Home Pop Culture Toys & Games Uno


The cult card game was launched in 1972. It consists of four suits of 27 cards plus wild cards and special cards for skipping the next player, reversing the direction of play and making the next player draw cards. Confused yet?

Uno was horribly hard to learn and the winner would always be the kid who had brought the pack to class on the last day of school and shown off in front of everybody until he got beaten up.

In 1971, a barber and devoted card player named Merle Robbins developed the game based loosely on the rules for Crazy Eights. He played it with friends and family, who enjoyed it so much that Robbins wondered if he could market it outside of his social circle.

The Robbins family saved up $8,000 to pay for the first printing of the game, just 5000 copies to be sold at the barbershop. The game was a hit, and word-of-mouth spread quickly.

By 1972, Robbins sold the rights to funeral parlor owner Robert Tezak from Joliet, Illinois, for $50,000 and a 10-cent-per-deck royalty. Tezak was such a firm believer in the product that he founded International Games, Inc., just to market Uno.

In 1978, K-Mart agreed to put Uno in their stores across the US. Sales skyrocketed – more than 100 million Uno games have been sold since it was invented in 1971, thanks in part to Mattel’s purchase of International Games in 1992.