Ever since I was a kid I have been a fan of UNO. UNO is far from a perfect game as it doesn’t have a lot of strategy and it relies on a lot of luck. Despite this I am still a fan of UNO as there is just something about how simple and quick the game is to play where you don’t have to put too much thought into any given decision. With how popular UNO is it has lead to quite a few spinoff games in the past. As a fan of UNO I have been trying to check out all of the UNO spinoff games to figure out which ones improve or change UNO enough to be worth playing and which ones were better left never being made. One of the newer UNO spinoff games is the game I am looking at today UNO Royal Revenge. If I wasn’t a fan of UNO and didn’t want to try out all of the spinoff games at some point I probably wouldn’t have given the game a second look. I didn’t have high expectations as it looked like a game mostly made for younger children. As I found the game for only $1 at a thrift store though I decided to give it a chance. UNO Royal Revenge adds some twists to the traditional gameplay which will likely make it appeal to younger children, but it will probably be boring for pretty much everyone else.
How to Play UNO Royal Revenge
- Insert batteries into the scepter and turn the switch to the on position.
- Each player draws a card. The player who draws the highest number will be the dealer for the first round.
- The dealer will shuffle the cards and deal seven cards to each player. Turn the top card from the remaining cards face up to start the discard pile. If this card is one of the special cards it will be applied like normal. The rest of the cards are placed face down to form the draw pile.
- The youngest player will be the first king. They will choose one player to be the jester. Both players put on the corresponding hats.
- The king waves the scepter at the jester until a noise is played which starts the game.
Playing the Game
On a player’s turn they will try to play a card from their hand onto the discard pile. To play a card it has to match either the color, number or symbol of the top card on the discard pile.
If a player does not have a card that matches the top card of the discard pile or you choose not to play one of your cards, you will draw the top card from the draw pile. If you can play the card you just drew you can play it immediately. Otherwise you add the card to your hand.
After a player has played or drawn a card play will pass to the next player clockwise (unless a reverse has changed the direction).
When the scepter plays a sound the game temporarily pauses. The player that is currently the king will pass the crown and the scepter to the player to their left. This player has become the king. The king can either choose a new jester or keep the current jester. The king will wave the scepter until the sound is played and the game resumes with the new king taking the next turn.
When a player has only one card left in their hand they must say “UNO”. If they don’t say UNO before another player catches them with only one card, the player has to draw two cards.
Reverse – When a player plays a Reverse card the direction of play reverses. If play was moving clockwise it will instead move counterclockwise and vice versa.
Skip – When a Skip card is played the next player in turn order will lose their turn.
Wild – A Wild card can be played at any time as it matches all of the cards. When a Wild card is played the player who is currently the king will get to decide the current color. Play will then proceed to the next player.
King’s Choice – When a King’s Choice card is played the king player will get to choose which player will draw one card from the draw pile. This card can either match another +1 card (including a Jester card) or a card that matches its color. The next player in regular turn order will take the next turn.
Jester – When a Jester card is played the jester player will have to draw one card from the draw pile. The Jester card can either match another +1 card (including a King’s Choice card) or a card that matches its color. The next player in regular turn order will take the next turn.
End of Round
The game ends when one player plays their last card. Each player will then count up the points from the cards left in their hand. Cards will score points as follows:
- Number Cards – Face Value
- Reverse, Skip, King’s Choice, Jester – 20 points
- Wild – 50 points
All of the points are added to the winner’s total. If the winner’s current total is not 500 or more points, another round is played.
End of Game
UNO Royal Revenge ends when one of the players has scored 500 points. This player has won the game.
Players can also choose to use the alternative scoring rules. Instead of giving all of your points to the winner of a round, each player scores the points for the cards left in their hand at the end of the round. When one player has scored 500 points the game ends. The player who has scored the least points wins.
My Thoughts on UNO Royal Revenge
As basically everyone is familiar with UNO or another similar game I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about what UNO Royal Revenge shares in common with the original game. UNO is one of those games that people normally have a love or hate relationship with. A lot of people hate the game because it relies on a lot of luck and has very little strategy as the few meaningful decisions you make in the game are usually pretty obvious. While I wish UNO had a little more depth to it, I also appreciate the game’s simplicity. It is a game that you can teach in minutes and you don’t have to put too much thought into any given turn. Thus UNO plays quickly and works pretty well for when you just want to play a game that you don’t have to put too much thought into. As UNO Royal Revenge shares a majority of its gameplay with the original game your opinion of UNO Royal Revenge is going to highly depend on your opinion of UNO in general.
