Uno! Dos! LAMA! Reviews

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Uno! Dos! Tres! LAMA!? I know you want me. You know I want cha.

Sorry, I couldn’t help but get Pitbull stuck in my head when thinking of these three games next to each other.

Hey folks, I’m back today with a quick series of card games. Today, we’re looking at Uno. A classic card game I’m sure everyone has seen or played at some point. We’re looking at Dos. The follow up game to Uno. And lastly, we’re looking at LAMA. One of the Spiel des Jahres nominations. These are all easy to learn card games, but I wanted to start with Uno before going into Dos and LAMA.

Uno

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Uno. It’s a card game for 2-7 people and plays in about 30 minutes if scoring points. Or if you just play by hand, it can be shorter depending on the cards dealt. Uno is one of those games that I don’t think anyone knows who designed Uno. Did Mattel just need to get rid of oddly colored decks of cards? Was it created by aliens? Some may never know! Lucky for you, I found out it was designed by Merle Robbins in 1971 and based it off the game Crazy Eights. He actually sold them out of his barber shop up until 1981 when he sold it to International Games. It’s estimated that the game has sold 151 million copies! And when checking Board Game Geeks website, there are 207 variations of Uno! Usually a different theme like Jurassic Park, 80s cartoon Transformers, or Unicorns. Still, amazing to see a game going so long and so many reprinting of it.

The version I’m looking at has 112 cards in the deck and has some customize-able wild cards. Number cards value 0 to 9. Each pack comes with 19 blue cards, 19 green cards, 19 red cards, 19 red cards, 8 draw 2 cards, 8 reverse cards, 8 skip cards, 4 wild cards, 4 wild draw 4 cards, 1 wild swap hands cards, and 3 wild blank cards waiting for your imagination.

After you’ve carefully thought of diabolical rules to put on the blank wild cards, it’s time to shuffle them all together. Deal 7 cards to each player. Place the deck somewhere where each player can reach it. Draw the top card of the deck, place it face up in the starting discard pile and it’s time to play.

Game play is simple. You can do one of two actions on your turn. You either play a card or if you can’t, you draw a card.

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Uno: Matching color or numbers since 1971.

When playing a card you’re looking to match the number or the color of the discard pile. Alternatively you can play a wild and change the color of the discard pile to what you want. There are some action cards in the deck, and I’ll go over them.

  • Draw Two – The next player draws two cards and skips their turn.
  • Reverse – Reverse play direction
  • Skip – Skip the next players turn
  • Wild – Change the color of the discard pile
  • Wild Draw Four – Change the color of the discard pile, and the next player draws 4 cards and skips their turn.
  • Wild Swap Hands – Change the color of the discard pile and choose an opponent to swap hands with them.

If you can’t play a card to the discard pile, you draw a card. You’re free to play that drawn card if you’re able.

Play goes on until someone has one card left in their hand. They have to shout Uno! If they don’t state Uno and are caught on the next players turn, they have to draw 2 cards. Once someone has played their last card, that player gains points equal to the sum of all the cards left in players hands. Number cards are face value. Draw Two, Reverse, and Skip are 20 points. Wild and Wild Draw 4 are 50 points. The new wild cards are 40 points. The first player to 500 points wins the game.

So that’s Uno. It’s a simple game. Easy to teach, easy to learn, and chaotically thrilling to play! I liked the addition of special rule Wilds. I added stuff like Swap Seats with another player or everyone pass cards to the left or right. It adds something that you can make have more of a gamer feel to it. I’ll play Uno. It’s not one of those games that’s been over played for me. Is it the first card game I go to? No. It’s one I’ll play if I have a group of players that have never played any modern games. I’ll play a couple of those, and then probably pull out a game that is somewhat similar. Now, when we do play Uno, it’s almost never using the scoring points system. It’s all about bragging rights of who went out first. There’s nothing wrong with that. I enjoy the game play and company when playing.

Dos

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Next! Dos! Dos is a card game for 2 to 4 players. It takes about the same time as Uno. It’s not designed by Merle Robbins though. It’s designed by Nick Hayes according to Board Game Geek. It’s not listed on the box or the rules who designed the game. Nick Hayes has designed Spirits of the Wild and Wizards Wanted. Both are other Mattel games, and Spirits of the Wild I’ve written about before.

