Inflict this on your friends!

Last week, I introduced Shelly and my friends K., E., and K. to oneof my all-time favorite games, Mao.

Mao is named after Mao Tse Tung, the one-time Communist dictator of China. It’s a card game with a simple premise: The players (except the dealer) are not allowed to know the rules of the game before they play, and the players are punished for not knowing the rules.

Kind of like life in China, really.

The dealer can’t win the game. The dealer is the only person who knows the rules when play begins, and players must learn the rules by being punished when they break those rules. If you’re a good player, you strive to learn from other people’s mistakes.

It’s a great party game. There are thousands of varieties, with new ones cropping up all the time, so that players who’ve played before can still enjoy (if enjoy is the right word) Mao. Varieties exist which are drinking games, stripping games, sex games, or all three, though the basic version of Mao involves none of these things.

Just in case you want to inflict this game on those you know and love, here’s the variant we played:

Rules for Mao