Flying cards’ thrown at players…a concept that sticks out from the rest of games out there doesn’t it? I initially thought of the card launcher as a card dealer for Poker or something. I’m always a sucker for technology and devices in board games, so this already was on my good side. I never played UNO as a kid, I got into this world through the UNO Attack card game, I know, I’ve behind on these for a while now.
Originally created in 1971 by Merle Robbins, UNO has been a brand of Mattel since 1992. UNO has been a game enjoyed by many for decades now, and it’s really inventive of the different versions they’ve created over the years to keep the game alive. You have quite a few to choose from now, UNO Dominoes, UNO Colors Rule, UNO Bingo, UNO Choo-Choo, UNO Spin, UNO Dice!, UNO Disney, UNO Flash, UNO Blitzo, UNO Flip, UNO Hearts, UNO Blast, and loads more, it’s crazy! You can see a more detailed list here. But for this review, we will be taking a look at one version that literally gets in your face, Attack.
The box is really bold and colourful matching the branding and it really highlights the main launcher component of this particular version. Shiny cool things like this attracts people, and it was attracting me. It looks sleek and simple enough, though you probably won’t keep the box once opened so maybe a compartment for the instructions in the launcher would be nice, or have the instructions written on cards’.
UNO has its place in board game history, maybe you’ve never tried it yourself, is this a good place to start?
What Do You Get?
- 18 Blue cards’ – 1 to 9
- 18 Green cards’ – 1 to 9
- 18 Red cards’ – 1 to 9
- 18 Yellow cards’ – 1 to 9
- 8 Hit 2 cards’ – 2 each in blue, green, red and yellow
- 8 Reverse cards’ – 2 each in blue, green, red and yellow
- 8 Skip cards’ – 2 each in blue, green, red and yellow
- 4 Discard All cards’ – 1 each in blue, green, red and yellow
- 4 Trade Hands cards’ – 1 each in blue, green, red and yellow
- 4 Wild cards’
- 2 Wild All-Hit cards’
- 2 Wild Hit-Fire cards’
- Card Launcher Top
- Card Launcher Bottom
How Do You Set It Up?
- Remove Bottom and Top Halves of Launcher from package.
- Connect Launcher Halves by pushing the Red UNO Top into the Purple Base at an angle until it “clicks” into place.
- Push back of Red UNO Top down to close.
How Do You Play?
Be the first player to score 500 points. The first player to get rid of all the cards’ in their hand scores points for the cards’ left in their opponents’ hands.
How to play:
- Each player is dealt 7 cards’. Place one card from the deck on top of the Launcher to begin a Discard pile. Open the launcher, insert the remaining cards’ facedown inside, then close. During play, rotate the Launcher so it always faces the player whose turn it is.
- The first player has to match the card in the Discard pile either by number, colour or word. For example, if the card is red seven, you must throw down a red card or any colour 7 in to the Discard pile. Or you can throw down a Special Card if appropriate.
- If you don’t have anything that matches, you must hit the Launcher button. If nothing happens, play moves to the next person.
- If cards’ shoot out, you must add these cards’ to your hand. Then play passes to the left (until a Reverse Card is played). If any cards’ are left sticking out of the Launcher after activation, the player who activated it must take these cards’ and add them to their hand.
- When you have one card, you must yell UNO (meaning one) before playing your next to last card. Failure to do this results in your having to hit the Launcher button twice.
- Once a player is out of cards’, the hand is over. Points are totaled, and you start over again.
Reverse – Reverse direction of play. Play left becomes play right, and vice versa.
Skip – The next player to play loses their turn and are “skipped”.
Wild Card – This card can be played on any card. The person playing the card calls any colour to continue play, including the one presently being played if desired. A Wild card can be played even if the player has another playable card in their hand.
Hit 2 – When this card is played, the next player must hit the Launcher button twice. Their turn is then over, play continues with the next player.
Trade Hands – When this card is played, the player discarding the Trade Hands card must trade their hand with another player of their choosing.
Discard All – Play this card when you want to discard all of the cards’ in your hand of the same colour. For example, if a yellow “7” is in the Discard pile, you may discard all of the yellow cards’ in your hand, with a yellow Discard All card placed on top.
Wild All Hit – When this card is played, the player calls a colour, then each player (beginning with the person to the discard player’s left) must press the Launcher button once. If the Launcher doesn’t shoot out any cards’, play continues with the player to the left. Any cards’ that shoot out must be added to the player’s hand(s) who activated the Launcher. More than one player may activate the launcher. The player who played the Wild All Hit card does not press the Launcher button.
