We're all connected 24/7 to computers, tablets, phones and television. But there's more to life than being online – even for a digital media company! – so this week we're excited to show you ways to connect with family and friends, even when there's no signal. Steinhafels presents OnMilwaukee Unplugged Week, a celebration of all things analog. Sit back, log into these stories and then log into the real world.
Earlier this week, Jeff Sherman wrote about spending time with the family playing the 45-year old card game Uno. It's easy to learn and fun for kids and adults. As he also mentioned, newer versions of the basic deck might come with variant "house" rules included (and, further still, separate expanded versions feature other unique inclusions like automated card flippers).
Using the idea of those house rules as inspiration, my family and friends created an off-the-wall variant that we call Uno Throwdown. It can be played with a standard deck of Uno cards (though, if you want to cut down on shuffling, I recommend getting two).
The creation of the game happened one night probably a decade ago (this is back when The Buddha Lounge on North Avenue was still the 24-hour coffee shop Node). My younger brother Adam McDowell, my then-girlfriend Chelsea Muench and I, drunk on coffee, began stuffing the rule book with variations. Since then I've never played an "official" game of Uno and we've played it so many times that I can't remember where the official rules end and our crazy rules begin.
It started because I had a handful of six and nine cards, none of them matching, and I wished I could dump them all in one swoop to win the game.
"Sixes and nines should be interchangeable," I declared, but was quickly shot down.
After subsequently losing that game and while dealing out a new hand for the next game, I set the variation. "Okay, this time sixes and nines ARE interchangeable." For whatever reason, my friends allowed the delusion and the game began. As the night progre…