OBJECTIVE OF MAU MAU: The first player to earn 150 points wins the game  

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4 players 

NUMBER OF CARDS: 32 cards 

RANK OF CARDS: (low) 7 – Ace (high) 

TYPE OF GAME: Hand Shedding Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Kids and Adults 


Mau Mau is a German hand shedding card game much like Crazy Eights, UNO, or Shithead.  During each round, players are racing to get rid of all the cards in their hand.  Some cards have special powers like the 7 which forces the next player to draw two cards, and Jacks which are wild.  What separates Mau Mau from other hand shedders is its small 32 card deck.  This keeps the game moving at an exciting pace.   

Each round, the player that empties their hand earns points based on the remaining cards that their opponents have.  Rounds are played until one player earns 150 points or more, and that player is the winner. 


Mau Mau uses a 32 cards deck ranging from (low) 7 up through Ace (high).  Determine a dealer and have that player deal five cards to each player after thoroughly shuffling the deck.  Place the rest of the cards in a face down pile as the stock.  Turn the top card over to begin the discard pile.


The player left of the dealer gets to go first.  During each player’s turn, they can play one card to the discard pile.  In order to do so, that card must match the suit or rank of the card showing on the top of the discard pile.   

If a player cannot (or does not want to) play a card, they draw one from the top of the stock.  If that card can be played, the player may do so if they choose.  If the card cannot be played, or if the player does not want to play it, the turn ends. 


Some of the cards have special powers that affect the game play. 

If a 7 is played, the next player must draw two cards from the stock and pass their turn.  They may not play any cards on the discard pile.  7’s can be stacked.  If the player that would draw two has a 7, they may play it.  The next player must then draw four cards.  Again, if they have a 7, they can play it, and the next player would draw six.   

If an 8 is played, the next player is skipped. 

If a is played, turn order immediately reverses direction. 

Jacks are wild and can be played on any other card.  The person who plays the Jack also picks the suit that must be played next. 


When a person plays their second to last card, they must say Mau.  If they fail to do so, and another player says it first, the player that did not say Mau must draw two cards as a penalty.  After drawing, that player is not allowed to play any cards. 

If a person’s final card is a Jack, they must say Mau Mau.  If the player wins the round by playing their Jack after only saying Mau, and an opponent catches them, they must draw two cards as a penalty.  The game continues. 


The round ends once a person has played their final card.  After tallying up the score, continue playing rounds until one player earns 150 points or more. 


The player that emptied their hand earns points based on the cards remaining in their opponents’ possession.   

7’s – 10’s are worth the value of the number on the card. 

Queens, Kings, and Aces are worth 10 points each. 

Jacks are worth 20 points each. 


The first player to earn 150 points or more wins the game. 

Mark Ball
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