Why Uno and Friends is Evil

Uno & Friends Loading Screen

Uno & Friends Loading Screen

Update: Read a separate article on Uno & Friends Tips and Tricks

I’ve long been a fan of the game Uno. It’s fun, addictive, and very satisfying when you win.

I discovered the Uno game in the iOS App Store, but it was standalone, crashed often, and was very tedious to play. When I saw that Uno and Friends came out and that it was free, I jumped on it. I loved the multiplayer play, the boosts, the overall gameplay, and the competitiveness.

One of my friends who I hang around often asked me what I was playing all the time. I told her it was Uno & Friends. She wanted to join in on the fun and downloaded the game for her Android phone.

She became as addicted to the game as I did. Then surpassed me. She became beyond addicted.

I have since vowed never to play the game again. The game is evil. Here’s why.

The Game Isn’t Really Free

The Uno & Friends game advertises itself as free. And to an extent, the game is free.

When you first load the game up, you’re given some coins, a handful of tokens, and an easy way to join games.

This is about when you realize it takes 2 tokens to create a new game and that sooner or later you will run out.

When joining a game, you’re suddenly introduced to boosts.

Uno and Friends Boosts

Uno and Friends Boosts

The boosts require coins in order to purchase and are good for only one game.

As of this writing, here are the boosts and how many coins it takes to purchase them.

  • Reshuffle Hand (50 coins): Allows you to exchange your crappy hand for an even crappier one.
  • 50% Point Bonus (75 coins): Get 50% more points, but honestly you have no idea if it’s working.
  • Dampener (350 coins): The best boost. Draw half as many cards when someone plays a Draw 2 or Draw 4 on you.
  • Spy (400 coins): You can see others’ cards. It’s an evil boost, but it helps you win a lot.
  • Mirror (750 coins): When someone plays a special card against you, you can make them feel the pain and draw the same amount of cards.
  • Overdraw (1200 coins): The stupidest and most evil boost. When someone draws, they draw 2 cards instead of one. This boost pisses EVERYONE off and typically makes a game take way longer to finish.

You don’t need an accounting degree to realize you will run out of coins fast. And what’s the best way to earn coins? Well, you have to join games and develop a win streak. But to join games, you need tokens. And to get tokens, you either have to buy more or wait for a free scratcher so you can earn some free tokens (or watch ads until you have enough tokens to play).

So yeah, you will run out of coins and tokens pretty fast. And while you’re waiting for a new scratcher, you can’t play the game. At least, not for free.

Now what if you want to play, but are out of the coveted tokens that it takes to play a game? As stated before, you can wait for a new scratcher to show up. Or, you can spend real money and buy some tokens. And if you want more coins, yeah, you can pay real money for those too. Uno & Friends calls them Coin and Token packs. They start as low as $1.99 (USD) for a handful or as much as $39.99 for quite some more.

Granted, the Token Pack is what you want to purchase if you want to play games or tournaments. You can’t play without tokens. But, if you want a better chance of winning, you need to buy boosts (especially in tournament mode). To buy boosts, you need coins. Want more coins? Buy a Coin Pack.

So is Uno & Friends really free? Kinda. But for those who really want to play, they are shelling out real cash for the chance to beat you into submission.

VIP is a Ripoff, but Totally Necessary

We’ve already established that Uno & Friends is free. It’s not quite bait and switch as you can really play Uno & Friends for free if you really want to and you have quite a bit of patience.

When first playing, the game quickly tries to encourage you to pay for VIP. So what exactly is VIP?

Uno & Friends makes money from the purchase of Token Packs, Coin Packs, and (gasp) ads. Without purchasing VIP, you will be subjected to watching ads between games. To get rid of these pesky ads? Buy VIP.

Back when I purchased VIP, it cost $3.99 (USD). I expected heaven and earth to move, but no, the only thing I got was an annoying VIP sticker when I played and the removal of ads. You get one or more tokens extra when you do a scratcher, but that is the extent of the benefits. You don’t get more tokens when leveling up. You don’t get extra coins.

There’s really nothing gained by buying VIP. But if you want to get rid of those pesky ads, it’s a must-purchase item.

Uno and Friends Encourages You to Cheat

Let’s call boosts what they really are: the ability to cheat.

I’ve already mentioned several of the boosts available, but there are even more to purchase in tournament mode.

