Before the game starts, the person to the left of the dealer needs to cut. If a special card is found when the deck of cards is cut (see special cards below), that player can take that special card (if they want!). Then if the next card is also a special card, they can take it too. Up to three special cards can be taken if they are found together. If the fourth card is also a special card, the deck must be shuffled again and cutting is repeated.
1. Game start
The game starts by dealing each player 6 cards, placing one card from the deck on the table facing up, and the rest of the cards (the pile) on the table. The player to the right of the player who dealt the cards plays first, and then other players follow. The first person to get rid of all their cards is the winner of the game.
2. Matching cards
A card can be played only if it matches the card on the table. On the picture, while Six of Clubs is on the table, both the Ten of Clubs can be played (becuase it matches the suit) and the Six of Diamond (because it matches the number). A Jack is a wild card, i.e. it can be played on any card, regardless of the suit, except on another Jack.
3. Draw from the pile
When you don't have a matching card, you take ONE card from the pile of cards on the table. You can then either play, or say "Pass" (Skip, Next), to let the next player play. Note you don't have to prove to other players that you didn't have a card to play, so you can draw a card from the pile even if you had one, in case you hope you will get a good card.
4. Announce the last card
You are not allowed to play your second-to-last card without notifying the other players. They need to know you will only have one card left. Therefore, while playing your second-last card, you need to say "Last card", or "Mau", or "Uno", whatever the other players will understand. You have time to say "Last" up to the moment when the next player plays their move. If not, you are obliged to take 2 penalty cards from the top of the pile.
Jack - changes the suit
The Jack is without doubt the most powerful card in Mau Mau. It is a wild card, meaning it can be played on any suit and any number - but only not onto another Jack! Throwing a Jack requires the thrower to specify a new suit for the pile. Example: On the picture, the thrower could play the Jack onto the Ten of Clubs, even though they don't match in number or suit. Then the player specifies Diamonds as the next suit, so the next player plays the Five of Diamonds.
If you are about to finish the game with a Jack, you must announce it with "Mau Mau" (it is not enough to say it is your last card). This is needed because if you win with a Jack, both negative and positive results are doubled. In fact, you can win with multiple Jacks -- results are then tripled, quadrupled and so on.
Ace - repeats the turn
After playing an Ace, the player must always play one more move. They can either play a card matching that Ace, or draw from the pile. If they play one more Ace, they have to play once again - again.
Obviously, you cannot win with an Ace -- if that was your last card, you have to play again, which means you need to draw from the pile. So take care not to leave an Ace as your last card.
Seven - 2 penalty cards
Playing a Seven is a slap in the face of the next player - he or she must draw 2 cards from the pile. However, if that player also has a Seven, they can play it instead of drawing, and the player after them must draw 4 instead. It can continue as long as each next player has a Seven, and 2 is added to the number every time. Example: On the picture above, the player on the left side will have to draw 4 cards.
Two of Clubs - The Thunder
Two of Clubs is like Seven, but much worse. It makes the next player draw 4 cards from the pile, and they cannot bounce it off to the next player like in case of Seven's. No defence against it. In some versions of the game, the 4 cards go to the previous player, and it all depends on the upfront agreement.
Eights skip the next player. In a two-player game, this is equivalent to playing an Ace. However, regardless of the number of players, it is allowed to win the game with an Eight, as opposed to an Ace, with which it is not allowed.
Queen changes the direction
Say hello to our Queen of the game -- playing a Queen changes the direction of the game. The direction remains until someone plays another Queen or the game ends. Every new round of the game starts with the default direction -- to the right of the current player.
Winning with a Jack
Winning with a Jack, or a Mau Mau victory, is when you win with one or more Jacks. Example on the picture: the user throws a card matching the table, and says "Mau Mau". The other players now know you only have one or more Jacks remaining. They will try to stop you from winning by playing a Jack at you (because you cannot play a Jack on Jack), or some other power card.