I have read many reviews on Uno games over the year I have been into reviewing products and all were very positive in terms of fun and ease of use. However all the previous reviews concentrated on the card games that could be played with the Uno pack and I knew that would be a little hard for my children at their current ages. When I saw Uno Stacko in Woolworths for the bargain price of £4.99 I grabbed it and added it to the trolley without a second thought.
It was a few weeks before we got round to playing it though and when my son brought it into the dining room I cheerfully accepted a game. We opened the box and tipped out the bricks from inside. An array of different coloured bricks fell out, each with different numbers or symbols on the end of them.
The object of the game is to stack the bricks, three a breast, at different angles to each other, until you have a tower in front of you. There is no specific order to the brick building and they supply a cardboard straightener to aid the tower building process. The players take it in turns to remove one of the bricks from the stack, using only one hand and not tumbling the tower over, and placing it on the top of the pile. In other words Jenga!
The twist to this game though, was the colours and symbols on the bricks. Depending on which brick your opponent pulled out, depends which brick you have to follow with. For example, if your opponent pulls a blue brick with the number 3 on the end, you have to pull either another blue brick with any symbol, or any coloured brick with the number 3 on it. This obviously makes it much trickier and the tower much more unstable, as players are having to pull out bricks that would normally be avoided like the plague, due to being wedged in the stack, or too precariously wobbly and so on. There are other symbols too, which determine what happens during the game play, like an equals sign, which denotes that the next player must pull out two bricks and so on.
Our first attempt at this went fairly according to plan. We had an adult (me), a 12 year old and a 5 year old playing. There was some squabbling about turns, especially when a symbol was pulled that meant the order of play had to be reversed but other than that, everyone knew what they were doing. However, it soon became obvious that the bricks were too light to be really effective. We are used to playing Jenga, which is made from fairly heavy, wood bricks, and this allows the weight of the tower to help steady itself when playing. However the Uno Stacko version are made from plastic and each brick is very light, meaning as you try to pull one from the tower, it pulls everything out of shape and therefore makes the tower crash down far too early, simply from its lack of weightiness.
It says on the box that the game can be played with 2-10 players and from ages 7 upwards. I would probably agree with the age as my five year old had trouble pulling blocks out one handed, simply because of the size of his hands, whereas a seven year olds hands will be slightly bigger, allowing for an easier grip and span. As for the number of players, I personally think ten would be far too many. The tower is too unstable and I dont think it would last long enough for everyone to get maybe even one turn each. There are so many different game play symbols, that it could mean some players would be left out completely, as game order reverses and players have to miss goes, along with sometimes having to remove more than one block, it would become boring for players not really included in the action.
I do like the shape of the bricks, as each one has an indentation along the side, which makes it slightly easier to hook your fingers in and slip them out of the stack but again the more solid feel of Jenga is my preference.
Another positive aspect of the game is the fact that it will help younger players with colour and number recognition. As this is central to the way the game is played they will learn quickly, which numbers to look for, along with colour recognition and it helps them to think for themselves on multiple levels, about their next pick.
To be honest, we managed one proper game of Uno Stacko, and afterwards it was a case of building the tower and having fun just knocking it down. My two year old joined in and laughed hysterically as the bricks flew everywhere, and then she and my son began building little houses etc, with the bricks, much like large lego. Since then, it has not been played with except as a building set and this is a shame as I think the idea of Jenga, but played with colours and numbers is a very good one and would be a great family game if they made the bricks heavier, allowing for more stability in the original tower. The higher you get the tower the more unstable it gets and this is the fun part. Not having the wobbles from the first pull of a brick!
I would not pay the RRP on this of £9.99 and am glad I got it half price, as it does look like it will be relegated to the back of the games cupboard.
For 2 - 10 players, ages 7 Years+.