Card Games: Eights Group

In these games you must match the rank or suit of the previous card. There may be special cards which are exempt from this rule or have special effects. The games go under many names: Switch or Black Jack in England, Mau Mau in Germany, Mao or Bartog in the USA, Pesten in the Netherlands, Prsi in the Czech Republic, Makao in Hungary and Poland, Tschau Sepp is Switzerland, and so on.

It is particularly easy to elaborate games of this group by adding extra rules, without destroying the balance of the game. Several games have arisen which take advantage of this flexibility.

  • Mao - which has extra traditions and rules that are secret from the players.
  • Bartok - in which the rules change after each hand.
  • Eleusis - Robert Abbott's game in which one player devises the secret rule by which the game is played and the others try to guess it.

There have been many commercial card games based on Eights but using sepcial packs of cards. The English game of WHOT!, patented in 1935, was perhaps the earliest of these; Uno is certainly the best known.

Several Crazy Eights variants and Uno variants are listed in the Invented Games section of this site.

This page is maintained by John McLeod (   © John McLeod, 2000, 2005. Last updated: 16th June 2018