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UNO Celebrates A Half Century of Fun and Games

UNO Launches Yearlong Lineup of Products, Partnerships and Celebratory Events to Commemorate 50th Anniversary

Mattel is launching a full year of new products, partnerships and events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Uno.

Uno was originally developed in 1971 by Merle Robbins of Reading, Ohio, who played it with family and friends. As it became more popular in the Cincinnati suburbs, Robbins invested $8,000 to have 5,000 copies the game produced, which he originally sold at his barbershop. Later some local businesses began to sell it as well, and then Robins sold the rights to a group of friends headed by a local funeral director for $50,000 plus a 10 cent royalty payment per pack of cards.

The funeral director, Robert Tezak, formed International Games to market Uno from the office behind his funeral parlor, and the rest, as they say, is history. The game became a runaway success, and International Games was purchased by Mattel in 1992.

Today, according to data from the NPD Group, Uno is the world’s most popular card game by sales.

“For 50 years, UNO has brought people together by transcending language, culture and age through gameplay. As the number one game in the world, we’ve maintained its origins of a beloved family pastime, while evolving into a cultural phenomenon,” said Ray Adler, Global Head of Mattel Games. “Combining the brand’s roots of inclusivity and simplicity, the passionate global fan base, and unprecedented momentum, UNO’s 50th anniversary is a yearlong celebration of the brand’s past, present and future.”

Adler says the brand is celebrating 50 years of bringing people around the world together through a range of commemorative products and offering new twists on gameplay, with products available for purchase beginning this month. Those offerings will include the UNO 50th Anniversary Premium Card Set, the Uno 50th Anniversary card deck; a collection of five “Iconic” decks with designs from the past five decades; a new game called Uno Remix that allow you add special remix cards to the deck; and a new version of the game called Uno Attack.

Mattel is also organizing a year of special events, including the first ever UNO Championship Series, and Celebratory Games held online. UNO will also be collaborating with a variety of iconic names across art, fashion, sports, and more to create uniquely designed products from fan-favorite names and brands.

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