How to Play
UNO Dominos follows most of the normal rules of Dominoes. Brushing up on the rules on how to play Dominoes may be helpful.
The game begins with each player drawing six dominoes randomly. Whichever player has the highest numbered tile where both numbers are the same (a doublet) gets to play that tile first. If no one has a numbered doublet, players continue to draw tiles until someone gets one and plays it. All future tiles are then played off that tile.
Tiles can be played if they match one of the tiles by number, color or word. For example if one of the tiles is a green 7, a tile with a either a green side or a seven side may be played. Any doublets played must be played at a right angle of the tile they are played next to and two doublets may not be played next to one another.
In addition to normal numbered dominoes, there are dominoes with words printed on them. These tiles produce special effects when played. In order for the special effect to occur, the side of the domino that has the words printed on it has to be the face that is played next to another tile. If a tile is placed where the word side is not touching another domino, the special effect is not activated until someone plays a tile next to that side of the domino. The special word tiles include:
- Draw 2: The next player draws two tiles and loses their turn.
- Skip: The next player is skipped.
- Wild: Can match any number, color or word.
- Reverse: Turn order reverses to the opposite direction. For example if play started clockwise, play would change to counter-clockwise.
- Dead End: No domino may be placed next to this tile.
- Wild Draw Four: Works as a wild domino and forces the next player to draw four tiles and lose their next turn. Wild draw four tiles may only be played if there are no other dominoes that the player is able to play. If a player plays a wild draw four and had other dominoes they could have played, they pick up the tile and draw four tiles from the draw pile.
If a player is unable to play a domino on their turn they must draw a domino from the draw pile. If they are able to play the tile they just drew, they can play it immediately. If they cannot play the tile they must put the domino in their domino rack.
Once a player has only one domino remaining they must yell out “UNO”. If someone catches them before they say UNO, the player with only one tile must draw two additional tiles from the draw pile.
When one player plays their last domino, they win the current round. The player receives points based on the dominoes still held by the other players. Points are awarded as follows:
- Number Tiles: Face Value
- Draw 2, Reverse, Skip: 10 points
- Wild Draw 4, Dead End: 20 points
- Wild: 25 points
A new round is then played. When one player reaches the point total agreed to by all of the players, they win the game.
In 1971 International Games first introduced the game UNO. UNO became a hit and is still a hit toady. Due to its’ popularity, UNO has had many spin-offs over the years with UNO Dominos being one of them.
While UNO is far from a strategic game, I enjoy playing the game. The game is simple to learn and easy to play. It works well as a warm up game. Since I like UNO I have given quite a few of these UNO spin-off games a chance. Some are pretty good while others are not. After playing UNO Dominos, it unfortunately falls into the second category.
UNO Dominos is essentially UNO combined with the game of Dominoes (not surprising given the name of the game). I have actually never played Dominoes before but I was familiar with the concept of the game. In UNO Dominos you are essentially playing UNO with dominoes instead of cards while also following the placement rules of Dominoes. UNO Dominos is a little more difficult than normal UNO since you have to implement the Dominoes rules but it is still easy to pick up.
I had some fun playing UNO Dominos but the biggest problem with the game is that it is way too easy to place tiles. In the five rounds of the game that I played, not once did anyone have to draw a tile due to being unable to play any tiles. On every turn each player was able to play a tile. I actually had to check the rules several times to make sure I wasn’t missing something and I wasn’t. I can see having an available move on most turns, but having one on every turn is pretty ridiculous.
I believe the reason this problem exists is due to being able to match color and number. In normal Dominoes you are only able to match numbers so if you don’t have the right numbers you aren’t able to play. Since you are able to match color or number in UNO Dominos you are almost guaranteed to have a tile that will match the color or number of one of the many tiles already played.
With it being way too easy to play all of your tiles, there is essentially no strategy/skill to the game. The winner of the game will be the player that gets the most turns. The way to get the most turns is to get lucky in your selection of tiles. In the original game of UNO, the special cards were always valuable since they gave you an advantage over the other players. In the original UNO, these advantages were lessened somewhat by the fact that every player would likely have to draw cards at some point. In UNO Dominos players essentially get to play a tile every turn so these special effects become even more powerful. All of the tiles that make a player skip a turn give players a turn advantage which is crucial to winning the game. Tiles that force players to draw additional tiles are even worse. These tiles give a player between a three and five turn advantage almost guaranteeing that the player they were played against won’t be able to catch up unless they are able to play a similar draw tile against the other player.
The ease of playing tiles doesn’t ruin the game but it does hurt the game a lot. The game is still somewhat fun to play but it kinda feels pointless at the same time since whoever gets the best tiles will always win. The original UNO had little strategy but I honestly think UNO Dominos has even less strategy. UNO Dominos is just not a good combination of UNO and Dominoes. I think you would honestly be better off either playing UNO or Dominoes separately. UNO Dominos could work as a warm up game where the outcome isn’t important but you could just as easily play a normal game of UNO.
UNO Dominos suffers trying to do too much. Combining UNO and Dominoes results in a game that is too easy. With tiles being too easy to place the game ends up relying almost exclusively on luck.
If you are a really big fan of UNO and Dominoes you may enjoy UNO Dominos. Otherwise you should probably skip the game altogether.