for the card quality it is the same as pretty much every other UNO game.
When I first heard of UNO All Wild! I will admit that I didn’t expect it as the idea behind the game changes up pretty much the entire premise of UNO. Instead of trying to match colors or numbers to be able to play cards on your turn, the game is more about trying to prevent the other players from going out before you can get rid of the cards from your own hand. In a way I liked the game as it is an interesting twist on the original game. It is quite easy to play and also succeeds at being one of those card games that you don’t have to put too much thought into what you are doing. It just feels like there is something missing from the game though. It relies on too much luck and too many games just end up feeling the same. I can see some people enjoying it more than the original game while others won’t particularly care for it.
Therefore it is hard to make a definitive recommendation for UNO All Wild!. If you have never really cared for UNO or don’t think the all wild gimmick sounds all that interesting, I don’t think it will be for you. If you generally like UNO though and are intrigued by the twist on the formula, I think it might be worth looking into.
Year: 2021 | Publisher: Mattel | Designer: Nick Hayes
Genres: Card, Family
Ages: 7+ | Number of Players: 2-10 | Length of Game: 15-30 minutes
Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light | Luck: High
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