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Hot Death Uno

What is it?

A variant of the card game “Uno” created by someone with a sick sense of humour and way too much time on his hands. One of my “friends” found a game called “Hot Death Uno” on the IBM PC (written in Visual Basic) and made the mistake of bringing it to work and installing it on our 486. If we ever find out who the person is that wrote the game, we will be eternally grateful to them and probably kill them. No, I don’t have the source code for the program, but I do have copies of the binaries that you can download from here ( and

The Internet Archive has version 1.5 which is compatible with more modern versions of Windows (e.g. Windows 7).

– different versions of the same program).

Apparently, there’s now an Android version of Hot Death Uno for Google Play and Amazon Appstore.

Basically, the rules and such are as they are described in that game with some changes and clarifications. We played it and even added a few cards here. At one point, I had those rules here, but I took them out in favour of keeping as close to the “original” as possible. Also easier to maintain, etc.


This game is not Politically Correct by any means. If this game offends you, EAT SHIT AND DIE! We really could care less if it does offend you. Besides, that’s part of the point of the game.

If this game is played with younger kids, you may wish to rename some of the nastier cards to something more appropriate for younger audiences. If it is played with older kids, you may want to rename some of the cards. But that’s up to you.

How to make your own deck

You need: 3 decks of UNO cards and Red, Blue, and Black permanent pens. Take out appropriate number cards (for the number card specials – see below for the list) and four of the regular wild cards. Four of the Wild cards should be turned into the Delayed Blast, Hot Death, Mystery Draw, and the Harvester of Sorrows. On the ‘special’ number cards, you may want to color in the number or wording differently on the corners of the card so that people can tell them apart when spreading out their hand to look at it. (Use a Blue One and use the Red and Blue pens to color this card purple. I suppose you can use a Purple permanent pen if you can find one)

So how many friends do I need to play this?

Technically, you can play with two or three players, but we recommend at least four. If you have many more than eight it could take a while just to get through a single hand. One time, we had seven players. Ideally, this game needs 4 to 8 people.

Also, the game itself is likely to take at least 45 minutes to an hour per person playing the game. So for a four person game, plan on a 3 to 4 hour game, though we’ve had game go as quick as 15 minutes when I got (gasp) over 1000 points on a single hand.

The Rules:

Cut for first deal, high number card deals. Letter and wild cards are ignored. Special number cards are treated as their number (it is possible, therefore, to cut ‘69’ from the deck..)

Players are dealt cards (dealer choose a number of cards to deal between 5 and 15). The remaining cards form the draw pile. The top card of the draw pile is turned over the begin the discard pile. Plays goes to the left of the dealer, the dealer starting to play (see special rules below). If you run out of cards in the draw pile, shuffle the discard pile. One of our hands, we managed to have to shuffle the discard pile three times.

Players have to match the card in the discard pile by number, color, or word as the case may be (but again, see card rules for exceptions). If a player can not play or does not wish to play a certain card, they can draw from the draw pile. The person either has the option of playing the card he drew. If he can not or chooses not to play the card he drew, then the turn passes onto the next person in the current play direction.

When you have one card left in your hand, you must call “Uno”. If you’re caught not doing so, you must draw two cards. To catch someone, yell out “Uno” before someone plays their next card. We also tend to point at them while yelling Uno then laugh at them as they draw their cards and grumble because they got caught.

The hand is over when a player has no cards left. This player “wins” the hand and deals the next game. Everyone else figures out how many points they have in their hand (the “winner” has zero points in his hand) and it is added to their score. The term “win” is kinda inaccurate because it is possible to “lose” a hand but have a negative point total (lowest possible point total – (negative) 120 points – figure it out).

If all players are eliminated in a hand (it’s happened), then there is no winner. In this case, the person who deals is decided this way. Everyone totals the points in their hand, which gets added to your score. The one who scores the lowest number of points will deal the next hand. If that is also a tie, tie break with a cut of the deck as in determining first deal (low man deals).

The game ends when you reach 1000 points, although if you are a masochist, you may wish to play longer. The person with the lowest point total at this point is deemed the winner.

Special Conditions

On the deal (the first discard):

  • Any ‘draw’ cards effect the dealer, direction going clockwise
  • ‘Directed’ cards (e.g. Glasnost, M.A.D.) are chosen by dealer.
  • If dealer has to use an ‘AIDS’ cards, the ‘half’ penalty is ignored (i.e. goes to nobody).