So lets move onto what UNO Royal Revenge adds to the original game. Basically the only mechanic that the game adds to the original game is the idea of the king and the jester. This involves adding in the two corresponding hats and the scepter which also adds in a speed mechanic. The king and jester mechanics only really come into play with three of the cards. First the king gets to choose what color every wild card will represent during their reign as king. This can potentially be pretty powerful as you can change the color to one that is beneficial to you. The King’s Choice also allows the king to choose who will draw the card so they can force the player with the least cards to draw another card. Finally the Jester card forces the jester player to draw a card. Basically the king player is slightly more powerful than the other players while the jester is slightly less powerful.
In theory this new mechanic should have added a little more strategy to the game but in reality it doesn’t. The king player is able to make some additional decisions that they could use to improve their odds of winning the game. Unfortunately these decisions are usually pretty obvious. For example the king is likely to always make the player with the least cards in their hand the jester as that increases the odds that they will have to draw more cards. The king will also direct any King’s Choice cards to the player with the least cards. With the wild cards you can either bluff or actually pick a color you need. None of these decisions feel all that important as they either have no impact on the game or they are so obvious.
Ultimately the king and jester mechanics just seem to add more randomness to the game. The original UNO relies on a lot of luck, but it feels like UNO Royal Revenge relies on even more luck. Your decisions may have a small impact on the outcome of the game, but card draw luck is more likely to have an impact on whether you win or lose. While the role of king will pass between the players it adds some luck to the game as the player who holds the role at a key point in the game has a pretty big advantage in the game. If the other players play no cards that utilize the king during your turn you have completely wasted your time as king. Other players may then control the king role when a lot of the corresponding cards are played.
Other than adding the king and jester roles, UNO Royal Revenge adds a speed mechanic of sorts. Each player’s turn as king is on a timer. Each player will get to be king for one minute before they pass the role to the player on their left. I generally like speed mechanics, but I don’t think this really adds much to the game. First UNO doesn’t really need a speed mechanic as unless players are wasting time they should already be playing their cards pretty quickly. This speed mechanic potentially adds an incentive for a player to play their cards slower than usual. You don’t want to waste too much time that the sound plays and the king role passes to the next player as you will lose your turn. If you are not the king though and the role just switched there is no reason to hurry up your turn. You might as well waste some extra time so the other player gets to spend less time as the king. No one is going to take the game serious enough that this should become a big problem, but ultra-competitive players will try to waste as much time as possible as it gives them a competitive advantage.
The components for the most part are what you would expect from an UNO game. The cards are of a similar quality and share the same artwork for the most part. I was a little surprised that the game has considerably less cards than the original game though. Normal UNO has 108 cards while UNO Royal Revenge only has 56 cards. I could see this being a problem in some games as you may have to reshuffle the cards more often. This isn’t as big of issue as you would expect though as hands seem to play quicker so you don’t go through as many cards. The king and jester hats are not terrible but they are not anything special either as they are just made out of foam. The wand is fine as it works pretty well.
If it wasn’t already clear UNO Royal Revenge is worse than normal UNO in my opinion. It doesn’t differentiate itself much from the original game and the few mechanics it adds make the game worse. The king and joker mechanics seem to add even more luck to the game where the game feels completely random. This leads to the game being pretty boring and silly for adults and older children. I could see younger children enjoying the game though. Younger children won’t mind the randomness as much and they may enjoy the silliness and the cheesy hats that you have to wear.
Should You Buy UNO Royal Revenge?
For the most part UNO Royal Revenge shares a lot in common with the original UNO. The gameplay is basically the same except for the addition of the king and jester mechanics. The king and jester roles are basically used for a couple of the cards. The player that is the king gets to make some decisions when certain cards are played while the jester is more likely to be forced to draw cards. Basically the king has a slight advantage while the joker has a slight disadvantage. The roles will rotate every minute or so allowing everyone to take advantage of them. While the roles add a few more decisions to the game they seem to mostly just add more luck. The speed mechanic added with the scepter also feels like a waste as it actually gives players a reason to waste time instead of playing cards as quickly as possible. The component quality is nothing special either.
My recommendation for UNO Royal Revenge comes down to two factors. If you have never been a fan of UNO I don’t see UNO Royal Revenge changing your mind. I also wouldn’t really recommend the game unless you have young children as the game is worse than the original UNO as it is pretty random and silly. If you have young children and like UNO though it may be worth checking out UNO Royal Revenge.