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Mau Mau (game)
Mau Mau is a card game for 2 - 5 players that is popular in Germany and some other areas. Whoever gets rid of his cards first wins the game. Mau Mau is very similar to the game UNO, both belonging to the larger Crazy Eights or Shedding family of card games. However Mau Mau is played with a regular deck of playing cards.
The game is played with a regular deck of playing cards. In Germany, most decks contain neither card values below 7 nor Jokers (as they are made for the national game of Skat), however Mau Mau is playable with any deck.
The players are dealt each a hand of cards (usually 5). The rest is placed face down as drawing stack. At the beginning of the game the topmost card is revealed, then the players each get a turn to play cards.
You can play a card if it corresponds to the suit or value of the open card. E.g. on a 10 of spades, only other spades can be played or other 10s. If a player is not able to, he draws one card from the stack. If he can play this card, he may do so, otherwise he keeps the drawn card and passes his turn.
If the drawing stack is empty, the playing stack (except for the topmost card) is shuffled and turned over to serve as new drawing stack.
Special card values
Some cards are special, because they affect the game directly -- a lot of variations exist in this matter:
- If a 7 is played, the next player must draw two cards at the beginning of his turn.
- If a 8 is played, the next player skips his turn.
- A Jack can be played regardless of the suit or value of the topmost card on the playing deck. Subsequently the player can decide freely the suit that has to be played next.
Rules for Mau Mau have existed at least since 1976.
As soon as a player plays his last card, he must say "mau" to win the game. If the last card is a Jack, he must say "mau mau" for double score. If a player forgets to say "mau", he must draw cards as penalty (usually 4) and hasn't won.
Some possible Variations
- Cards of the same value (not cards of the same suit, though!) can be played all together within one turn.
- If a 7 is played, the next player, who would have to draw two cards, can pass this penalty on to the subsequent player by playing a 7 too. This subsequent player must then draw 4 cards. He too could play a 7, requiring the next player to draw 6, etc.
- You may not play a Jack on another Jack.
- A popular variation is that a player must already say "mau" (or alternately "last card") as soon as he plays the next-to-last card and has just one card left in his hand. Failure to do so usually means the player has to draw 2 or 4 cards.
- A 9, a 10 or an ace are sometimes used to reverse the direction of play (clockwise and counterclockwise) or to let the player take another turn before reversing.
- In some regions an ace is used instead of the 8 to let the next player skip his turn. Alternately, an ace lets all other players skip, so that whoever played it plays again right afterwards.
- You may not end the game with a card that enables you to take another turn: you must then draw a card. If you can play it, you have won, otherwise the game goes on.
- An interesting variation is that whenever a Queen is played, players have to try and grab one from a stack of objects (coins, matches, etc.) of which there are one less than the number of players. The player who fails to grab an object "didn't get a girl" and he must draw 2 or 4 cards.
- In some regions you may not play cards in the same turn that you had to draw cards. Hence a 7 would result in the next player both having to draw two cards and effectively skipping his turn.
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