Hey folks, I’m back again with another review. This time, grab some tissue and try not to cry. We’re looking at a card game that features cute little onions. Heul Doch! Mau Mau. This is a German card game, I believe the name translates to “Go ahead and cry” or something similar. This is a game for 3-6 players and plays in about 30 minutes at full players. This is designed by Leo Colovini. He’s designed other games like Cartagena and Clans. Heul Doch! Mau Mau is produced by Ravensburger.
Inside the box is 110 cards, the rules, and a single tissue. They were generous with the tissue, and trust me. During the game you’ll need it. The cards come numbered 1-7 and come in seven different colors. There are also 12 special cards that can be used to spice up the game play.
To set up, shuffle the number cards, and special cards if you want to use those, and make a single draw deck. Deal one face up card to each player. This is their personal stack and what earns them points at the end of the game. Next, deal 4 face down cards to each player. Players can look at their hands, but but shouldn’t let others see it. Also, have the tissue in range so you can pass it to anyone that is about to cry. Now you’re ready for the game.
On your turn, you must play a card from your hand. To play a card, you want it to end up on your stack of face up cards. To play a card, it must match either the color or number of a card in front of you or one of your neighbor’s piles. If it matches one of your neighbor’s pile color or number you have to play it there. So when you’re choosing what card to play, you’ve got to be careful.
There’s also another option when you play a card if you can’t or don’t want to play on your pile or a neighbors pile. You can flip the card over to the numberless crying onion, and play it on your pile. This resets your pile and on your next turn lets you play any card on top of it, following the same neighbor rule. Doesn’t seem too bad, until you get to the end of the game and start to score your pile. Set aside every crying onion in your pile and count how many you have. You now don’t score cards of that value. So if you have 3 flipped cards, any 3s in your pile are now zero points. What about if you have more than 7 cards flipped? Well, you go to 7, then what’s left is the next number not counted. So, if you have 10 cards flipped it would be 7 and 3 cards not counted.
If you’re playing with the special cards, each one is played into a center discard pile so it doesn’t bog your pile up. Each one does something different. Each one will ignore the matching color or number rules when it change the top card of a personal pile. Here’s a list of what they do.
Slingshot/Catapult – The player with the highest number on top of their pile discards it to the center discard pile. If there’s a tie, then all those players discard it. If this was the only card in their pile, guess what. They get a gray onion now.
Towel – Exchange the top card of your pile with that of another player.
Carousel – You choose what way every player shifts their top card. To the left or to the right.
Werewolf – All players flip their top card over. This can either make a pile a crying onion or flip a crying onion over.
Play goes on until the draw deck is depleted and everyone plays the last card in their hands. Once that happens, it’s time to count your crying onions. Remove those value cards from your pile, and the total all your cards. Cards are equal to their face value. A 5 is 5 points, a 2 is 2 points. The player with the highest points is the winner. If there is a tie, then the player with the most crying onions is the winner.
In the above example, at the end of the game there were 6 crying onion cards. I separate the cards by number to figure out the totals a little easier. Once I know what numbers I can’t count, I just flip that pile over. In this game, I ended up with 6 crying onions. I had six 1s, four 2s, three 3s, four 4s, eight 7s, zero 5s, and couldn’t count my 6s. I ended up with 95 points. The other players had four crying onions and 106 points, and five crying onions and 62 points. The player with five crying onions had 35 points worth of 5s.
So, what do I think? I really like this game. It’s easy to teach, and even though I have a German version, the cards are language independent. This means that as long as you can read the numbers, the language the game is produced in doesn’t matter if you have translated rules. First, I like that you can start to explain this like Uno. You match colors or numbers on your pile. Simple enough. You add a twist, you have to play the card to a neighbor if it matches their color or number. Now, you don’t have to play a card in your hand that matches a neighbors pile. It’s just when you play a card, if it meets that criteria then you have to do that. Alternatively, you can play a crying onion, but that’s going to effect your end score. I love that doubting feeling you have when you make those decisions. Do you play on the neighbors pile and bump their score or do you play a crying onion and change your end score. Then the having to play on your neighbors pile if you match color or number. This makes your card you choose so critical. We played it if your neighbor caught your “mistake” you had to go with the card laid. It was easy to forget the neighbor rule when first playing, so this just helped people remember. My group would pass around the tissue when a harsh card would be played. The special cards add more strategy to the game. I can’t imagine playing a game without them. Those were the cards that when you play, you pass the tissue. If you’re looking for a simple, fun card game. I highly recommend this for your collection. Board Game Geek Store has it in stock, or you can even find some on Amazon. For a $10 game, this is an easy buy. I can’t wait to get this one to the table again, and I’m even thinking of getting another deck so we can play two tables at once.