Uno Spin Game Review
I bought this at a Target store on markdown after Christmas mostly because another Uno apparatus game, Uno Attack!, has proven to be a surprisingly popular game in my collection.
Board: A circular tray for holding the draw and discard decks sits within a spinning “wheel of fortune” that works quite well. I have not taken the board apart to examine the bearing mechanism, but each spin of the wheel provides a satisfying wobble-free “click click click click click….. click…….. click” until it finally stops on one of nine different icons. Each icon indicates a different player action, and are well designed: only the drunkest or most confused player will need to refer to the rules to remember what each icon means. No batteries are required. The board is entirely plastic and appears to be well engineered, but I wonder how long the flexible plastic ribbon that slows the wheel will hold up over repeated play.
Cards: 108 cards of the standard Uno variety. The four colors include both red and green, making this game potentially unfriendly for colorblind players. The usual assortment of skip, reverse, wild, and draw cards are included along with the basic number cards. The twist is that about ¼ of the number cards are printed with a special background that designates them as “spin” cards. Four reference cards are included to remind players of the board effects. The cards are easy to shuffle and appear to be of decent quality.
Box: The box is one of those side-flap-opening affairs. There is an insert to keep the components in order, but it made of very flimsy plastic. Still, it is not over packaged and everything goes back in.
For each round, each player (2-10) begins with a hand of 7 cards and attempts to go out first, scoring the value of opponents’ unplayed cards when they do so. Standard Uno rules apply, and veteran Uno players will not have to learn any new cards. Instead, the differences between this game and standard Uno are achieved via the spinning wheel of fortune.
When a player plays a “spin” card (#1-5 with a special pattern background) the following player forgoes his normal turn and instead spins the wheel. One of nine possible outcomes will result, some of which affect only the spinning player while others affect the whole table. The possible results are:
1. The player may discard all but two cards from their hand.
2. The player may discard all cards of one color from their hand.
3. The player may discard all cards of one number value from their hand.
4. The player must draw cards until they pull a red (or wild) card.
5. The player must draw cards until they pull a blue (or wild) card.
6. All players pass their entire hand to the left.
7. The player must show his entire hand to the table.
8. All players conduct a war by revealing their highest value number card. The winner discards that card and play continues from the winner’s position.
9. All players must say “Uno Spin!” The first to do so discards a card of his choice and play continues from that position.
This last result is wacky and will require some house rules to adjudicate the winner if two or more players speak simultaneously. We use the tried-and-true middle school “Jinx…you owe me a coke” method…keep repeating “Uno Spin!” as quickly as possible until somebody slows down, gets tongue twisted, or runs out of air. Asthmatics might prefer rock/paper/scissors as a tie breaker.
Uno games have a place in my game collection because, despite their stupidity, they actually get played every so often. Whether it’s because kids are present, I have a large group, I am partying pretty hard, or am with people who are intimidated by more substantial games, Uno games sometimes fit a specific situation quite well. If you would rather visit the dentist than play regular Uno, don’t get this game. It adds nothing to make the game more strategic or balanced.
However, Uno has a certain campy quality that I appreciate, and the addition of the spinning wheel apparatus to the standard game accentuates that quality. Both this game and Uno Attack! create something approaching a Rube Goldberg-ish game concept where elaborate goofy mechanisms eventually result in a silly conclusion. Personally, I prefer this kind of game in a party atmosphere to Pictionary or Apples to Apples. YMMV.
Although Uno Spin scratches the same itch that Uno Attack! does, it has some minor advantages. The apparatus functions well without the time consuming work that the Uno Attack! machine requires…open the box and you are playing within 60 seconds. The wheel does the work that special cards do in Uno Attack!, so the specialized game rules are more intuitive. Finally, the game seems to move faster than other Uno games. The proportion of “spins” to regular moves seems to be pretty well tuned, and the effects tend to force quicker conclusions to individual rounds. Still, it lacks that certain je ne sais quoi that only a card spitting machine can provide.
Recommended for people who like wackiness in their games.