Dos comes with 108 cards. Card values number between 1 and 10. Each Dos pack comes with 24 blue cards, 24 green cards, 24 red cards, 24 yellow cards, 12 wild 2 cards.

To play, shuffle the deck together. Deal 7 cards to each player. Flip over 2 cards from the deck to make the playing area.

Now, it’s time to play. Players still have two options. Play or Draw. On a players turn, they can play on all the piles in the play area. In Uno you’re matching colors or numbers. In Dos, you’re just matching numbers. You can add two card values together to play on a card. For example, if there is a Green 8 in the play area, you can play a red 5 and yellow 3 on top. Next, you discard the card piles you played on. If there are less than 2 cards in the play area, draw up to two new cards to play on, and it’s the next person’s turn.

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Matching numbers. Either with one or two cards.

There are a couple of special cards. The first being a # card. These cards can be any number. The next are Wild 2s. These can be any color.

There are no skips, reverse, or draw cards in this game. What’s the point of the # and wild cards then? Well, you get special bonuses when you match colors and numbers.

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Color matches! Either single or double.

A single color match is when you match the number and color of a card. An example is when you match a blue 10 with a blue 10. When you do this, you may play an additional card from your hand to the play area. This gets rid of an additional card, getting you closer to going out.

A double color match is when you use two cards to match a number, but you also match the color of the number with both cards. Example is matching a Yellow 5 and 3 to a Yellow 8. When you do this, you may play an additional card to the play area and all other players draw a card from the deck.

When you play cards to the play area, you essentially are making a new pile to play on. If there are three piles at the start of your turn, then you can play cards on all three piles.

If a player can’t play a card, they must draw a card. If they can play a card, they then play it and resolve discarding the cards they played on and refreshing the play area. If they still can’t play anything, they have to add a card to the play are from their hand.

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When a player is down to two cards, they must yell Dos. If they don’t, and it’s another players turn, they draw two cards.

Play goes on until someone plays all the cards in their hand. At that point, they earn points equal to the cards left in players hands. Cards are face value except for the wild and # cards. Wild cards are 20 points. # cards are 40 points. Play continues until a player reaches 200 points.

Dos. It was weird not having Skip, Reverse, and Draw cards in the deck. It was weird when you match colors, that you may add to the play area. It was weird when you draw a card and can’t play, you add to the play area. Then I came to the realization. You MAY add to the play area when matching colors. You HAVE to if you can’t play. Sure, you’re not losing any cards, but you’re adding a play area for other players. This is a thinkier game than Uno. It’s a step up in terms of a gamers game. I like that you’re only matching numbers and that you can add two cards to equal a cards value. The # and Wild cards make it easier to get the matching color bonuses. And you can get multiple a turn when playing on the different cards in the play area. Do you want to get rid of a card in your hand, but make it easier for the next person to play an additional card? Do you do a higher number, or a lower one? Part of me says go low so it’s harder to play on. A 1 card you can only every play just one card on. Will I play this over Uno? Uno has more Take That in it than Dos. It depends on the people I’m playing with. If it’s a larger group, I’ll probably go Uno. If I want something a little less chaotic and thinky, I’ll go with Dos. For the cheap price tag, Dos is an excellent addition to your collection of card games.

LAMA

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Lastly. LAMA is a card game much like the previous two games. It’s a light game where players are trying to get rid of cards in their hands. It’s a Reiner Knizia game that’s 2-4 players and plays in about 30 minutes. Reiner Knizia has designed many, many games. I’ve reviewed his Lost Cities: Rivals game previously.

LAMA comes with 56 cards, 50 white tokens, and 20 black tokens. The cards are valued 1-6 and llama and there are 8 of each.

The point of LAMA is to have the least amount of points when someone reaches 40 points. At the end of a round, players earn points equal to the unique number card values in their hands. Llamas are 10 points. So, if you had three 3s and a 1 at the end of the round, you gain 4 points. White chips are 1 point each, black chips are 10. Players convert white chips to black when they can. Why is that? Well, when a player plays all the cards in their hand, they return a single chip back to the supply. It could be white or black. So 1 point or 10s.

