The Uno boys

Students pledge to play card game every Friday in the ARC

The Uno boys pledged to play card game every Friday in the ARC.
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One night in early January, three Queen’s students were at Kame Sushi and Bento on Division St. eating ramen when, they tell The Journal, they realized they hadn’t done anything whack in a while.

Political studies student Grant Hildreth, history student Nick Schumacker—who’s also a drama student—and Geoffrey Hodges had known each other for a few years, and all three of them loved games. Every Thursday night, they played Dungeons and Dragons.

That night at Kame, they decided they would play Uno, the colourful card game popularized in the 1990s, at the ARC every Friday at noon and see who joined.

What did they know about Uno?

“So little,” Hodges said, when The Journal joined them for a game last Friday. 

At noon on Jan. 17, they sat on the floor just outside DrugSmart. Hildreth had a grocery bag full of Clif bars and Gatorade. Hodges had a takeout box of beef teriyaki, and Schumacker had a single cup of coffee. Their breath was visible from the cold when they talked, but they were prepared to stay for hours.

The ARC was an ideal location to entice students into impromptu Uno games, the three explained.

The building has heavy traffic, and people could play while they were eating lunch.

As a game, the three said they chose Uno to foster an “open space.”

“Uno is easy. All you have to do is know how to count to ten,” Hildreth said. “It’s easy to get a large number of people in and out.” He added that if people only had time for one game, they can quickly be dealt in.

As the Uno three played, they cracked jokes, often forgetting whose turn it was and getting riled up at the appearance of a plus four, the most powerful card in the game.

“Friendships are born and made on the battlefield here,” Hildreth said.

Occasionally, and with little success, the three beckoned to students passing by.

“It’s part of the game,” Hildreth said. “You can’t hate the players.”

The three said they have two goals. First, they want their weekly rendezvous to grow to the point of requiring a second deck. The second is pass down responsibility for the Uno games, should none of them be at Queen’s next year.

“Whoever wins the last Uno game of the term will take over,” Hildreth said.

The three said they would  stay at the ARC playing Uno until 5 p.m. every week.

“We’ve had a pretty whack year so far, so I figured people need some positive mojo in their lives,” Hildreth said. “Playing a game designed for eight-year-olds is pretty positive mojo.”

He referenced the Australian wildfires, the climate crisis, and the recent Iranian plane crash to justify the need for lightness in the Queen’s community. “That’s pretty heavy stuff to deal with right out of the gate.”

“Forget it all with a few rounds of Uno,” he said. “If anything, it makes people laugh, so that’s a win.”

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Corrections

This article has been updated to reflect Hilldreth's correct major.

The Journal regrets the error.

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