Here’s how I play Uno in the pandemic

Each night, when the tasks are done and I’ve had enough of my day-to-day doom-scrolling, I lie belly-first on my soft comforter, get my PlayStation 4 controller, and boot up a video game of Uno.

Settling in for a couple of rounds of the traditional card video game turned computer game by myself has actually ended up being a cherished part of my nighttime regimen. It assists me unwind and offers me an opportunity to unwind. I’ll switch on some relaxing lighting, placed on some bubble bath music like Ariana Grande, and let the warm red radiance of the video game fill my space.

Because the start of the pandemic, I’ve started playing Uno, solo. When I state by myself, I don’t simply imply alone in my space. I just ever play with computer systems, and don’t challenge anybody online. Because I am the sole broker of each video game, I get to choose my own guidelines. I adhere to a beautiful basic ruleset with the only unique guideline being the “stacking rule.” If somebody utilizes a +2 card, and I occur to have one, I can then play my own, and pass it along to the next individual. If you end with 4, 8, and even 12 cards, this will set you back a heap, due to the fact that Uno is much like Crazy Eights — the only point of the video game is to eliminate all your cards.

In a current match, the hand to my best played a +4 Wild card. I rushed, due to the fact that I wasn’t sure if I was stuck with more cards, or if I might utilize my own +4 card to pass along a massive 8 cards to the next hand. I was reluctant, however then the big TELEVISION screen flashed and triggered me to push the triangle button to send out 8 cards to my left. It was a relief, because the hand I sent it to only had two cards, and could have won within a couple of rotations. Contrary to previous experiences with Uno, when the player drew 8 cards, I didn’t hear shouting or cursing out of frustration. That’s due to the fact that my competitor was a computer named AI Hawking.

I don’t feel particularly pressed to come up with a strategy in this form of Uno. Sure, I’ll make logical decisions. If I have a hand full of red numbers, then I’ll use a Wild card to change the color to red. I’m not going up against humans, so there’s no point in strategizing around how I think people will act. I don’t even really get worried about calling “Uno” on other players. (The game’s titular rule is that if someone has one card, and someone calls “Uno” before the person with one card says, “Uno!” that person has to draw two cards.) Sharing a game of Uno with computers allows me to otherwise completely turn off my brain.

The average game ends much more quickly than one in real life. The game has a much smoother and regular cadence. There’s no more reminding people it’s their turn, or waiting for someone to get up and get a snack. Each AI player promptly takes its turn with a smooth animation of a card played.

Still, although I enjoy the smooth play, it’s also those little irregularities that give color to playing Uno. A solitary version of Uno is very much against the communal ethos of the card game. The just fun part of the game used to be its consistent ability to spark drama as people mess with one another. All the cards like Skip, Reverse, and Draw +2 make for a hell of time if 2 people gang up on one person. If you’re especially unlucky, you might go multiple rotations in a row without being able to play. It just sort of feels like Uno was designed for players to mess with each other and create chaos.

These parts of the game have created plenty of content fodder for memes. From the “Everyone has Uno, dipshit. It came free with your fucking Xbox” video and now TikTok sound, to the classic draw 25 cards meme, which shows how hard of a decision it would be between drawing 25 Uno cards and “texting or calling your ex,” Uno has always been funny in social settings. Even the rules themselves have become meme-ified. A tweet from the official account blew up when the makers issued a statement saying, “You cannot stack a +2 on a +2.” Fans decried Mattel’s claim, saying that the statement was just wrong and that their own family rules were correct.

It all just goes to show how deeply personal playing Uno with friends and family is. And while my family has managed to sit down for an online game of Uno on a number of occasions, nothing beats the in-person experience of collective screaming and uncontrollable laughter at dogpiling dozens of cards onto your youngest sibling. The energy just doesn’t fully translate.

So while I miss the antics of a more energized version of the video game (and I certainly miss playing cards with my family), I am also a individual that is stressed out and exhausted. So in the meantime, if I play Uno, I’ll do it alone.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.