Mauw – what would you do if you had 9 lives?

Game Info

Game: Mauw

Year: 2017

Designer: Vincent Joassin

Type:  Card game

Category: Card game, animals, cats

Mechanics: Hand management, set collection

Number of Player: 2 to 6 Players

Play Time: 30 minutes

Recommended age: 7+

Last update was on: September 15, 2021 10:21 am



Mauw - box

Mauw – box

When the cats reached New-Zealand in 1640, the Maori Spirits found this animal to be an exceptional being.

The secret of their 9 lives attracted envy and the cats had no choice but to become fierce warriors to preserve it.

Attacking, defending and strengthening your ranks is the only way to win this game.


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Game Components

The game is sold in a metal box and contains 72 cards:

  • 56 warrior spirits, with values 1 to 8,
  • 12 spirits with value 0,
  • 4 jokers
  • 1 rulebook
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Game Setup

The first thing you will have to do to set the game up is to remove some cards, depending on how many players are seated at the table. With two or three players, you will remove cards marked with a single dot, with four or five players, you will remove those marked with two dots. Six players would use the whole deck.

Shuffle the deck, and distribute 4 cards, face hidden, to every player.

The hairiest player can now start the game.

Note: Every color contains a pair of warriors, with different values, ranging from 1 to 8. The sum of the pairs is always 9 – ie: red warriors have values 1 and 8, orange warriors have values 2 and 7, green 3 and 6 and blue 4 and 5.

The back of the cards show the value 9 and a multiplier value of 2. These are the Mauws.


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How to Play

One after another, players will take a turn. During your turn, you will play a card then draw cards until having 4 cards in hand. If, for any reason, you cannot play a card, you will discard your hand and draw another 4 cards, passing your turn.

When playing a card, you may reinforce one of your columns, or attack an opponent.

Mauw - ingame

Reinforcing a column:

Every player has his game zone in front of him. There, he may create up to 4 columns. To start a column, simply place a card, face visible. Each column may contain up to 3 Mauws, and possibly a 4th card with a value.

When playing a colored card, you will place it either:

  • on an empty column, starting a new column,
  • or on a column where the top card is a Mauw. The Mauw cards, are the back of every card, showing a 9 and a x2,
  • or on a column where the top card is of the same color that you play.
    In this case, you will trigger an association effect:
    If the sum of the two cards is 9, you discard both warriors and draw a Mauw that you can place freely in your game area.
    If the sum is different than 9, the bottom warrior is turned to its Mauw face, the top warrior remains in play and you can move both warriors anywhere in your game area, on top of a Mauw or empty column.
    Note: if both cards cannot be placed in your game area, they are both discarded.

Mauw - reinforcing

Attacking an opponent:

On your turn, instead of reinforcing your columns, you may chose to attack an opponent. Simply play a warrior of a color visible on an opponent’s column.

Your opponent may defend, by playing a card of the same value and same color. If the warrior is defended, both cards are discarded. If not, the attacker will trigger an association effect, discarding both cards and drawing a Mauw if the two cards have a value 9, or turning the bottom warrior to its Mauw side and placing both cards in his play area.

As with reinforcing a column, if both cards cannot be placed, they are discarded.

You may also attack an opponent with a Spirit, a card of value 0. This may only be placed on top of a Mauw.

The defender will only be able to remove this Spirit by playing a Spirit of his own on one of his turn.


Playing a joker:

Joker may replace any card of your choice – Warrior or Spirit. Declare the value of your Joker when attacking, as your opponent may defend.

You cannot attack when playing the Joker as a Spirit.


Ending the game:

The game ends as soon as a player owns in his play area 3 columns with 3 Mauws. You will then count the points, the player with the highest number will win the game.

Take the visible value, and multiply it by 2… Repeat for as many Mauws as you have in each column. As such, a column with 3 Mauws will be worth 72 points (9 * 2 * 2 * 2) while a column with 3 Mauws and a 8 will be worth 64 (8 * 2 * 2 * 2). Add the sum of all your columns and define who won the game!

Mauw - end game

Ending the game with 106 points (from left to right: 72 + 0 + 16 + 18)

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Final Thoughts

As I was walking past a booth in Essen and was offered to try this game, I was thinking “why not”, but not so sold to the idea: a quick game with cats seems very simplistic. Yet, the art was intriguing and the rules were quick to explain.

It took a table of three a couple of rounds to get the feeling of the game and the 20 minutes spent playing went very fast. We ended the game with a sense of “we want more” and brought two copies home.

And this may be a strength of this game: it is quick, the mechanics are simple but still, to outsmart your opponents, you will have to take the correct decisions: these card that you paired in your hand may be stolen by your opponent. Should you wait to be able to defend? Will you put a 0 on his pile now, or will you wait another turn?

This game is also a lot of fun: the theme is light and you will curse at your opponents for stealing your card or placing a spirit on your column of 3 Mauws, but you will do that with a smile. And once the game is over, you will suprize yourself, shuffling the deck and naturally drawing four cards to every player, ready to fight another day.


Yoka by Tsume Mauw, TSU7137

2 new from € 18.00
Last updated on September 15, 2021 10:21 am

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Mauw de l'explipartie

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8 Total Score
Mauws, cats fighting the Maoris Spirit

A very quick and simple game, for 2 to 6 players, where playing the right card in the right place will make the difference.

  • Quick to set up, explain and play,
  • Beautiful arwork,
  • Light theme
  • Plays best with more players,
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