Wild Hit-Fire – When this card is played the player calls a colour, then the next player in the direction of play must press the Launcher button until the Launcher shoots out cards’. The activating player adds the Launcher cards’ to their hand and forfeits their turn, then play continues as normal with the next player.
When you have one card left, you must yell UNO (meaning one) before playing your next to last card. Failure to do this results in your having to hit the Launcher button twice. That is, of course, if you get caught by the other players.
If you forget to say UNO before your card touches the Discard pile, but you “catch” yourself before another player catches you, you are safe and not subject to penalty.
You may not catch a player for failure to say UNO until their second-to-last card touches the Discard pile. Also, you many not catch a player for failure to say UNO after the next player begins their turn. “Beginning a turn” is defined as either playing a card or hitting the Launcher button.
If a player goes out by discarding a Wild All Hit card or Wild Hit-Fire card, all players must follow the normal rules for these cards’. A player may not go out on a Trade hands card.
Once the Discard pile reaches the same level as the top of the plastic “stopper” that holds the pile in place, reshuffle the Discard pile, reload the Launcher and continue play.
When you are out of cards’, you get points for cards’ left on opponents’ hands as follows:
All cards’ through 9: Face Value
Reverse: 20 Points
Skip: 20 Points
Hit 2: 20 Points
Discard All: 30 Points
Trade Hands: 30 Points
Wild: 50 Points
Wild All Hit: 50 Points
Wild Hit-Fire: 50 Points
The winner is the first player to reach 500 points. However, the game may be scored by keeping a running total of the points each player is caught with at the end of each hand. When one player reaches 500 points, the player with the lowest points is the winner.
Pros Of The Game
- Easy to learn and has potential to grow in skill
- Good fun for families and groups
- Healthy balance of luck, unpredictability and strategy
- Increased tension in gameplay with the Launcher
- Great entertainment with others, potential to play plenty of times
Cons Of The Game
- No batteries included, could state this better on packaging
- Some have had issues with the Launcher malfunctioning
- Not as enjoyable for more competitive players with the amount of luck involved
- Games may get exceedingly long, a game ends when a player is out of cards’ but the Launcher can keep throwing them at you
Should You Get UNO Attack?
For ages 6 and up. Many adults who played UNO as kids are now passing it to their kids and can do so in style with the Launcher that literally chucks UNO at you as it fires cards’. Kids today love it too, so this is a card game that certainly stands the test of time.
Small nit-pic, it would be nice for the game to come with batteries for the launcher, but that’s just me being lazy and avoiding going to the store. However, it should be noted more clearly that it needs batteries on the packaging. A USB or plugin Launcher could be effective too. Also, batteries can be expensive for what the device requires so maybe chucking some in with the box wouldn’t hurt.
Like the original UNO the rules are easy to learn, and you can get into the game quick. You just push the button if you don’t have the right card.
There’s been older and newer renditions of UNO Attack. An issue with the older game is if it fires cards’ too much you’re going in a vicious cycle and you can be there for ages, some have said they’ve played the same game for hours! Not the best way to keep people engaged. The odd user has even said their launcher was giving off a burning smell! The newer game has been said to be better, getting rid of the more bothersome cards’ and tweaking the Launcher, so the flow of play is better. The new Launcher also makes a number of sounds to enjoy as you play.
On the flip side, some have said they prefer the older Launcher as with the newer one people have had some trouble removing the parts or getting the cards’ in. Plus they preferred being able to place the cards’ on top of the Launcher which holds the deck. If you can get the better of both worlds that’d be great.
The blending of the original game whilst introducing the Launcher works very well, it doesn’t feel disjointed at all. This is a great way to modernize the game and keep it fresh, raising the level of fun. I like how much is riding you just saying the word UNO, it’s something little comparatively to the rest of the game yet means a lot, particularly on whether the other players are paying attention to you saying it or not.
The cards’ are made well enough, fair quality with basic designs. Nice variety has been added with the newer version with the Special cards’ mixing the game up. They might be prone to wear and tear more easily, which isn’t much of an issue if it was a regular card game, but considering for this game cards’ are being flung around everywhere, they could be made a little thicker and tougher.
Kids of course would have a hoot with this, many parents have said their children laugh each time the Launcher fires, very family friendly and they can bond over the chaos. Maybe one family member should be assigned to collect any cards’ that scatter on the floor!
