Uno Variation: Uno Mao


Requirements: 1 or more Uno decks (any variety)

Players: 2+

Time: ~5-25 min/round

Rating: 9/10


The game plays just like standard Uno with three additional starting rules and many more rules that will be created throughout the game. A violation of any of these rules during the game results in a penalty where that person must draw a card. The initial three rules are:

  1. If a player has the exact same card as the card on top of the discard pile, he may immediately play it out of turn and play then continues as if he had played it as his turn.
  2. Whenever a player plays a green card, she must say what the card is (i.e. "Green Five").
  3. There is no talking while the game is in progress. You may, however, still call penalties on other players and if discussion is needed, the game can be paused by calling a "Point of Order." You may also talk in compliance with any other rules (such as rule 2, saying "Uno," or choosing the color of play with a Wild card). During a "Point of Order," all players put down their hands and may discuss freely until the game is resumed when one player says "traditional Mao starts now." Note that if a player touches his cards during a "Point of Order," another player may call a penalty on him.

After a player wins a round by discarding her last card, she then will create a new rule that will apply in all future rounds. However, only she will initially know what the rule is. Until all players figure out the rule, that player will be solely in charge of enforcing her rule. She must comply with her rule at all times and must also consistently call penalties on others who break the rule. If she does not do either of these things, another player (who has figured out the rule) may call a penalty on her for not enforcing her rule.

There are few guidelines on rules that a player can create. Players are allowed to contradict or modify any of the initial rules (i.e. they can create a rule that penalizes a player for calling a penalty for talking, which has the effect of eliminating the no talking rule). However, they cannot create rules that contradict another player's rules. Also, rules must be generally applicable and cannot target specific individuals. Some examples of good rules are: "Wilds must be played on the bottom of the pile (and thus have no effect)," "When a player plays a Red 6, she must slap the table," or "Skip cards skip two players instead of one." The sky is the limit when it comes to new rules. Experiment to figure out what types of rules work best for you!


Each game of Uno Mao is unique and engaging. It is really fun to create new rules and it can also be fun to try to figure out the other players' rules. This variation will be particularly rewarding for more experienced players who are looking for a challenge.


There are two disadvantages to this variation. First, a bad rule can make the game really frustrating. This can be avoided if all players try to create rules that are clear and can be easily enforced (and eventually figured out). Second, rounds can take a long time to complete. As the game goes on and the rules multiply, the game gets more challenging, the penalties are more frequent, and consequently the rounds can drag on later in the game.


Because Uno Mao is different every time you play it, it has great replay value. It will challenge and entertain players and is very enjoyable as long as the players create good rules. Give it a try!

Additional Notes