Uno Official Rules on Stacking

Stacking is a common move in Uno. It allows you to evade penalties from draw cards and unload that misery on other less-lucky players. Let’s say you’re playing against Dick and Harry for example. Dick plays a Draw 2. Since you have a Draw 4, you play it instead of drawing two cards and let poor Harry eat the stacked six-card penalty. Uno has declared this move illegal. You can retain stacking as a house rule if the other players agree, however.

According to official Uno rules stacking is illegal. You cannot stack a Draw 2 and a Draw 4. If a Draw 2 is played against you, you have to draw two cards. There is no counter. The same rule applies to the Draw 4.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a Draw 4, you have to draw four cards. If you suspect your opponent played the Wild Draw 4 illegally (i.e. they have a matching color card), you can challenge them to show you their cards. They have to comply. If you’re right your opponent will have to draw the four cards. You also get the benefit of seeing some of the cards they might play against you later. If you’re wrong, however, you will have to draw two extra cards on top of the four.

What is stacking in Uno?

Stacking is when a second player plays a draw card (say a draw 2) when the first player had already played a draw card (another Draw 2 or a Draw 4). This increases the number of cards the third player has to draw. The third player can also stack the deck and increase the number of cards the fourth player has to draw while evading the penalty themselves.

A deck of Uno has eight Draw 2 cards and four Draw 4 cards. Draw 2s have to match but the Draw 4 is a wildcard so it has all four colors. It can be played at any time provided the player has no other matching cards.

Let’s take an extreme scenario where a game of Uno has ten players and the draw cards are evenly distributed. If stacking is allowed, something like this could happen:

  • Player 1- Red Draw 2
  • Player 2 – Red Draw 2
  • Player 3 – Wild Draw 4
  • Player 4 – Blue Draw 2
  • Player 5 – Blue Draw 2
  • Player 6 – Wild Draw 4
  • Player 7 – Yellow Draw 2
  • Player 8- Yellow Draw 2
  • Player 9 – Wild Draw 4
  • Player 10 – Green Draw 2

End of the first round

  • Player 1 – Green Draw 2
  • Player 2 – Wild Draw 4

At this point, all draw cards in the deck have been played.

  • Player 3 – Draw 32 cards

Because no one has been drawing any cards, and they just keep stacking, the card penalties accumulate until all the draw cards have been played. Player 3 is then is forced to draw 32 cards. Being stuck with 32 cards almost certainly guarantees you’ll lose that round. There is no way to shed them quickly enough. Even thinking about it hurts.

Player 3 can save their skin by stacking a skip or a reverse card if they have one and house rules allow for it but that just sends the pain elsewhere. Someone will have to eat that +32 eventually.

The scenario above is obviously the most extreme and the probability of it occurring is extremely low. Yet it perfectly illustrates the dangers of stacking Draw 2 and Draw 4 cards and why the move is illegal. 

Can you stack cards in Uno?

Yes and no. Uno’s official rules ban stacking but your house rules are what you make them. When Uno announced on Twitter that stacking was illegal, many fans vehemently disagreed. 

The disagreement over stacking continues. Many players insist that they will keep on stacking Draw 2s and Draw 4s with or without Uno’s permission. You can choose to either stack or not. It all depends on the views of the people you’re playing with.

Is Stacking in Uno an official rule?

Yes. Stacking is an official rule even though it has long been ignored by many players. It is not in the rule book or even online but has been extensively discussed by Uno’s official Twitter account.

Can you stack different colors in Uno?

You cannot stack any cards in Uno. When it comes to matching, you play different colored cards as long as the numbers on the cards match e.g. a green seven and a red seven. Also, you can only play one card per round. 

Can you stack plus 4 in uno?

You can’t officially stack Draw 4s and Draw 2s in Uno. If you’re playing by your own house rules, however, you can agree on what can be stacked on what and the limits of that stacking.