A Game to Help Students Follow Directions

My hubby’s family loves getting together and playing games- we always have tons of fun! Last time we got together we played a game called Mau.  I have never heard of it before then. It’s kind of like crazy 8s or Uno, but it’s all about rules. RULES!!! Who likes rules? Nobody. Except when it comes to this game.  I haven’t decided 100% if I’m going to do this at the start of the year as an ice breaker or not, but I thought I would share the idea just in case!

Basics of the game (from wikipedia):

“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 are placed face down as the drawing stack. At the beginning of the game the topmost card is revealed, then the players each get a turn to play cards.

One 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, they 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.”

*We used two decks of cards and each person got 7 cards to start.*

Sounds simple, right?! WRONG! Check this out (still from wikipedia):

“However, there are a large quantity of unusual, and confusing rules. One may not speak of the rules, and the rules vary from group to group, and even within groups. A chairman (sometimes called the “Mau Master”) is usually elected before the first round, and generally whoever has won the previous round, is elected the new chairman. The chairman may edit the rules however he or she sees fit, but they still have to follow their own rules.”

Our Starting Rules:

1. Once the game begins, you can not talk unless it is a rule to say a particular phrase or  you call “Point of Order” -Which is like a time out. Person who calls Point of Order is in charge of the point of order, during which anything can be discussed.

2. You can not look at your cards during point of order.

3. Jack is wild- changes suit to another. You must say the suit quickly because if you lay the card down and speak too slowly, someone else can call out a new suit and still it from you.

4. An 8 reverses the order. (example: clockwise to counter clockwise)

5. Any time you discard  a spade, you must say “____ of spades”.

6. You can call penalty on anyone who does not follow a rule correctly. They MUST say “thank you” for the penalty in return. The person who receives the penalty gets an additional card added to their hand from the drawing stack.

7. When you are down to your last card in your hand, you must say “last card”.

8. When you go out (discard all of your cards) you must say “Mau”. If you go out with a Joker, you must say “Mau, Mau”

9. If you discard a 2 of any suit, you must follow it with another discard card.

10. If you are playing with more than one deck, there are more than one of the same card. If someone plays a card you have in your hand, you can play it quickly before the next player plays a card.

11. Once you win a game, you can create another rule.

Benefits for Education:

1. This game forces students to pay attention to what they are doing. They have to be deliberate in their actions and not be a passive player.

2. The game forces students to follow the rules- in a fun way! Students HATE rules. This game game puts a positive spin on rules- especially when students are able to create their own funky rule. For example: Any time you play a 10 of any suit you must say “Mrs. Graham rules!” or something fun like that!

3. This game is a great lead into a discussion on consequences for actions- especially actions that it seems like you didn’t do anything wrong. A discussion can be had on the different between being proactive vs. reactive when it comes to school work.

4. This game is great for working that memory! Students have to remember a lot of stuff and constantly be on the look out.

If you plan on using this game in education, I would use fewer rules to begin- at least until students got the hang of it. Maybe also let them have a practice round with out any penalties (call the penalty, but not receive an additional card).