The Rules No Talking

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Mao or Mau [2] is a card game of the shedding family, in which the aim is to get rid of all of the cards in hand without breaking certain unspoken rules. The game is from a subset of the Stops family and is similar in structure to the card game Uno or Crazy Eights. The game forbids its players from explaining the rules, and new players are often informed that "the only rule you may be told is this one". Specifics are discovered through trial and error.

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A player who breaks a rule is penalized by being given an additional card from the deck. The person giving the penalty must state what the incorrect action was, without explaining the rule that was broken. There are many variants of Mao in existence. Mao is most likely descended from the German game Mau Mau. It may have influenced the game Eleusis , which was published in Martin Gardner 's column in the Scientific American in June Other inductive games in which not all players know the rules include Penultima and Zendo ; however, the secret rules in those games are made up at the start of play and disclosed at the end of each round, and the scope and subject matter of Eleusis, Penultima or Zendo rules may be more explicit and closely circumscribed.

Part of the traditional experience of Mao is a new player being forced to learn some or all of the rules of the game through observation and trial and error. Thus new players are not presented with a list of rules, as part of the game is to discover the rules through gameplay.

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The exact set of rules divulged to new players varies between groups of players: some groups will say "the only rule I can tell you is this one", others will reveal the goal of eliminating cards, and some might outline the basic rules and, in most cases, no rules are revealed at all. However much information is revealed, the players will explain that they are not allowed to reveal any more, and that the new player must deduce the full rules during play.

Mao rules can vary widely between different groups with no individual set of rules being canonical. Each player is dealt an initial hand of the same number of cards; the exact number of cards dealt varies, but is generally either three [4] [11] [12] [13] or seven.


Two or more combined decks is common; matching card backs is not important. Once the cards are dealt, the remaining cards are placed face down in a stack in the middle of the table, and the top card from the stack is turned over and placed next to it.

Play commences with the player to the left of the dealer and proceeds clockwise. A player may play any card from his or her hand matching the value or the suit of the top card currently face-up on the table. If the player has no cards they can play, they must instead draw a new card from the top of the stack and, in some variants, say something such as "pass", "penalty card" or knock on the table to indicate inability to play a card.

As might be expected in a game where the rules are unknown to many of the players, a wide variety of rulesets have developed. The rules are typically changed between games, either at the beginning or with each successive game. Many times, this is simply that the winner of the last game is allowed to construct his or her own rule.

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This new rule is made known to the dealer or not, depending on the game, though in many varieties it is required for the dealer to know the rule in order to confirm its use and to enforce it. Often the winner of the last game is also made the new dealer. In another variant, players abandon all normal rules and have each player make up a rule of their own at the very beginning of the game. It has no restrictions on what cards to play other than those made by the players and can get very confusing when rules conflict. Many of the rules of Mao involve speech. Mostly this means that the right thing must be said at the right time. Saying the wrong thing, or speaking at the wrong time, will usually incur a penalty. Any player or, in some variations, only the dealer may at any time announce "point of order" could also be "court of law", "point of information", "point of interest", "pevis", or "coffee break" , [3] [4] [11] [13] which is a signal for all players to put down their cards, while discussion takes place.

A common abbreviation is "P of O". This time period basically is an intermission to game play and often comes with its own set of rules. Some versions penalize for abbreviating "point of order" to "P of O", which often confuses new players into thinking only the dealer or chairman is permitted to call a point of order.

Most versions penalize players for touching their cards including failing to put them down in a timely manner during a point of order. The objective of a point of order is to clarify uncertain aspects of gameplay: particularly to allow disputes over penalties to be resolved. A point of order may also be used to accommodate out-of-game necessities such as eating, shuffling the discard pile to form a new draw pile, etc. Some variants may impose restrictions or penalties on a player's activities during a point of order:.

The point of order ends when any player or, depending on local rules, only the dealer, or only the player that called point of order announces "end point of order", "point taken", "point of disorder", or "pick your cards up", at which point the cards are picked back up and play resumes. The normal penalty for any offence in Mao is one card per offence, though as previously stated, offences are consecutively applied, making some offences harsher than others. There is usually a time limit of approximately 5 to 10 seconds for each turn.

Ruthless players who are familiar with the rules sometimes exploit this rule to confuse new players who are unfamiliar with game mechanics that change the order of play: for example, players might look expectantly at a particular player other than the one whose turn it is as if waiting for him to play, then penalizing that player for playing out of turn if he plays, then immediately penalizing the player whose turn it actually is for delay of game. As it happens, the restrictions mentioned by the Irish employees surveyed look mild when compared with some of the more bizarre rules in existence in organisations around the world.

Also on the list were a ban on drinks apart from water, no coffee after 2pm, standing up when the boss passed and making employees use an electronic key card to monitor how long they spent in the kitchens and rest rooms. If deemed excessive, penalties apply. Alan Hickey is the legal director at HR, employment law and health and safety consultancy, Peninsula Ireland. He says that, while a rule might seem silly, an employer can justify even the most unusual and unreasonable policies if they can demonstrate a genuine business need for them.

One of the more sinister rules that some companies enforce is the requirement for employees to rat on their colleagues. This will have a detrimental impact on team work, co-operation and productivity.

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As a result, managers may end up spending a lot of time trying to work out which reports are serious enough to warrant formal action and trying to repair the damage done to working relationships. No beards, no talking, no standing - weird workplace rules While some rules makes sense, ridiculous ones have caused people to change their job Fri, May 4, , Olive Keogh. More from The Irish Times From little building block do better leaders grow. Pilita Clark: Give the boss a break and firm will prosper.

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