|The Baltimore Science Fiction Society would like to present a card
game for two or more players designed by person or persons unknown. |
What follows immediately is the version taught by Matt Ryan (Boston, MA).
BSFS received a document that outlines rules for MAO as played in Evansville,
to check them out.
Using a single, standard 52 card poker deck, the dealer deals each player three cards.
The remaining cards become the draw pile. The top card
from the draw pile is placed face up next to the draw pile to become the discard pile.
Value of the cards:
Cards have no special value other than what they are.
1) After shuffling the deck, the dealer (chosen by any convenient method)
deals three cards to each player.
2) The dealer states "The name of the game is Mao."
3) Each new player must figure the rules out from the play,
not thru any explanation...[see rules # 6 & 7, below].
4) In turn, going clockwise, initially, each player must place card from
their hand onto the discard pile, matching the previous card's number
5) Each player must draw a card from the draw pile, if they can't play.
6) Each player must draw card from the draw pile for any question asked.
7) Each player must draw card from the draw pile for explaining.
8) Each player must draw card from the draw pile for not playing when it's
9) Each player must draw card from the draw pile for not saying the name
of the game when they play the last card in their hand.
10) Each player must draw card from the draw pile if they swear.
11) The dealer can only introduce one new rule per hand or, alternately,
throw out one old rule.
12) The deal rotates clockwise around the table so that each person
gets a chance to deal in turn.
According to Matt Ryan (who introduced this game to the "Strange Card Game Players"
at BucConeer), "Mao" is named after Mao Tse Tung (fancy that). The game was played
in Chinese prison camps. Occasionally, they received orders to execute a dissident as
an example to other dissidents. The guards did not always have someone picked
out, so they would play the game with the guards setting the rules. The rules were
always changing. If you won, you were safe.
The last prisoner left was executed.
(And you thought being scum in
Social Class was bad.)
This is, ostensibly, total hearsay, third- or fourth-hand from a Chinese dissident.
How to Win:
Get rid of all of your cards.
Examples of Play:
During the first turn, the dealer could introduce the "Have a nice day" rule.
"When you play a 7, you must say 'Have a Nice Day' and the person after you
has to draw a card from the draw pile, unless they have a 7, in which case they
can play it and tell the person after them to "Have a Very Nice Day", and that
person has to draw two cards, unless that person has a 7, whereupon they can
play it and tell the person after them to "Have a Very Very Nice Day" etc....
Other rules that have been used from one time or other:
8's change direction of play.
If you point, you have to draw a card (to stop people from non-verbal explanations.)
Because of the no-swearing rule, players have ended a hand with over a dozen cards.
When you reach two cards you have to say "Holy Cow!"
(In this instance, Holy Cow does not count as a swear word.)
When you reach one, you have to say "Uno".
Feedback would be appreciated as to the mechanics of this game, or are we saying
Isn't this annoying?
The greatest card game of all time has been played a great deal over the past
five years by disgruntled University of Evansville students and graduates.
It has evolved quite nicely into the game with the specific rules that follow, and
all are strongly enforced, widely lly, the one rule of Mao is that one can't be told
the rules at all. Rather they are supposed to be learned by trial and error in a
game. I do feel like slime revealing the rules, but I have found myself introducing
the game to so many new people at once, that not telling the majority of players
the rules is quite counterproductive to the advancement of the game. So to
compromise, the rules must be revealed to the players only once.
Rules compiled by Christopher A. Dean, 10/24/00.
At least three, but ideal with five or more.
A minimum of one deck of cards per two players with the jokers taken out,
but ideal with one deck or more per player.
Nature of the Game:
The game is very similar to Uno and Crazy Eights except that Mao contains a
large amount of wonderfully picky details.
The dealer will in any fashion deal any number of cards, provided they at
least seven or more is dealt to each person, with every player receiving the
same number. The remaining undealt cards are placed face down to form either
a single pile or multiple piles from which to draw from, henceforth known as
the stock. The players must not look at the face values of their cards before
the dealer does.
After the deal, the dealer says: "The game will begin with (name) and will go
towards (name) or (clockwise/counterclockwise)." The dealer will then turn up
a top card from the stock to form the stack, at which point the game has
officially begun. The beginning card of the stack has no value other than to
establish a face value and suit.
The player whose turn it is must either place onto the stack a card of the same
suit or the same value (2, 5, Jack, Ace, etc.) as the one preceding it, subject
to the game rules. If such an appropriate card does not exist in their hand, that
player must draw from the stock until such a card can be played. The object of
the game is to discard all the cards in one's hand.
These cards have their own associated actions.
Ace Reverses the order of play.
2 Player plays again (EVEN if it's their last card).
7 If a player plays a 7, the next player must play a 7 or draw
(2 ^ Number Of Consecutive Sevens) cards. If so many collective
sevens are discarded that the number to be drawn by an unlucky
recipient exceed the total number of cards in play, the player
will only draw the number remaining in the stock.
8 Skips the next player.
Jack Wild card. A jack may be played at any time during a game, except
as detailed below. The person discarding a jack has one second to
declare the next suit to be played after they touch the jack to the
stack, elsewise another player may subsequently declare the suit.
Play continues in the proper order.
