Uno Braille is a recent addition to Mattel’s Uno line-up, and will give blind and low vision players a chance to also enjoy Uno. Created in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, this version of Uno has easy-to-read Braille dots/bumps, on each and every card. Prior to this, Mattel had also released Uno ColorAdd in 2017, which enables the color blind to play Uno. Now, vision impaired people all around the world can also enjoy this iconic card game!
The game objective is the same as every Uno edition out there – Become the first player to get rid of all your cards and accumulate 500 points (or a number that every player agrees on). Points are scored from the remaining cards being held by the opponents at the end of each round.
There are 112 cards in Uno Braille, which includes the 4 colored cards with numbers (red/blue/green/yellow), the Action/Symbol cards, and 4 Quick Play Reference Cards. The Quick Play Reference Cards merely have 4 basic rules in Uno in both plain text and Braille code for handy reference but they are not used during actual play.
In Uno Braille, the cards are labeled in Braille according to their first letters:
- Red = r
- Blue = b
- Yellow = y
- Green = g
- Draw 2 = r+2/b+2/y+2/g+2
- Skip = rsk/bsk/ysk/gsk
- Reverse = rrv/brv/yrv/grv
- Wild card = wi
- Wild Draw 4 card = wi+4
Action cards are those cards that perform a special function in the game. They have symbols instead of a number and are what makes the game fun.
- Skip card – When this card is played, the next player must miss their turn until their turn comes around again. This card can be played with another Skip, or card of the same color on the Discard pile. When turned up at the beginning of the game, the first player who is supposed to begin must skip their turn.
- Reverse card – When this card is played, the game direction changes. Clockwise to counter-clockwise and vice versa. A reverse can only be played with another Reverse or a card of the same color on the Discard pile. If turned up as the first card of the Discard pile at the start of the game, then the first player becomes the dealer, and the next player would be the player to the dealer’s right (typically the first player is the player to the dealer’s left).
- Draw Two card – This card forces the next player to draw two cards from the Draw pile as well as miss their turn. It can only be played on a Draw Two or any card of a similar color on the Discard pile. If turned up at the start of the game, the first player must draw two cards and miss their turn.
- Wild card – This card can be played in place of any card and can represent any color that you wish. When you put down this card, you can announce the color you want this Wild card to be, and it will assume that color. If turned up as the first card of the Discard pile at the beginning of play, the first player can nominate the color that he/she wants.
- Wild Draw Four card – This card is like a Wild card which can change the color of the cards in play, but it also forces the next player to draw 4 cards and lose their turn. There is a caveat to playing it though. You should only play this card if you do not have the color of the card on the Discard pile in your hand. If you do have a card of the same color but play this Wild Draw 4 anyway, the next player can always challenge you to show your hand if they suspect you are playing it illegally. If guilty, you must draw 4 cards instead of them. But if you are proven innocent, then the challenger needs to draw 6 cards instead!
Special Note for Uno Braille: Since this is Uno Braille, any card that is being put down on the Discard pile should to be called out aloud. E.g. When putting down a yellow 5 card, you should say something like, “Playing a Yellow 5". Or if you are drawing a card, then you should announce, “Drawing a card". In other words, Uno Braille has to constantly be a vocal game!
If there are normal vision people among the players, they should help inform the blind players what sort of card is on the top of the Discard pile. At any point in the game, blind players can call for a “Card Check", and everyone must tell how many cards they have in their hand. Blind players can also feel the topmost card on the Discard pile to verify it at any time they want.
Pick a dealer by having every player drawing a card, and the one with the highest numbered card is appointed as the dealer (Action cards are counted as zero). After shuffling the deck, the dealer deals out 7 cards to each player. The remaining cards are placed face down to form a Draw pile. Then the first card is turned over and placed down in the center of players and this becomes the Discard pile.
The first player to start is usually the one to the left of the dealer and play moves in a clockwise direction, unless changed by a Reverse card. He/she must match the card on the Discard pile with a card of the same color, number, or symbol. If there is no suitable matching card, a Wild card can be played in place of it, and the one playing it can change/choose any color that he/she wants.
If there is really no suitable card in hand, then the player needs to draw a card from the Draw pile. If this card is a suitable match, then you can play it. Or else, you can also choose not to play it, and then play moves on to the next player in turn. Thus, play moves on in this manner until someone discards all their cards for the round.
Winning the Game
You win the game (or that round) by being the first person to discard all your cards. But remember the golden rule of Uno – Announce “Uno!" out loud when you are down to a single card. If you fail to do that, someone can call you out before the next player after you plays their card – And you must then draw an extra 2 cards, as penalty. If the last card played is an Action card, the next player still needs to carry out what that Action card instructed.
Once the game/round is over, points are tallied up by adding up the points from the cards in all the opponent’s hands as follows:
- Numbered cards (0-9) – Face Value
- Draw 2/Reverse/Skip – 20 points
- Wild/Wild Draw 4 – 50 points
Typically, to win the game, one will need to amass 500 points. But this is not a hard and fast rule and you can decide how many points are needed to win, as long as everyone agrees with it. Occasionally, a round may go on and on until all the cards in the Draw pile are depleted. When this happens, take the Discard pile, shuffle it, and turn it over to start another Draw pile.
An alternative way to play Uno which is suggested by Mattel is to keep a running tally of the points that everyone has at the end of each round, and when somebody reaches 500 points or more, the player with the least points becomes the winner instead.