Dale Yu: Review of UNO Quatro

UNO Quatro

  • Designer: Tara Taehyun Kim
  • Publisher: Mattel
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 7+
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Played three times with copy provided by publisher
  • Amazon affiliate link

UNO Quatro is the newest release in the classic UNO line.  Last week, I mentioned that Mattel, the game’s publisher, is looking to hire a new Chief UNO Player (CUP) to help promote the gamehttps://shop.mattel.com/pages/chief-uno-player.  $4,444.44 a week for 4 hours a day for 4 days a week sounds pretty sweet!

UNO Quatro manages to combine the ideas in two classic games, UNO and Connect something-or-other.   There are tiles which are numbered from 0 to 5 in the four familiar colors from UNO; 11 tiles in each color.  They are dumped in a bag and mixed up, and each player draws three tiles for their opening hand.

The board has seven columns on it, each of which is found on a removable tray.  They neatly snap into place, but can easily be pried out and moved into a different slot.  The trays are also slightly offset from the bottom of the board so that tiles can be pushed out of the bottom of the tray onto the table.

The goal of the game is to be the player who first makes a row, column or diagonal of four tiles which share the same number or color.  When it is your turn to play, you must drop a tile down from the top of any column.  When it lands, in order to be legal, it must be adjacent (orthogonally or diagonally) to at least one other tile that shares either its color or number.  If you are unable to play, you may do a one-time swap of a tile from your hand for a tile from the bag.  If you are unable to play after the swap, you pass on your turn.

Some of the tiles have action icons printed in their corners.  If you have played a tile with one of the icons, you must take the action shown.

  • Swap: You must swap the position of any two trays on the board
  • Push: You must push down on the tile that you played so that the bottom most tile pops out and is placed back in the bag.  All other tiles in that column will end up one space lower than before the push.
  • Minus 2: The next player must randomly discard two of their tiles back to the bag.

Once you have applied the action (if there was one at all), you check to see if the game is over – that is if there is a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of Quatro tiles in a row that all share an attribute.  If so, the current player is the winner!  Otherwise, the current player draws tiles to bring their hand back up to 3 and then the next player takes their turn.

My thoughts on the game

I had the chance to play the game at the Mattel booth at Gencon, and it was a game filled with laughs and more strategy than I expected.  As everyone is playing on the same board, you are trying to set yourself up for a play in the future without directly setting up someone else to win.  It’s a trickier balance that it looks at first glance.

While you are trying to figure out what to do, sometimes you’ll play a tile with a particular color or number you want in a slot; though I find more often I’m just trying to block things.  More than anything else, I feel like I should worry about another player inadvertantly setting up a win condition.  So, if there is 2 in a row already; unless I’m working on a secret plan for myself; I’m probably trying to block that 2-fer in order to stop it from becoming a 3-in-a-row.  I might do this by playing a tile in the right spot; though the swap and push actions can also accomplish the same goal.

So far, I’ve played three times, and two games were won when Player A had no choice but to play a tile that set up a possible win and then Player B simply had the right tile to win.  As the board fills up, there seems to be plenty of near-win situations on the board.  The third game was won by a long term play where a tile was placed and then a clever swap brought a nice Quatro-in-a-row situation into being.

The tiles are nice and sturdy, and I am pleased with how easy the column trays slip in and out of the board.  The game is even color-blind proofed as each color has a small but distinct icon in the upper right corner to allow everyone to be able to see the board situation easily.

The game combines ideas of two classic family games, but the addition of the numbers and colors really adds a lot of strategy to the proceedings.  The ability of tiles to move only furthers the possibilities and makes this a short but fun puzzle that can be enjoyed by all.  The rules are still quite simple, and the three special actions are all individually easy to understand.

These awesome UNO shoes are not included in the game

UNO Quatro would be highly recommended for a family game night.  Here is an Amazon affiliate link!

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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