The boosts give you an unfair advantage over others playing who haven’t purchased boosts themselves.

Typically the players who haven’t had a chance to purchase boosts are at lower levels (likely level 20 or below). Uno & Friends allows you to play with people of all levels when playing (which is kind of unfair in itself if you are at a rather high level).

A player with boosts will trounce these players. We at higher levels have already amassed a large amount of tokens and coins, so we can basically purchase any boost at whim. Those on lower levels have just started and typically can’t get any boosts unless they purchase a Coin Pack.

So yeah, I love playing against players at lower levels. I can see their cards. I will mirror the crap out of them. I will even turn on the evil overdraw if they piss me off.

Am I cheating? Hell, yes. But the game allows me to do it, so I do.

The Game Crashes. A Lot!

If the game crashes and you lose tokens or coins, that’s just too bad. If you try e-mailing Gameloft, all you will get is stupid excuses like quitting all apps on your Android or iOS device and/or restarting your device. The game is absurdly slow on my iPhone 4S, and is also really slow on my friend’s iPad 3 and Android device.

The game typically crashes in the last round of a tournament (especially if you are winning). It crashes randomly during regular games. The game just crashes. A lot.

Uno & Friends
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so often
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how many
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Yet the Game is Addictive

The game makes use of psychology to keep you hooked. The closest term I can think of is that of Classical Conditioning, in which behavior is strengthened or weakened, depending on its consequences. You might as well throw in Gambler’s Fallacy in there too.

So when you lose, you’re frustrated and think you’re destined for a win (which may or may not come). If you win a lot in a row, you might as well play some more to boost up your win streak.

Uno and Friends Broken Win Streak

Uno and Friends Broken Win Streak that Costs 20 Freakin’ Tokens

The geniuses of Uno & Friends have made the game so addictive that the more you lose, the more you play. The more you win, the more you play. And the more you play, you suck up valuable tokens and coins (which you must purchase when they run out).

Remember, purchasing Coin and Token Packs costs real money. If I were to guess, the guys behind Uno & Friends are sitting on a gold mine.

I Refuse to Play Anymore

I’ve invested about as much money as I can stand towards Uno & Friends. Yes, the game is fun, but I don’t want to pay any more money towards the damn game.

I can’t stand the “cheating”, even if I partake if I have enough coins. I really fucking hate the overdraw boost, and it seems that every other game has some bastard who has it on.

I can’t stand the constant crashes.

And personally, I don’t find it fun anymore. I’d rather just go to the store, buy the actual cards (which I have done), and find two or three deserving souls to play the “old school” game with. It’s much funner when you beat someone’s ass in person.

So Yes, Uno & Friends is Evil

The fact that the game requires real money to play in order to have a good chance of winning is enough to call it evil. Add in the constant crashes, the poor support from Gameloft, the blatant cheating, and unfairness of playing different levels together, then you have a truly evil game.

I personally won’t play the game anymore. If you read the reviews on the respective app stores for the game, you will see many agree with me. Many are just fed up with it.

Uno and Friends - Ronalfy

Uno and Friends – Ronalfy

So goodbye Uno & Friends. I doubt anyone will miss me.

Comments Welcome

My friend who got addicted to Uno & Friends after I introduced her to it is still very much playing the game. She wrote an article on this site detailing her own Uno & Friends tips and tricks.

If you have your own tips, please share them below. If you have your own grievances, please share them below as well.


  1. Never was there a funnier, more “hit the nail on the head” article. You should write for THE ONION. The funniest part is that I recognize the players in your screen shots. I’m almost where you are but I still have 383 tokens and187,595 coins to waste :-) (ready to say goodbye, thankfully I’ve invested a whole $20.) Did you imagine that other players you were gaming with were flashing the finger at you? OK, I did flash them right before I threw on the overdraw.

    Customer service did replenish some of my losses from my vaulables I lost after an update, and I bitched them out. From level 123 to 7 overnight….It somehow was my fault, I also uninstalled,. reinstalled, took out battery, etc…. That corrected a lot. LOL….What a great time waster….

    Thanks for the laugh…. Candy

      1. Thanks 4 making this I’m starting to see the light… I just got it today and I’m only at level 3 and there are others at 200 in the same round :/ As well as having to wait almost TWO hours for new tokens and like you said it get addictive and it is very annoying waiting all of that time…TIME TO DELETE THE TING!