Two player rules:

  • Anything implying ‘direction’ (e.g. any sort of reverse) is treated as an ordinary skip.
  • Double Skips are treated as regular skips.
  • Delayed Blast is treated as a normal draw four.
  • If M.A.D. is played, all players are eliminated from the game.
  • Penn State will still work against spreaders.
  • If Quitter is played, the player who plays it wins by default unless the AIDS is played, in which case it is treated like the M.A.D (both players die)

Miscellaneous (Scoring, end-game conditions, etc)

  • Having “Quitter, Shitter, Fucker, and Holy Defender” in your hand ends the hand (these are the four bastard cards). The person with the bastard cards scores 0 points for the hand. In our playtesting, this has only happened once.
  • Getting caught with the Quitter and the Fucker in your hand is worth 1000 points (in other words, game over, man!)
  • “Special” number cards (number cards with words on them) can be played whenever the color/number combination is appropriate, if the card has no stated “restrictions” on when it can be played (e.g. the Shitter).

Card Rules:

The cards are pictured, then the point values, then the description. If you are using Lynx to view this document, then it will say something like “Skip”, 20 points

The Tame cards (no defenses against these):

Number Cards,

Face value in points. This only applies to non-special number cards.


20 points. Skips the next person.

Double Skip,

40 points. Skips the next person.


20 points. Reverse direction of game play.

Reverse Skip,

40 points. Reverse direction and skip the next player in the new direction.

Draw Two,

20 points. Next person draws two and is skipped.


40 points. Chooses color for next play.

Special Cards (Or the Not-so-tame cards):

Note: Except for the regular Draw Four’s, only one of each of these cards should exist in a deck. Also, if you are viewing this with Lynx, you will see in parenthesis what the card is made out of. It should be obvious from the graphics what the other cards are made out of.

Draw Four,

50 points. Next person draws four cards and is skipped. The one who plays this card gets to choose the color, too, although choosing color might be irrelevant immediately, especially if someone defends against it.

One defense is to simply play another Draw Four-type card. Other Draw Four-type cards include the Harvester of Sorrows, Delayed Blast and Hot Death. Although they differ in point values (and number of cards drawn in the case of Hot Death), they are treated the same in terms of defense and defendability. If you play a Draw Four-type card in defense of a Draw Four-type card, you are “Stacking” it. This effectively pass “both” Draw Fours to another player, whom will have to draw eight cards unless he can defend. This person may also elect to play a Draw Four. Then the *next</b> player will have to draw twelve, etc. “Stacking” ends when:

  • AIDS card is played.
  • A Harvester of Sorrows is played (add four cards to the draw, and the next person will be forced to draw all accumulated draws)
  • The “Magic 5” is played on top of “Hot Death”. This nullifies Hot Death and all draws “stacked” before it.
  • The person can not or does not wish to defend himself. He must then draw all of the stacked draw four’s worth of cards. We’ve had this number up to 32 in our playtesting.

Defenses work as follows (in the case of stacked draws, defenses affect the last player of the Draw-Four-type card):

  • Fuck You: The draw is passed back. The direction also changes, as if a reverse has been played.
  • Holy Defender: “Passes” over you, onto the next player.
  • AIDS: The total number of cards drawn is split evenly between the player of the Draw Four and the player of the AIDS.

Note: If a non-Draw-Four-type card is used for defense, the color becomes the color of the card used to defend. For example, if a “Fuck You” is used to defend against a Draw Four, the color will be Blue (the color of the Fuck You card).


20 points x # of opponents. Basically, this acts like a draw two except everyone has to draw two except a person with the Penn State 2 (who must show if he’s using it as protection). The person who played the Spreader may play again, unless the Penn State 2 is shown in defense, in which case, the person with the Penn State 2 gets to play.

Magic 5 (Red 5),

-5 points. The Magic 5 can be played on top of any other card of any color or number. It will nullify the effects of the ‘Hot Death’ card (see below). Generally, this card is not played except to defend against Hot Death because of its negative point value.

Quitter (Green 0),

100 points (or 1000 points with Fucker). The quitter causes the next person to be taken out of the game. His hand is ‘frozen’ until the hand sends. Defenses are as follows:

  • Fuck You: The person who played the quitter is quittered.
  • AIDS: Both players are quittered.
  • Holy Defender: The quitter points to the “next” person.

If you have this card and the Fucker, both cards are worth 1000 points (total, not each).

Fucker (Blue 0),

Doubles your score (or 1000 points with Quitter). This card will send punishment back to where it came from. Whenever this is used to thwart a punishment, the direction of play will change. Doubles your point total if you are caught with it at the end of the hand, or if you have the Quitter, both cards are worth 1000 points (total, not each).

