OBJECT OF MUSTAMAIJA: The object of Mustamaija is to not be the last player holding cards.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 6 players

MATERIALS: A standard 52 card deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Beating Card Game

AUDIENCE: Children, teens, and adults


Mustamaija is a beating card game playable by 2 to 6 players. The goal of the game is to either successfully attack or defend, and not be the last player to hold cards.

There is no winner, only a loser at the end of the game.


The dealer is chosen at random. They will shuffle the deck and deal each player a hand of 5 cards. The remaining cards form a face-down talon that will be drawn from.

The trump suit will be determined after the first player plays their card but before they draw for their turn. the top card of the talon is flipped to reveal the suit. If it’s spades the card is buried in the middle of the deck and a new card is revealed. The revealed card is placed faceup underneath the talon, so the suit is still visible. It will be the last card drawn.

Card Ranking

The ranking is traditional with Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 (low).

The trump suit always outranks a non-trump suit. The exception is the queen of spades. The queen of spades cannot beat any card and is the lowest ranking card unless lead in an attack. When led alone or with other spades she cannot be beaten even by trumps or higher-ranking cards.


The game starts with the player to the dealer’s left and continues clockwise. There will always be one attacker and one defender. The defender is always the player to the left of the attacker.

On an attacker’s turn, they will lead any number of cards of the same suit. They are placed face-up on the table. If the attacker has less than 5 cards in hand now, they will draw up to five cards from the talon.

The defender now must play. They may choose to beat any number of the cards by either playing a higher-ranking card over it or by playing any trump if the lead cards were of a non-trump suit.

Any cards that are beaten are taken and set aside with their beaters. Any unbeaten cards are taken into the defender’s hand. If the defender has less than 5 cards in hand after this, they must draw up to 5 cards from the talon.

If the defender beat all the cards, they become the new attacker. If they did not the attacker is passed t the player on the defender’s left.

Before the talon is exhausted an attacker may lead more cards than the defender has in hand, but once the talon is exhausted this is no longer allowed.

Once the talon is exhausted the rules change slightly. Players will no longer draw cards for their hand. Once a player has no cards in hand they are out of the game and safe.


The game is played till only one player remains. This player is the loser.

Amber Crook
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