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Mao Card Game Rules and Game Play

Mao is a popular shedding card game. The players aim to eliminate all the cards in their hands in this card game. Many people think the game is Chinese (due to its name), but the similar German Mau Mau most likely inspired it. 

Let’s look at what this card game is all about.

What is the Mao Card Game?

As a shedding game, Mao is sure to be a fun time for people who enjoy games like Crazy Eights or Canasta. However, what makes Mao quite interesting is its versatile rules. 

While games like Poker can be quite complicated, it’s often understood that beginners will have time to learn the ropes. In Mao, beginners are traditionally dropped into the game and expected to pick up the rules as they go. 

It’s expected that players will make mistakes but get better as they play. So, don’t panic about not knowing everything right away. Mao also has many different rules sets so that you can customize the game to your liking in various ways.

You need three people to play Mao, but the game is best with five to eight players. Each player is given the same number of cards; the dealer then officially announces that the game has begun. 

The leftover cards are placed in the center with one card face up next to the stock. Players must match the value or the suit of this card to play one of their own. If a player can’t play a card, they must take one from the stock and add it to their hand. 

The game is over when one player uses up all their cards. Now I know what you might be thinking; this sounds just like Uno. But, of course, Uno is one of the most popular shedding card games, so similarities are to be expected. 

This is also just the game’s basic rules; there is much more to learn about Mao, including how special cards work. So before we look at the rules, let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need to play this fun card game. 

What You’ll Need to Play?

You’ll need cards to play Mao. If you’re playing with more than three people, you can use two decks instead of one. While playing cards aren’t hard to find, you could always opt for some extra-special ones for your next card game. 

These Bicycle Sea King Playing Cards would make a great choice. Once you’ve got your cards, you can get ready to play Mao. But, first, let’s look at how you set up a game and examine the rules you need to know. 

Rules and Gameplay 

Rules and Gameplay

The Aim of the Game 

The first basic rule – a player has to get rid of all the cards in hand. 

This might sound easy, but there are several different ways you can play Mao, which can make clearing your hand quite tricky. Below we’ll outline the basic rules and then go over some of the advanced rule sets you can use.

The Set-Up 

First, choose a dealer; ideally, this should be the most experienced card player. The dealer should shuffle the cards and then deal them out. The dealer decides how many cards are dealt.

The recommended deal is seven cards for smaller games, while in larger games, three cards usually are dealt. Once the cards are dealt with, the dealer should place the remainder of the cards in the center and flip one over to start the discard pile. 

The dealer should then announce that the game has begun, and you can start playing. The dealer goes first, and play continues in a clockwise motion. Under traditional rules, no one can look at their cards until the dealer officially announces the game’s start. 

Playing Mao 

You will need to get rid of a card from your hand on your turn. You can do it by matching the value or suit of the card on the discard pile. If you cannot play any cards, you must take one from the deck and add it to your hand. 

Under the basic rules, cards have no special properties, meaning it’s just a race to see who plays all their cards first. The winner becomes the dealer for the next round. The first player to win three matches wins the game. 

Advanced Rules 

Mao is quite similar to games like Uno and Uno Attack in many ways. You can even use special advanced rules to make cards act as wild cards or skip turn cards. There are numerous different rule sets, and you can even come up with your own. 

Think of it like the house rules you can use in Monopoly. Below we’ve listed some of the popular advanced rules you can use in your next game of Mao. 

Wild Cards 

A common rule is to use Jack cards as wild cards, making them valuable. If you keep the Joker cards in the deck, they can also act as wild cards. 

Skip a Turn 

If you play an Ace card, the next player will skip their turn. Jokers can again act as skip turn cards if they aren’t used for wild cards. 

Penalty Cards 

Mao is designed to be a quiet game. So if anyone talks, they will have to draw a penalty card and add it to their hand.

Mao Card Game – Fun For the Whole Family 

Mao is a fun card game with limitless possibilities. There are so many different ways to play that you’ll be sure to have a good time. So, if you’re looking for a new card game the whole family can enjoy, give Mao a try. 

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