    1. You mention the constant crashing, I believe that it’s losing players disconnecting from the Internet, whenever this happens tokens and boosts are replenished (most of the time). So yeah, I think that when your opponents know they’re not going to win, they disconnect to keep their tokens, I find it happens mainly on “high stakes” tournaments.

      1. I intentionally left a game the other day because I got so frustrated, but I didn’t get to keep my tokens. So I’m not sure if what you said is accurate.

  2. I quit on my first day. I am actually a good uno player but I refuse to cheat or boost or whatever they are calling it…..what a disappointment !!!

  3. Just need to say that you were one of these persons who made boosts profitable for the game. As well as VIP and other in-app purchases. And now you complain and refuse to play? Wow. Listen, this game does NOT care about your opinions, you walked into this company’s trap and wasted a lot of money. And that is all what matters to Gameloft.
    If you were the person wasting a lot of money to support this game, you have no rights to complain. Also do not forget that you actually played with these cheats even you had a chance not to use them.
    So you are the last person that should have the freedom of speak about this game. Sorry.

    1. Uhm, by doing all these things, I have an informed opinion. I know what I’m complaining about and “know” what I’m talking about.

      You’re basically saying: “by playing the game, you have no right to complain.” What? That’s like saying if you shop at Target you have no right to complain about the stupid red shirts. Stupid is one adjective I can muster up to that.

      How about you play a few games and get back to me. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. Playing the game and paying real money to support the game are actually two different things. Do you think wasting real money equals to playing? I used a tool to get unlimited tokens and coins, and many others use them, too. I didn’t support this game with real money and I’m not the one who made boosts profitable for the company.

        Well.. you have all the rights to complain about your red shirt, but if you buy the same red shirt for 100 times, complaining about it afterwards sounds really ridiculous, because you basically were the person who supported the seller and the maker of that red shirt with big pile of money. And they most likely will keep that red shirt in the store, because it sold so well, thanks to you.

        You paid a lot of money to get boosts and that way support game developers keeping them in this game. People like you are the reason why this game offers unfair advantages. It’s more than just obvious that if people don’t buy any boosts, they will be removed from this game.

  4. Great article.
    My biggest complain’t that when I call Uno I keep receiving 2 more cards. It’s not a boost, and I can’t figure out how that happens.

  5. Well all I’m sayin’ is where are thes free unlimited coin hacks? I’m down with that, I’m a new uno player and have yet to spend any money but now I’m seeing that I obviously will not be able to play unless tokens appear out of thin air.

    1. I had the Uno Free app for Android which was OK but free. Now it is not supported on my new S5 so I just started playing Uno and Friends and noticed the same twist of economics. Fortunately, I have the patience to play a few games a day, not get over addicted and I have yet to spend a dime even making it to the Ruby tournament and level 22 without paying but I am now running into the “Ronald’s of the Uno world” with all of the hacks and boosts to kick my ass. I found plenty of hacks but they all require you to sign up for 6-12 surveys, download 12 applications that take over your computer or your first born before you can run them. Are there any true hacks without any strings attached? I have been waiting for your friend’s article on them you mention in the main article.

      1. Cheat engine is the best hack for pc. Trying to find hack that actually works on iPad. The only trick with cheat engine is use Firefox & more coins & tokens that I could ever need.

  6. I won the Ruby Tournament but never received credit for it or the tokens. My biggest complaint is I can only see about 60 of my friends and I must have 200+. This has been going on for months and months. I still receive stuff from them but can’t send anything back. Since the game has not made it possible to delete anyone from your list I stopped adding people. It sucks because half or most of the 60 don’t play anymore. The crashes really suck. So does when you draw a card you don’t need and so forth. Now I just make sure all my apps are closed, that there isn’t a bunch running that don’t need to be (stop them and hope they don’t restart), and clear some of the RAM. Then I use Clean Master’s Game boost to start the game.

    I started reading this because it came up when I was trying to google how to reverse draw someone with mirror boost. Still don’t understand what the is? If someone could enlighten me it would be much appreciated.

    I have never spent more than like 3 or 4 bucks at a time on coins and stuff. I have never had more than like $6000-$8000 tops at one time with or without boosts. Ok maybe ten thousand something once. I have only used mirror and overdraw a couple times. My money goes fast enough just using dampener. Love the 50% points. Never used spy. Not once.

