Uno is a fun card game that people of all ages can play. The aim is simple; you have to be the first player to get rid of all your cards. But things got a little more complicated with the addition of the swap hands card.
Now when you think about it, this card doesn’t seem overly complicated. Swap hands do what the name implies; you and your opponent swap cards when you play this card. When played at the right time, this card can be a game-changer.
But what happens if your last card is a swap hand? How can you beat Uno with this card? It doesn’t seem possible. Some people even tweeted Uno themselves to find out the answer to this riddle. So, let’s find out how the swap hands card works, shall we?
When was swap hands added?
The swap hands card was added to Uno game sets in 2015, and it was part of the Get Wild 4 Uno campaign, which added customizable wild cards. These custom cards were the main event of the new game, with many players learning about swap hands when they opened the cards.
While the custom wild cards were pretty self-explanatory, the swap hands card created a few issues. While it seems simple enough on the surface, as you’ve already seen, its use during the final turn of the game caused some confusion.
What does swap hands do?
When played the swap hands card, let’s you swap your cards with your opponent. If you’re playing with more than two people, then you can choose who to swap with. When played at the right time, the swap hands card can be game-changing.
Let’s say you have a run of bad luck and have to pick up a lot of cards. On your next turn, you could swap hands with an opponent and give all these cards to them. Of course, since you don’t know what cards any other player has, this could backfire.
But in most cases swapping hands is a very beneficial card. However, the problem, as we’ve discussed, comes with the end game. If the last card in your hand is the swap hands, what can you do?
Can I win with a swap hands card?
The big question with the swap hands card is whether you can win with it. Upon its release, many people reported that it couldn’t be used as the last card. Therefore placing a player in an unwinnable position. Since they have no choice but to play it and swap cards with their opponent.
This is still widely reported on many websites, but it isn’t entirely true. You can win with the swap hands card and play it as your last card! This is because the swap is voluntary on the player’s part.
You can play the card at any point and swap your hands if you want. So, you don’t need to swap if you don’t want to. Many people didn’t realize (or Uno didn’t clarify) that swapping is optional. So, you can still win by playing it as your final card.
Do I have to use the swap hands cards?
While technically, you don’t need to use any cards you don’t want. Many games are open to customization in many ways; this is what house rules in Monopoly are. So, yes, you can ignore the swap hands cards in Uno if you want to.
Uno themselves reported that they could simply be used as additional wild cards instead of ignoring them or removing them from the deck. While we think this takes away a bit of the fun and strategy that the swap hands cards involve, we can certainly understand if you’d prefer to utilize them as wild cards.
Is swap hands used in other Uno games?
There are plenty of other variants of Uno, like Uno Attack, for example, and currently, the swap hands card hasn’t been added to these other decks. That doesn’t mean you couldn’t add it yourself, though, if you wanted to.
For all the confusion it brought about, it can’t be denied that the swap hands card did add an extra element to the game. Uno is already a very strategic game, and swap hands add another layer for players to think about.
What’s the best way to play swap hands?
Now, this is going to be down to personal opinion and individual strategy. But we think the best way to use swap hands is in the mid-game, as this avoids any potential issues with playing it during the endgame and could allow you to knock one player out of the game early essentially.
Another good strategy is to keep hold of the card till you hit a few pickups. Then, if you have a run of bad luck and get hit with some +4 or +2 cards, then you can quickly rid yourselves of the cards by simply swapping hands.
You may also want to wait till one of your opponents only has a few cards remaining. Then you can swap hands with them to gain the advantage. There are plenty of great ways you can play the swap hands card, and while it was divisive upon release, we think it does make Uno more fun.
The swap hands card certainly shook up the Uno community, but it’s easier to use than you might first think. The card is a little confusing at first glance, but we believe it was an excellent addition to standard Uno and well worth using.