Ugh! – Try your luck in this historic card game!

Recommended Age:8+
Play Time:20 Minutes
Our Recommended Age:5+ (Will need some help and might not understand strategy but could still play)
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Ugh! is a hilarious card game by Calliope that my kids like to play with and without us. Your goal is to get the most points but the trick is you can only get points from “locked” sets of cards (basically 1 of each color). Beware the Ugh! card as that can cause you to lose cards!

Ugh! is for 2 to 6 players and meant for ages 8+. The Diva is only 5 and can play with no real problem except she doesn’t win. If you remember we stop letting kids win at age 5…poor kid. We DO help with strategy though and encourage her to take specific cards or do specific things which she promptly ignores saying “I got this mom…” My how they grow quickly…

ughreview (2)The cards are standard card material and the artwork is adorable. Various cave people, dwellings, and animals are on the cards in a cartoon style that makes everyone giggle. The Ugh! cards are hilarious with a tornado spiraling a mammoth and triceratops through the air and a caveman stuck in a tree over a large fire.

My kids look at the cards and sometimes forget the game while they start telling a story based on the picture…it is fantastic! I am not a fan of the box and it might be my only complaint about the game at all.

I HATE those types of boxes that you have to fold in to close. While it is a secure if somewhat tight fitting for all these cards box, it is also a pain to open and I’ve ripped it twice…my son doesn’t want me opening it anymore. Anyway if you have no problem with those types then you should be fine…I just have issues and can’t seem to NOT rip them…I see a container in our future.

I do love the math part of it though and that it teaches kids a bit of strategy and planning. My son likes to take risk but is learning that if he has larger number cards he should Lock the set. The Diva sort of Locks everything she can but she hasn’t had the best luck with winning this one hehe. Now let me try to explain how to play!ughreview (3)


Get the most points by creating the most “sets” of cards (1 of each color).


What do we do with card games? Shuffle! Put the deck face down in the middle of all the players so they can reach them. You have to leave space for three piles called Safety Piles and one pile for the Discard Pile near the deck though. These can be on either side of the deck but we like to put the Safety piles on one side and the Discard on the other…it isn’t as confusing that way.

Everyone also needs a little space in front of them for their Locked cards, or Victory Pile as well as their Unlocked cards…these you can lose through out the game. No cards get dealt out though..which is weird I know but true. Oh and youngest player goes first…I never go first…


On your turn you have to take a card from the deck. No choice this must be done. Then as long as it is not an Ugh! card you can choose to Lock a set of cards. You don’t have to Lock cards but it is in your best interest as you the points on them is how you win…just saying.

Of course there is a lot more to it then that and I will try to explain. If the first card you flip over is an Ugh! card you have to follow the instructions on the card immediately and then add it to your Victory Pile. This is one I mentioned in the setup so make sure you have space for it. Also, this is the ONLY time you can keep an Ugh! card. If you flip one at any other time you have to apply it and it goes to the discard pile either way flipping one ends your turn…so there’s that.

I mean ends your turn as in over and done and you can not Lock cards or add any to your Pool and you cannot pass…sorry…but aside from that last bit the rest is true…which sucks. Not to mention some of those cards cause you to lose cards or if you are really unlucky can cause you to lose one card of every color! Ouch…ughreview (4)

That is the bad part but if you don’t draw an Ugh! card then you have to put that first number card you flip into the first Safety Pile. That is one of the Piles you left space for next to the deck. Now you have choices…

If you want to you can continue flipping and placing number cards into the second and third Safety Piles. Once you have placed one number card in the first Safety Pile you can then choose to either flip another for the second OR take that first card and put it in your card Pool.

You will have to either take a card from one of the Safety Pools OR press your luck and take the top card from the deck once that third Safety Pile is has had a card put in it. Remember though if you draw an Ugh! card at any time your turn is over…that is no fun if it is you but hilarious if it is someone else.

There is also a Wild Card which allows you to steal any card of any color from any other player’s Pool. The Wild Card gets discarded but you can’t use it to steal a Locked card. You can use it to steal another Wild or an All Wild card though!

ughreview (5)You could be nice and NOT steal another card and instead use it to complete a set at which point it becomes it is worth one point less than your lowest card in that set. Not confusing at all right? Ok good! Moving on…

You probably want to know how to Lock a set and I maybe should have mentioned it before but here we go. To Lock a set you have to have one card of each color which are Green, Orange and Purple. You can Lock a set at any point during your turn and you can make as many sets as you want from your Pool.

Once a set is Locked it cannot be stolen or affected by an Ugh! card which is nice but make sure you announce that you Locking a set. There aren’t any repercussions for not announcing but I’m sure someone will call you on my Gentleman who is a stickler for rules…


The game ends when the last card in the deck is flipped over. Before this, however, all other players have one last chance to lock any cards they can for more points. Unlocked cards do not count so make sure you lock what you can!ughreview (6)

If the final card flipped is an Ugh! card the game ends and that last player doesn’t get to lock any more cards. Assuming it isn’t an Ugh! card that player can take their final turn locking what cards they can and then everyone counts up their points.

To get points you have to multiply each number in a Locked set so (2x4x3 = 24) and then simply add up the total on the sets and then add 3 points for any Ugh! cards you have. Player with the most points is the winner!

The instructions give you some strategy tips and even how to play with Younger Players which is nice. To play with younger players just remove the Blue numbered and Blue background cards from the game and then add them back once they get the hang of it.

We didn’t do this as the Diva was able to pick up on the game easily enough. She does need to learn Strategy but that will happen over time and we do at least help her with that part.ughreview2Ugh! is a fantastic game that’s not only fun but funny, educational (there is math involved!), portable and helps teach strategy and planning. If you are looking for a new game for Family Game Night or a stocking stuffer/small gift for the holiday season this is the perfect choice!

Show us your best Ugh! face! @MyGeeklings @CalliopeGames

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”
~ O. Fred Donaldson

Author: sandyz