Penn State (Blue 2),

Special. The spirit of Joe Paterno lives on in this card. It will protect you against evil spreaders (the person who plays the spreader draws two and the Penn State holder plays), but that’s about it. To protect yourself, you must show this card to all players.

This card is worth the highest point valued card in your hand.

M.A.D. (Yellow 1),

75 points. M.A.D. stands for “Mutually Assured Destruction”. When you play this card, you will be killed, but you also get to choose a victim who will share this fate with you.

Shitter (Yellow 0),

Special. The shitter is not a nice card to have in your hand. First of all, this card can only be played on the Holy Defender, the Magic 5, or as the last card in your hand. When the hand is over, and you are caught with the shitter in your hand, add up your point total as normal, counting the shitter as a zero. If you are caught with the most amount of points in your hand, this card has no effect. Otherwise, you earn the same number of points as the person who scored highest from the hand (as opposed to what your point total was).

Sometimes this card can be a mixed blessing. Sometimes, the card can be worthless. Sometimes it can be worth very few points indeed. In one of our hands, the highest point total for the hand was 2 points, so the shitter was basically worthless, despite not winning.

Sixty Nine (Yellow 9 with a 6 added to it),

Special. This card allows you to play a six on a nine or a nine on a six (must show the card if you do that). If you are caught with this card in your hand, you will score 69 points for this hand, regardless of the other cards in your hand. This point total can be affected by the Magic 5, Holy Defender, Fucker, or overridden by the Shitter.

Hot Death (Wild),

100 points. This is a “Draw 8” wild, basically. Can be stacked with other Wild Draw 4’s, but can be nullified by the Magic 5. Treated the same as a Draw Four in terms of stacking rules, but it’s a draw eight.

Harvester of Sorrows (Wild),

0 points. This is probably one of the nastiest cards. It acts like a standard Draw Four. First of all, the card is worth zero points. Second of all, there is no defense against this card. The next player will be taking those four cards (and other stacked before it) no matter what.

Luck o'the Irish (Green 4),

75 points. This card, when shown, will allow you to draw one less in all situations where you must draw cards as a “punishment”. Meaning, if you have to draw because you can’t play on your turn, you can not avoid that draw by showing this card. Every other draw can be lessened by one card by showing this card.

Delayed Blast (Wild),

100 points. This acts like a Draw Four, but skips a player. Remember that a “Fuck You” played in defense of this card sends it back to where it came from (meaning, it would hit you!)

Mystery Draw (Wild),

10 points x highest # card in hand (or 10 points if none). This card is a wild card with a nasty side effect. Whatever number card was underneath this card, the next person has to draw that many cards and is skipped.

Because of the fact there is a ‘69’ in the deck, yes, you could become the victim of a “Draw 69”. Believe it or not, this has resulted in two wins, one by getting rid of all those cards!! Of course, it also resulted in a record setting score of 1486 points for a single hand.

If there is no number underneath (or the number underneath was a zero), then there is no draw and it is like a wild card then and the next player is not skipped.

This card can not be used to stack on Draw Four’s nor can Draw Fours be stacked on this. This card has no defense..

This card is worth ten times the number of points of your highest number card, or worth 10 points if you have no number card. Note, if your highest number card is the “Magic 5”, this card is worth negative 50 points. ;-)

A.I.D.S. (Green 3),

3 points and special (see below). This card is helpful in that whatever punishment was inflicted on you will be shared by the inflicter (meaning, if you had to draw 12, you and the inflictor have to each draw 6 – anything that can be defended against gets to be “shared”). This only works against things that have defenses.

If you are caught with this in your hand at the end of the game, you lose 10 points for this hand and every other subsequent hand you lose. The effects of this are cumulative. (i.e. you can get AIDS multiple times)

Glastnost (Red 2),

75 points. Glasnost means “openness”. The player of this card chooses the victim, which must show all cards (to this point anyway). This only applies to all cards currently in the hand at the point this card is played. Defenses are:

  • AIDS: Both players show their hands
  • Fuck You: Glastnost player gets affected. Reverses direction.
  • Holy Defender: Passes it to the “next” person according to the current direction.

Holy Defender (Red 0),

Score is divided in half. This is a nice card to have. Most punishments can be avoided by playing this card. It will be passed to the next person. If you’re caught with this in your hand, add up your score as normal and divide in half. If you have a negative point total, this divides that in half, increasing your score.

Still unclear?

Comments, questions, etc, about the Hot Death Uno game as represented in these rules can be addressed to [email protected].

Don’t ask me about source code because I don’t have it. ;-) 

#Cybersecurity Evangelist, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.