Ascending Rules UNO (ARUNO) is a friendly card game, wherein the players add new rules with each new hand. How much can you and your friends alter the game of UNO while keeping the game fun and playable?
Rules of Ascending Rules UNO
ARUNO starts with the basic rules that come with UNO, and adds the five rules below. In addition, there are a few UNO rules clarified below that are often misunderstood or confusing.
- Five-Second Rule: Initiate actions within five seconds or take a card. Players have only five seconds to initiate an action. Actions can be playing a card, drawing a card, declaring a pass, choosing a color. ARUNO-specific actions may be choosing a card from a players hand or trading hands. If passing, declare it. ARUNO is no fun if players take minutes each turn considering their options. If a player is unquestionably taking longer than five seconds, another person may hand the top card of the deck to the slow player. The slow player must accept the penalty card and continue with their turn.
- Infinite-Finite Draw: Draw until able to play until first reshuffle, then only draw one card and pass. The standard UNO rules differ in how many cards to draw when the player has no playable cards. In the original rules, players kept drawing until they could play. Subsequently, UNO rules were written as "draw one card and if you can play it, great". ARUNO combines the best of both of these rules. Whenever starting a new hand, use the Infinite Draw rule-- drawing cards until able to play. After reshuffling the deck during a hand, switch to Finite Draw for the remainder of the hand-- draw only one card, and if legal, may optionally play it.
- Dealer's Choice: The dealer deals. The dealer chooses how to deal. (We got tired of looking up how many cards the dealer was supposed to deal. Besides, it was more fun to let the dealer choose how to deal for each new hand.)
- Face Up, Face Down: The dealer may turn cards face up when shuffling. Face up cards remain visible to all players even when in a player's hand. The dealer chooses any number of cards, in any manner, to place face up in the deck during each shuffle. Any face up cards a player gets must stay revealed on the playing surface before them. These face up cards are still part of their hand, and can be played normally; they are termed "face up", "visible" or "revealed". The normal, non-revealed cards are called "hidden".
- Add a Rule: The dealer adds a rule before play begins. The Dealer role passes to the left. The dealer adds a rule before play begins at the beginning of each hand. The rule must pertain to the game, and must not require unrelated mental or physical tricks, i.e. speaking in rhyme or doing pushups. Rules must not entirely remove previous rules, but they may overlap or amend previous rules. A disliked rule may be removed at any time by unanimous agreement, including the person who made the rule. A specific person may be voted out of the game by unanimous agreement of everyone less one person. The role of Dealer passes to the left of the previous dealer with each new hand.
On Playing Wild Draw Fours: Forbidden only when holding a card that matches the current color.
As found in the standard rules of UNO, the only time it is forbidden to play a Wild Draw Four is if the player has a card matching the current color. Someone may play a Wild Draw Four even when they are otherwise able to play, and may even call the same color after playing. For example, if the current color is Yellow, then if I have no Yellow cards, I may play my Wild Draw Four and call Yellow as the new color.
On Calling Uno: Call only while playing second-to-last card. Catch anytime before the next action is taken for a penalty of two cards.
People often get confused as to when they are supposed to say "UNO", and when they can catch others. In ARUNO, one may be able to get rid of cards in a variety of ways, and even win without playing all of their cards.
For the sake of clarity, players should say "UNO" as they play their second-to-last card, before they release the card being played. If they fail to say it then, they can be caught by another player before the next action is taken (draw, play, pass for example) and made to draw two cards as a penalty. If the player catches themselves first, and says "UNO" before being caught, they are spared from the penalty. To catch someone else,
Beginning Play: The dealer begins play by turning over the top card of the deck. Do not return "face cards" to the deck. Consider this card to have been played by the dealer.
When playing ARUNO, you may have number cards that have strong effects or require decisions. Instead of changing which cards can't be starters from hand to hand, allow any card to begin a hand. In every respect, consider the dealer to have played the starter card from their hand. For example, a Reverse passes the play to the dealer's right, and the dealer chooses the starting color if a Wild is revealed. Play starts only when the top card of the deck is turned over by the dealer.
Clarifying Rules: Clarify rules questions by consensus, or according the author's intent.
When questions come up about how rules interact, hopefully all players can come to an agreement about how to apply the original intent of the rules. If consensus can not be reached, then the authors of the relevant rules must decide how they should apply in this case, with precedence given to the rule most recently added.
Precedence of Rules: Determine precedence by "specificity" and then by reverse "order".
Rules or rulings and agreements regarding the specific instance take precedence. Rules that are more specifically related or refer to fewer people generally take place before more general rules. With contradictory rules, the more recent or more specific rule generally wins. Any questions should be resolved by general agreement, taking into account original intent and game balance.
The Winner: The first player with no cards after the current action completes.
The winner is the first person to have no cards at the end of an action. If several people go out at once, break ties beginning with the current player, then in direction of play.
Hints for Your First Games
For your first several games, we have a few recommendations to keep the game playable and fun, until you get the hang of it. Avoid rules at first that are overly complex or change the game a lot. Definitely avoid rules that generally increase the number of cards drawn during a hand. These kinds of rules can make individual hands take far too long to play, unless balanced by other rules. Take the hint if people boo at your proposed rule. Although you are not required to get approval for your new rule, it helps to keep it enjoyable at first.
Help each other keep track of the rules. Be courteous both when enforcing the five-second rule as well as when being enforced. Remember that after a reshuffle, drawing switches to finite draw for the remainder of the hand. This definitely helps end a hand after a painful rule gets added.
After playing a few games, try more complex rules. If someone makes a bad rule, bite your lip and fix it with another rule. Try to build a themed version of ARUNO with the cooperation of your fellow players. One of our most memorable games came from trying to fix a particularily nasty rule that made it illegal to play a Yellow card on another Yellow card.