- 1 - 2 decks of cards (jokers taken out)
- 5 or more players
Ultimate Mao (a.k.a. Chinese Bartog)
Length: An Ultimate Mao game is made up of as many hands as desired. Before play, it can be decided that the game will end at a certain time, or after a certain number of hands has been played.
Deal: The dealer deals out the same number of cards to each player – the number is the choice of the dealer. The players must not look at the cards while the cards are being dealt, or they will receive a penalty card at the beginning of play. The rest of the cards are placed face down to form the stock.
Beginning of play: After the deal, the dealer turns face up the first card in the stock, and performs any actions necessary for that card. Then the players may look at their cards, and the play begins clockwise from the dealer.
Note: No one may say the name of the game once play has started, until someone says “Mao” to indicate that they have won the hand. When a person has won three hands (not necessarily consecutive), that player may make up a rule to add to the base rules, which is to be used for the remainder of the game.
Rules of Play: When it's a player's turn, they must play a valid card or draw one card from the stock within 5 to 7 seconds or they get a penalty card for delay of game. Once you touch the stock, you have to take the top card of the stock, even if it's unintentional (unless if you're giving a penalty). If you draw more cards, then you have to keep these cards in your hand. Valid cards are those that match the suit or number of the top face-up card. Jacks are also valid cards since they are wild.
Important: Jacks can't be played on Jacks.
Special Cards: These cards have certain effects on the game:
- Ace - Skip
- 2 - Player plays again (unless it's his last card.)
- 7 - If a player plays a 7, the next player must play a 7 or draw two cards. If more than one 7 has been played, the first player not able to play a 7 must draw two cards for each 7 played.
- 8 - Reverse
- Jack - Wild Card. Whenever a jack is played, the player has to hold the card with his finger and call the suit of the next card to be played and release his finger on the card. If he releases his finger before he calls the suit, then the first player to call the suit has control on the suit of the next card will be. Jacks may not be played on jacks.
- Spades - Any player who plays any spade must name the spade. Example: If a player plays the five of spades, he must say "five of spades."
- Multiple calls: If a card being played requires the player to say more than one thing, he must say all the things required. For example, if he plays a Jack of Spades, he must say, “Jack of Spades” and call the suit.
- Point Of Order: Whenever someone wants to ask a question, he must call a point of order (If he asks a question outside of a point of order, he gets a penalty card). During a point of order, no penalties are to be given and no one is allowed to look at their cards and any questions that need to be asked or things that need to be said can be done during a point of order.
- Ending a Point of Order: The caller of the point of order can end a point of order after talking has stopped.
- Ending the game: A player who only holds one card in his hand must announce “Last card” as he plays his second-to-last card. Upon playing the last card held in his hand, the player must say 'Mao,' unless he plays a jack, in which case he has to say 'Mao Mao.' The first person to play all of his cards wins the game.
Penalties: There are lots of penalties in the game. When a player is giving a penalty card, he must say the reason for the penalty. If the penalty giver gives a bad call, any player (other than the one giving the penalty and the one getting the penalty) gives the card back and says 'Bad Call.' (If there is a dispute as to whether the penalty was valid, the players may vote). After a penalty is given, the recipient of the penalty card must say 'Thank You,” and that includes penalty cards incurred for failure to say 'Thank You,' and penalties which are disputed by the recipient or other players. Any misplay results in one penalty card, and taking back the card misplayed. The breaking of any rule results in one penalty card.
- Failure to name a Spade
- Misplay - Someone screws up and makes an invalid play, jack on jack or 9 of clubs on a 7 of diamonds or plays a card when he should be drawing cards.
- Looking At Cards Before Game Begins
- Delay Of Game (Taking more than 5 to 7 seconds to play or draw cards)
- Playing Out of Turn
- Asking Questions Outside of a Point Of Order
- Failure to Say 'Thank You' After a Penalty
- Failure to Draw Cards when required
- Looking at cards during a point of order
- Failure to Say Last Card
- Failure to say the name of the game
- Saying the name of the game during play
- Multiple Penalty Calls: This is when a player breaks more than one rule in the game. He may be given one penalty for each rule broken.