Uno Challenge Rule

An Uno hand with the Wild Draw 4 on top.

The Wild Draw 4 card is the most powerful one in many Uno decks. If you have ever had one played against you, you know how devastating it can be. Since the entire purpose of the game is getting rid of your cards as soon as possible, stocking up on cards while your opponents are shedding theirs severely limits your chances of winning. But did you know you can challenge a Draw 4?

The Uno Challenge Rule allows you to ask an opponent to show you their cards if you suspect them of playing the Draw 4 illegally. It’s illegal to play the Wild Draw 4 when you have another matching card you can play.

What is an illegal Draw 4 in UNO?

Cards in Uno, be they action cards or regular numbered cards can be played however and whenever a player wants. All except the Wild Draw 4 card. You are only supposed to play this card when you legitimately have no other card to put down on the discard pile.

Let’s say you have two cards left. A Wild Draw 4 and a green 7 and it is your time to play. The card facing you is a green two. The guy next to you only has one card left and you fear he might win the game. Playing a Wild Draw 4 against him seems like a pretty easy way to delay his victory and possibly guarantee your own, right?

Wrong. At least according to the official rules. Since you have a green card, you have to play it. You can only play the Wild Draw 4 when you have no other matching card. But the other players can’t see your cards anyway so what could go wrong? The guy next to you could ask to see your cards.

What happens if you challenge someone in UNO?

If another player suspects you of using the Wild Draw 4 against them illegally, they can challenge you. When that happens, you have to show them your cards. You don’t have to show the other players your cards. Only the challenger. And only the player you used the Wild Draw 4 against can challenge it.

If you have a matching card that you decided against playing and instead unleashed a Wild Draw 4 on your opponent, you will have to draw the four cards yourself.

When can you challenge the Draw 4 wildcard?

You can only challenge a Wild Draw 4 card when it’s played against you. If you think the player has a matching card that they decided against playing in favor of a Wild Draw 4, you can challenge them. If you suspect a player of using the Wild Draw 4 against another opponent, you can’t really do anything about it. You have to be on the receiving end of a Draw 4 in order to challenge it.

What happens when you challenge a Wild Draw 4 in UNO?

Two men fighting with sword and spear.

If you think a player has used a Wild Draw 4 illegally, you can challenge them to show you their cards and they have to comply. Once they show you their cards, you can confirm whether or not they’re breaking the rules. If you’re right, they draw six cards and you get the satisfaction of deflecting a Draw 4.

The keyword is “think”, however. If you think wrong and challenge a player who played the Wild Draw 4 legitimately, you will have to draw two cards as a penalty. The Wild Draw 4 will remain in effect so you will have to draw those four cards as well. That’s a six-card penalty.

Unless you’re counting cards, it can be hard to be sure that an opponent played a Wild Draw 4 against you illegally. Even then, the margins of certainty are not guaranteed. Like everything else in Uno, you have to weigh the risk versus reward. 

Roll over and draw four cards or challenge the move and pray that you’re right. If you’re right, you turn the tables on your opponent and get a look at the other cards they may use against you. If you’re wrong, you have to draw six cards (four cards from the legitimate Wild Draw 4 plus two more as a penalty). This essentially guarantees a loss.

What’s the penalty for a wrong challenge?

The penalty for a wrong challenge is two cards. But keep in mind that because the Draw 4 still applies, when your challenge fails, you will actually have to draw six cards.