There is a good combination of elements here, you have luck on whether the Launcher is going to throw cards’ at you, strategy on which of your opponents to focus on and trip up, and skill where you can improve how you play and know just what to do at the right time and progress more flawlessly. This evens out the playing field for everyone, even between adults and kids, anyone can take advantage and gain success. You stay gripped to the game to the very end since no one knows throughout who will win. That is revealed whilst counting all of the points from everyone’s cards’ and adds to the pressure.
The skill level is easy to work on and develop, and it doesn’t have a huge amount of tactic-provoking play, just enough to feel you earned a pat on the back when you win, the sabotage of other players feels the most gratifying. The tension is increased much more with the Launcher, not knowing whether it will fire at you or not.
The functionality of the Launcher has been in question. The majority work well and seem to last a long time without breaking down, being efficient at rotating on its bottom surface, firing and holds the cards’ in place properly to be launched, no issues there. Whilst others have problems with their Launchers even right out of the box, such as it making buzzing noises, unable to fire cards’, or breaks within a few weeks of purchase. Hopefully these issues are being looked at and resolved, this is the central part of this game and needs the most attention and assurance of quality. If maybe the Launcher is just tweaked to work a bit better, I’d say you’ve got an even bigger hit everyone can get behind.
When fully functional and at its best it becomes a nice lighthearted piece of enjoyment all can get into. You can get somewhat immersed in the game, but it’s really just about having a laugh whilst having a good time with loved ones. If this is thought of as anymore or you get into the competitiveness too much, you might bash the Launcher with a hammer.
Despite the gameplay time being altered for the newer version, the play time is still unpredictable, and can range from short to longer periods since the whole premise of the game ending when you run out of cards’ can be ongoing by the luck factor of the machine just chucking more at you. This is especially the case if you got some really savvy players who know their UNO and keep things going. It can be very worrying if you turned this into a drinking game, longer games with no end in sight can leave you out cold.
Replay ability is a mixed bag, if you are ok with sometimes getting different lengths of play whilst still having fun with this, you can certainly have it for game night. Otherwise, something with a time frame more fixed might attract you more. Generally though if you’re into these kind of games, you’ll naturally want to play multiple times. Gosh, some kids might just be satisfied pushing the button continuously without playing!
For some, you can consider yourself very lucky if you don’t get any cards’ after pushing the button, the Launcher can be quite merciless, whether this adds enjoyment or adds frustration depends. Some people might not enjoy the luck side of things and can get frustrated, wanting to take control of things more, if you’re overly competitive you might not enjoy this as much.
This version is a favourite for many, though in the wide spectrum of UNO games there are bound to be discussions on which is the best. The majority of people who’ve played UNO Attack enjoy the game, with an understandable chunk of those who disagree mainly because of the functionality of the Launcher. It is the source of the game and should work at its best in order to get the most value from it. There have been varying thoughts on the cards’, though with the different kinds being greater than ever, the level of play has been expanded for sure compared to the first original UNO. It’s really commendable to see how far the franchise has come and kept up to date, not losing its relevancy in the board game world or in people’s minds.
Plenty of people have played this over and over again, being a staple of their households. The excitement and unpredictability leaves them smiling and having a good time all round, and this is a shoe in for larger groups and social settings, which is why making it for two to ten players perfect for everyone to get a piece of the fun.
I say this UNO Attack card game is a social or party gatherings board game dream, a game you can thoroughly get your fix of good times with others. There is enough varying gameplay to keep you hooked, keeping you on your toes both in luck and skill. You have enough flexibility to strategize as you play, keeping your finger on the pulse of how others hands look and the kind of cards’ they’ve been getting, whilst having a nice experience you can smile about with the addition of the Launcher.
For those into more in-depth games that you want to be fully engrossed by and have more control of, this won’t be your first choice. There’s competition in this but in a more carefree way, you won’t be titled “Ruler of the Mountain” winning a game like this. The issues with the Launcher with some users brings up the concern with having devices in board games sometimes. If it breaks the game is done, whereas a Snakes and Ladders game will never falter (unless you lose pieces).
Fixing some repeatedly mentioned flaws with the Launcher and perhaps stating better on the box the requirement to get batteries can improve the reception greatly of this. If you’re interested and are ok with dealing with the different time frames of play, you’ll find this game worth it no problem. It has captivating elements and an ongoing level of play that keeps tension on how many cards’ you’ll get when the Launcher fires as well as who wins with the most points counted at the end. This whilst having a positive experience that leaves you and your family or group satisfied. I’d have to be crazy to review all of these UNO games, right?
Thank you for reading! How do you find UNO Attack? Do you have a great time playing it with others? Have you had trouble with the card launcher? Are you playing the older or newer version? Is it the kind of gameplay you enjoy? Any thoughts or comments, please let know!