Community Card Game

Here is a practice that we enjoyed in Jaffna while I was there. I found it to be very effective for community building.

Uno (from Italian and Spanish for ‘one’) is an American card game.

uno1The deck consists of 108 cards, of which there are twenty-five of each color (red, green, blue, and yellow), each color having two of each rank except zero. The ranks in each color are zero to nine, “Skip”, “Draw Two” and “Reverse” (the last three of these being classified as “action cards”). In addition, the deck contains four each of “Wild” and “Wild Draw Four” cards.

To start a hand, seven cards are dealt out to each player, and the top card of the deck is flipped over and set aside to begin the discard pile. The player to the dealer’s left plays first, unless the first card on the discard pile is an action or Wild card. On a player’s turn, he must do one of the following:

  • play a card matching the discard in color, number or symbol
  • play a Wild card, or a playable Wild Draw Four card
  • draw the top card of the deck

If a player chooses to draw the top card of the deck, and that card is playable (it matches the discard, or is a playable wild card), then the player may (but need not) immediately play that card.

 N.B.: Uno card packs are easily available in the market and rules of the game can be learnt by going to the internet and by practice.

This game builds “one” community as its name suggests! It is effective when all the community members sit together to play the game (formators and formees). The game creates a sense of equality and togetherness while at the same time it adds fun to community living. It gives occasion to plenty of laughter together! A great stress-buster! A typical game for a weekend evening. My last community (a formation house of postulants) played it on Sunday evenings over some snacks and with background songs! The game was incorporated in the formation plan with the belief that “a community that plays together stays together!”.

– Joseph Jeyaseelen, Srilanka.