Spades Any player who plays any spade must name the spade. For example,
if a player discards the five of spades, they must always say
"Five of Spades".
When a player notices another player is committing an infraction of the rules,
they must say "Improper Procedure" to the player in question, and
state the nature of the infraction. The penalized player must subsequently
draw one penalty card from the stock per infraction and say one "Thank You"
per infraction to the individual who pointed out the tragic mistake at the
time of the draw. All penalizable infractions must be mutually agreed upon
by a majority of the players and understood as an Improper Procedure.
* If a player commits an improper procedure during their turn, they must draw
their penalty card at the completion of their turn, lest the penalty card
be drawn in the normal course of the turn, negating the punitive effect of
* If the penalized player or any third player notices that the penalty giver
is incorrect in their reason for attempting to give a penalty, they must
say "Bad Call" to the penalty giver and justify their reasoning. At which
point whomever the incorrect player is must take a penalty card and say
"Thank You" to the person who corrected them and an "I'm Sorry" to the
original sleighted penalty intendee.
* Should a player commit an infraction that is not immediately recognized,
and gameplay continues with a different player in turn discarding, that
player has escaped any penalty from their infraction, unless both occur
simultaneously, with the one exception below.
* Should a player discard incorrectly and the player following in turn
discards correctly with respect to the incorrect discard, both of the
players have committed penalizable infractions. Should this cycle of
incorrect discarding continue until the original player who discarded
incorrectly plays in turn, and in effect 'gets away with it', no penalties
may be issued thenceforth.
* When a player breaks more than one rule at a time in the game, they are
given the same number of cards as the number of rules they have broken.
For example, if a player plays a 7 of clubs on a 6 of diamonds, and it's
not that player's turn, they receive two penalty cards as well as the
discarded card back, one for playing out of turn and one for misplay.
These have a complicating, yet exhilarating effect upon gameplay. They
are the hallmark of what it means to play Mao.
* A player must discard or draw within five seconds of their turn commencing,
unless that person has a great deal of cards and the rest of the players
gives consensus for a longer time to sort, etc.
* When a person has one card remaining in their hand, they must declare
"One Card Left".
* Questions of any type are not permitted during normal gameplay.
* A player singing, humming, whistling, or otherwise emanating a musical rhythm
that is not audibly playing by mechanical or electronic means in the vicinity
of the game is not permitted.
* Swearing of any type is not permitted. Neither the original nor any sanitized
substitute such as "darn, shoot, fudge" etc. is allowable. What is really
being enforced is the state of the heart.
* When a player discards the last card in their hand they must immediately say
"Mao". If the last card that person discards is a Jack, they must within one
second say "Mao Mao", or be subject to a TWO card penalty. If the last card
that player discards is the Jack of Spades, they must within one second say
"Oom Papa Oom Mao Mao" and be subject to a THREE card penalty.
* Once a player touches the stock, they must take whatever cards they touch,
even if it's unintentional.
* A penalty will be issued should any rule be violated by a player during
gameplay. See further specifics in Improper Procedures below.
The Multiples Rule
If a player has an identical card in value and suit to a card that has just been
discarded by any player, whether it is that player's turn immediately following
or not, they may immediately discard and must say "Two" while doing so. If they
successfully discard before the person whose turn it is discards, everybody in the
direction of gameplay between those two players have been skipped, and it is then
the turn of the player normally following the person who 'twoed' in. If someone else
'twos' in after another player just did, that person must say "Three", etc.
* If a person is playing in turn and is discarding an identical card as the
previous person, they do not need say "Two".
* If a person is playing in turn and is discarding two identical cards, they
may place both identical cards down simultaneously, while saying "two".
* If a person is 'twoing' in upon another person with two or more identical
cards, they may place them down simultaneously saying "Three" and
"Four" etc. until the amount of cards have been identified.
* Should one person discard multiple 8s, that same number of following
players in turn are skipped.
The No Fag Rule
A Jack cannot be played onto another Jack at any point during the game for
The New Rule Rule
When a player has won three games, they are allowed to make any new rule
of their choosing. Hopefully they have the foresight to make it applicable and
fair (or unfair) to all players equally.
Point Of Order:
At anytime during the game, a player may say "Point of Order" for the purpose
of asking a question, singing a happy tune, going to the bathroom, or most
anything they would like subject to the below restrictions, and is in effect a
break in the gameplay. No penalties are generally to be given during a Point
of Order, subject to the restrictions below. To end a Point of Order, the same
player who called the Point of Order must declare "End Point of Order" anytime
they wish in a manner that is recognized by a majority of the other players. If it
is not known who declared the original Point of Order due to a heated conversation,
or any other reason, all the players can mutually agree to End Point of Order
* If the Point of Order was declared for the sole purpose to delay the game,
that is an immediately penalizable infraction.
* Swearing is still an immediately penalizable infraction.
* If a player declares "End Point of Order" did not call the original Point of
Order, they have committed an immediately penalizable infraction.
* If a player attempts to issue a penalty for a reason other than one of the
three above, that is also an immediately penalizable infraction.
* If a person commits an infraction due to not recognizing that End Point of
Order was declared, that is immediately penalizable as well as quite shameful.