UNO Showdown (Rules and How to Play)

You can’t have too many UNO games. right? If you want a particularly fun addition to your collection, I suggest trying UNO Showdown, as it brings a great action twist to the original concept. My UNO Showdown rules will teach you how to play it.

UNO Showdown is one of the newest expansions to the ever-growing family of UNO card games. Mattel introduced the game back in 2020, but I must admit that I have tried it for the first time only now. After a few matches, though, I can honestly say that it’s my new favorite. 

UNO Showdown is built around the classic UNO rules, so if you’re already familiar with the basic game, you will quickly learn how to play this new version.

The main difference comes in the form of new Showdown action cards. Besides that, there’s also an electronic “card catapult” (it looks similar to the device used in UNO Attack – see our UNO Attack rules for comparison). 

As I’ll explain shortly, it’s used for the challenges and makes this game even more competitive.

This UNO Showdown rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is UNO Showdown?
  • What you’ll need to play UNO Showdown 
  • UNO Showdown rules
  • How to play UNO Showdown (video tutorial)
  • FAQs
  • Other similar games to UNO Showdown (our guides)

If you want to learn how to play UNO Showdown, read on for detailed instructions. 

What is UNO Showdown?

UNO Showdown is a simple spin-off built around the classic UNO card game. Thanks to the exciting addition of the dynamic duels, it works great as a family-friendly party game for all ages. 

Like the original UNO, the game still focuses mainly on card matching and combining, but this time you will also need your speed and dexterity to succeed.

Number of Players: 2 – 10 players

Ages: 7+

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Category: Matching card game

Similar to: UNO Classic, UNO AttackUNO Tippo 

Main Objective: Get rid of your cards faster than your opponents and score 500 points. 

Why We Love It: UNO Showdown is an excellent solution for those who find classic UNO games too peaceful. The duels certainly spice things up!

What You’ll Need to Play UNO Showdown

UNO Showdown cannot be played without the UNO Showdown game set. It contains 112 cards in total:

  • 19 Blue cards – 0 to 9
  • 19 Green cards – 0 to 9
  • 19 Red cards – 0 to 9
  • 19 Yellow cards – 0 to 9
  • 8 Draw 2 cards – 2 each in blue, green, red, and yellow
  • 8 Reverse cards – 2 each in blue, green, red, and yellow
  • 8 Skip cards – 2 each in blue, green, red, and yellow
  • 4 Wild cards
  • 4 Wild Draw 4 cards
  • 4 Wild Showdown cards

Besides the cards, the set also includes an electronic device called Showdown unit, which facilitates the duels between the players. This device needs 3 AAA-size Alkaline-type batteries, which most likely won’t be included in your set (they were not in mine).

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NOTE: If you’re shopping at Amazon, you may also come across the UNO Showdown Supercharged game set. This is an Amazon-exclusive version of this game with an upgraded Showdown unit that ejects cards even faster. The rules remain the same.

UNO Showdown Rules and Gameplay

Showdown is an upgraded version of the UNO game that adds a few new twists to the gameplay but doesn’t drift too far from the original. 

The game still draws from the basic UNO principles, which you can also find in our Classic UNO rules guide

Starting the Game

First, prepare all the materials you will need for this game: 

  • Take out the Showdown unit from the box, open its battery compartment and place three new batteries inside according to the scheme you’ll find in the attached leaflet.
  • Check if the unit works and place it where all the players can reach it.
  • Pick a dealer who will shuffle the whole deck of cards thoroughly. 
  • Each player gets seven cards.
  • The rest of the pile forms a draw pile. Place it face-down on the table.
  • Flip the top card from the draw pile and place it on the side as a foundation for your discard pile

Now when you have everything ready, you can start playing.

How to Play UNO Showdown

The player sitting on the left of the dealer starts the game. His goal (as well as the goal of everyone else) is to get rid of ALL his cards by playing them one by one on the discard pile. This is how to proceed:

  • The first player tries to play one of his cards on the discard pile by matching it with the current top card in at least one of the three important parameters: 
    • color, 
    • number, 
    • symbol.
  • Alternatively, the player can also use one of his Wild Cards (if he has any) since they can be played on any other card (I will explain them shortly). 
  • If the player has no matching card to play and no Wild Card he’d like to use instead (he can choose to save it for later), he must draw one card from the draw pile.

When the player discards one of his cards or draws one from the draw pile, his turn ends, and the next player to the left goes. The game proceeds until one of the players gets rid of all his cards, ending the round. 

Like in the classic UNO game, don’t forget to call out UNO when you have the last card in your hand. 

If the draw pile runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile and use it as a new draw pile. Of course, don’t forget to flip the top card immediately to start a new discard pile on the side. 

Wild Cards Explained

If you’re familiar with the classic UNO game (or some of its other spin-offs), you already know most of the wild cards in the Showdown version. Still, I’ll mention at least briefly what each of the cards means:

Number Cards: Standard playing cards without special functions. 

Draw Two: The next player draws two cards and loses their turn when you play it.

Reverse: This card changes the current direction of play. 

Skip: When you play it, the next player loses their turn.

Wild: You can choose the color for the discard pile. 

Wild Draw 4: You can choose the color for the discard pile, whereas the next player must draw four cards and loses a turn. 

Showdown: The number on the Showdown card tells you how many cards you should use for the duel. Then you challenge the next player on the turn as described below. 

Wild Showdown: You can choose the player you’d like to challenge in the duel and how many cards you will use. Moreover, you also get to choose the color for the discard pile.

Showdown Duels

When two players engage in a duel, this is how it proceeds:

  • Take the corresponding number of cards from the draw pile and place them into the designated compartment on the unit. 
  • Now the players sit on the opposite sides of the unit. Notice that there’s a black pedal for each of them. 
  • Next, one player (ideally someone who does not engage in the duel) presses the Timer button, which initiates the unit’s random countdown function. 
  • Both players now wait until the unit starts flashing green light: That’s when you try to hit the pedal in front of you as fast as possible – quicker than your opponent.
  • The unit’s catapult-like mechanism automatically shoots the card toward the slower opponent, who loses the duel. As a penalty for this loss, the loser must pick up the card and add it to their hand.

Continue this way until you have played all the cards in the unit’s compartment. 

UNO Showdown Scoring 

The round ends when one of the players gets rid of the last card (note: if this card forces the next player to draw some cards, he must do it before the round effectively ends).

Now the winner collects all the cards left in the opponents’ hands and counts their score as follows:

Number cards – Face value

Draw Two, Skip, Reverse – 20 points

Wild, Wild Draw Four – 50 points

Wild Showdown – 40 points

Whoever scores 500 points first wins the whole game.

How to Play UNO Showdown – Video Tutorial 

Note: This video tutorial discusses UNO Showdown Supercharged, which is a limited edition of this game with a slightly different design but identical rules.

UNO Showdown Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in UNO Showdown if a player presses the pedal before the light flashes?

If someone presses the pedal before the timer initiates the flashing light, the timer will automatically stop. The red light will flash on the side of the player who acted too fast. This player loses the duel and adds ALL the cards in play to their hand.

What if your last card in UNO Showdown is the Showdown card?

In this case, the player must engage in one last duel. If he wins, he wins the whole round. If he loses, the round continues until someone gets rid of their last card. 

How many Showdown cards does UNO Showdown have?

There are 20 showdown cards and 4 wild showdown cards in the set in total. That means that approximately every fifth card in the deck will initiate a showdown duel.

Other Similar Games to UNO Showdown (Our Guides) 

Are you looking for other similar games? Check out our guides to the following UNO Showdown alternatives:

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