    WolfLvr48 Lvl. 144

  7. I purchased VIP for the extra tokens. Really annoyed with how often it crashes. AI’s can run the game if a player drops out so why the crashing? My kids have the game and are not VIP’s. I noticed they both got offer’s for discounted coins and tokens. No such offer is on the VIP’s (me). If I’m a VIP I should at least get the same offer! Seems like I’m losing more since I became a VIP, in their efforts to make me spend more money. Well they are not getting any till they stop the crashes!!!!

  8. I love playing the game but I am done I can’t stand the tournaments its one thing when they have the boosts which I really don’t like but you choice to play the game as it is. But when people just sit there and don’t play to run the clock out I draw the line there . I miss when I first started playing the game it was just regular uno and I could play any time that was the best . I guess every thing has to be about money . I will really miss the game but it’s no fun any more when you have to cheat to win. Goodbye Uno .

  9. Omg!! I love this post. Don’t listen to them bashing you on your opinion. I myself am truely addicted to this EVIL game. I play it when I wake up, when I lay down to go to sleep, in the bathroom.. My boyfriend and I are constantly fighting because I barely pay attention to him anymore. But I CANT STOP lol I have only paid twice, once was $7.99 and today it was $2.99 for 66 tokens which are all gone now and waiting for a free scratch off. I have tried to find another game that I like better but I have had no luck. Nothing is as good as Uno and Friends :'(

  10. Hi Ronald,

    Something is not clear for me… I paid for VIP and saw that they took € 1,98 (still as a reservation) from my creditcard; today again but now € 3,99 as a payment. Does it mean that I have to pay every month to be a VIP member? I don’t want that! How can I get rid of it if it happens again?


    1. VIP should be a one-time charge. Some companies do a reservation to make sure you have funds, then do the real charge. Then the reservation expires and you get that money back.

  11. I was putting smiley but it became questionmarks on your site. Changed it already. Have a nice weekend,


  12. I seem to be one of the cursed ‘last to play’ individuals. Can anybody explain how with four possible outcomes (first, second, third and fourth) I keep getting fourth? Statistically I should be last on average 1/4 of the time, yet I’m last 100% of the time. I only downloaded this yesterday, and refuse to spend a single dime on cheats, coins, VIP etc., and I’m about ready to uninstall already.

    1. It’s whatever cards you have left over when you lose. Draw 2, Reverse, Skip, and Wild cards have high points. If you have a 2 and a Skip, and someone has a 2,5,6, then they will likely come ahead of you.

      Do your best to get rid of high cards and you’ll place better should you lose.

  13. I have been playing this for the past few days and I can not for the life of me WIN a tournament!!! People run the clock on purpose and it’s so annoying. I’ve played that damn unicorn tournament at least 8 times now and can never get past the second level to move on to the finals, and I’m not a bad uno player (I mean, is there even such a thing as being bad at Uno!? I doubt it!!) It’s such an easy game. It’s unfair that I’m on level 20 and being forced to play with people in much higher levels than myself. I’m so sick of it. Sick of losing tournaments because I don’t have “boosts” like others. Ugh.

  14. Anybody remember the old UNO format? Where we all played for free without bunch of tokens, no boosts, no risk to lose tokens, and the chat window. The chat window was really fun to play around because I would yell at other players to hurry up or tell them why they are keeping skipping me and dumping me many cards.

    Now it crappy! Risky games, loss of coins, have to buy packages with stupid pre-programmed words, boosts that irks me off, stupid pre-programmed words that a grade school kid would say, and the “gifts” sucks. I wish there would be a present of a giant middle finger to insult others for delaying games or winning the tournaments unfairly. I’m sick of people allowing the clock to run down in tournaments so they could win unfairly. I get no coins as a reward in tournaments!!! NOT FAIR! I wanted to yell at the cheaters profanities and call them a cheater but I cannot do that.

    They need to have a strict system to prevent cheaters in tournaments. How about quicker limit on the time of each player like 3 seconds. Automatic get a extra card if they run off the clock, 100% NO BOOSTS, no clock running, and fair coin rewards.

  15. Thank your for this article…. It answered exactly what I was looking for. I just started playing Uno & Friends and was immediately addicted. I don’t mind paying for a game I enjoy, I understand these companies have salaries to pay, however, if I pay for a game, I want to be able play the game. As a direct result of your article, I won’t be buying the VIP status or investing any real money.

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