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Uno Spin

While watching the Democratic National Convention the other night, I caught a glimpse of the father of three kids I used to teach.  He was in profile at the edge of the screen, chewing gum, and then he kind of lunged forward for a split second and his face filled my television.  I was able to hit rewind on my remote (since I have DVR) to double check.  Not exactly an old friend, but a fun face to see in that arena.  The next night I caught a glimpse of another familiar  site lurking on the edges during the DNC--Uno Spin.  The Obama family was playing it as part of the montage of Barack's life--of all the things they could have been shown doing together, they chose to be seen playing Uno Spin.  I totally get that.  It's a great game--the familiar card game we all know so well (the one I've finally forgiven for being such a blatant rip-off of Crazy Eights) and the spin aspect adds some great touches.  The spinner itself is satisfyingly sound--not only because it makes a satisfying sound (think Wheel of Fortune) but because it works so smoothly (unlike the spinner in The Game of Life--which has gotten so rickety that they've added a new twist to the game--a person whose 'career' is in computers, actually earns money every time the spinner goes off its track).  And some of the wheel's rules are quite fun--'Trade Hands' means everybody passes their entire stack of cards to the player to their left, 'Show Hand' means you have to hold your cards up for everyone to scrutinize.  You can definitely hit a patch of bad luck in Uno Spin, but most of the bad luck is publicly and objectively ordered by the spinner, and not by a vengeful sibling discarding mean-spirited cards to prompt a whole lotta pain.  Of course there's room for that too (we wouldn't want to miss out on all that kind of fun), but as in Sorry!, it's comforting to not have every bad turn be the result of some overly-competitive family member. Phew. No wonder the Obamas looked so happy playing it.