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Three 1s are still 1 point.  So in total, this at the end of a round would net you 6 points.

To play the game, deal 6 cards to each player, place the deck in the center, and flip over the top of the deck. This is the first card to play on.

A player can do one of three things during their turn.

They can play a card. When playing a card they are either matching the number of increasing the number by one. Llamas count both as 7 and 0, so they complete the pile and start the pile over.

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Gameplay started with a 6, then went llama, 1, 1, 2. You can either match or advance the number by 1 on your turn.

They can draw a card. This is simple. Draw a card, but can’t play.

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With 5 points already earned, if I ended here, I’d trade 10 white chips in for 1 black chip. . .

Or, they can fold. When a player folds, they are out for the round. They can’t get rid of any more cards from their hand and they can’t gain cards.

The round goes on until one of two things happen. First, if a player played all the cards in their hand, the round is over. That player returns a token, and each other player gains point tokens equal to the card value in their hands.

The other way to end is if all players fold. If you’re the last player playing, you can play out your hand, but can’t draw cards. Once all players are folded, then everyone gains point tokens equal to the card value in their hand. Shuffle all the cards back into the deck, deal them out again, and play another round. As soon as a player reaches 40 points, the game is over. The winner of the game is the player with the lowest points.

So, LAMA. It’s a Spiel des Jahres nomination, and I can see why. It’s a family game that’s easy to teach and fast to play. It’s also a Reiner Knizia game, so it has some layers to it that my wife and I quickly figured out after our first game. When we played this, it was just at two players and we played 3 consecutive games of it. Each time, we delved deeper into strategic thinking. While on the surface, it’s a quickly get rid of your cards type of game, looking below reveals some interesting strategies. First, do you draw or pass when you can’t play? First game, we just kept trying to draw cards to continue play. That was until I folded, and left Ashley with cards she couldn’t play. Okay, so it’s not just matching cards. You’ve also go to weigh cards in your hand, cards in other people’s hands, and likelihood of not being able to play them if everyone else folds. Ok, so that’s another layer. Next was points you’ve earned. Best moment in one game was one round of folding for 2 points. I bumped my points up to 10, traded for a black token. Next round, I went out and went from 10 to 0 points. Score! So, while weighing the options of draw or fold, you’re also mentally tallying points and trying, yes trying, to get a 10 point chip so you can put it back. Another layer. You’re trying not to get points, but if you do, you’re trying for 10. Next is the playing cards itself. There are 8 of each card in the deck. So you’re counting cards a bit. If you’ve had a round where everyone just played a bunch of 4s, and you still have 2 in your hand the deck is almost out. That means get rid of those llamas, 5s, and 6s you might have in your hand. The pile might go around twice, but then stall when no one can get past the dreaded 4. So, while this game seems simple and easy to play, there is a lot of thought going into your play style. I really enjoyed this one. Some reviews I’ve read say that they didn’t know why this was a nominated game, and that there are other games that should have been nominated. I’m just going to say that Uno, a game that came out in 1971 has been a household name and sold millions of copies. It’s a simple game. Then, I have to think if Spiel des Jahres was around when Uno was created, and if Uno came out with German rules, would it have been nominated? I have a feeling it would have been. Spiel des Jahres is an award for family game of the year. While other games might be suggested, I just think of the small box LAMA comes in, the ease of rules, and quick play time. It’s easy to break out, easy to transport, and price tag is cheap enough. While I doubt this will over come Uno in sales and household name, I can definitely see this as an alternative and a nice filler game. I highly recommend this to anyone that likes Uno. While it costs more than a deck of Uno cards, hopefully that will change when it comes to the United States. I found a full German copy.

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So there you go, Uno, Dos, Tres, Llama! You know you want them!

Three card games that are similar themed about getting rid of cards. Each one does it differently, and each one is a bit more thinky than the last. Pick up Uno, Dos, and LAMA. Play then with family, friends, and coworkers. A game doesn’t need to be long, have a field guide for rules, or even be large scale for it to be fun.  I’ve had fun with these games, and when looking to recommend a game, I always try and recommend the fun ones.

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