A tactical, trick-taking game for 3-6 players (best with 4 or 5) of 12 years or more. Time required: 60 minutes.
Mü is a trick-taking game. Before the first trick though, there is an auction to determine which player will choose trumps. Players bid by laying cards face up on the table. The two players who, at the end of the auction, have laid the most cards, become the Chief and the Vice, and each chooses one type of card to be trumps.
At the end of the game each player scores the number of points on the cards that they have won. In addition, the Chief and their chosen partner have a chance to score extra bonus points. But the more cards the Chief has played during the auction, the harder it becomes to get the bonus points, and if they fail, then the Chief has to pay the consequences.
With three players, two of the five colours (suits) are removed from the game. With more than three players, all five colours are used. The cards should be well shuffled and dealt out fully to all the players.
Starting with the dealer, each player in turn either passes, or takes one or more cards from their hand and places them, face-up, on the table in front of them. The number of cards played, regardless of their face value, makes up the value of the bid. A "0" or a "9" both count as one card.
Most auctions will consist of more than one round. Normally, each turn, a player may only play as many cards as will give them one more card bid than any other player. If however the player whose turn it is, already has more cards in front of them than any other then they may play one more card in that turn. This also applies to the dealer at the start of the auction, they may only play one card in their first turn. After the first bid the next player may then play up to two cards and so on.
Players need not raise the level of the auction. They may play a smaller number of cards to stay in the auction without taking the lead.
Players may pass whenever it is their turn. Players who have passed may rejoin the auction at a later stage.
Example The table on page 3 of the rules shows a typical auction: Anna opens with one card, Beate passes and Conny stays in the auction without raising. Dagmar raises by playing two cards 1). Emma could play up to three cards but chooses to pass, 2). Anna now matches Dagmar's bid, Beate decides to enter the auction with a bid of one card 3). Conny raises to three by playing two cards and after Emma and Anna have improved their bids by one card, Dagmar raises the level to four by playing two cards. This is too high for the rest of the players and all now pass ending the auction.
An Auction ends when all players in turn have passed.
If, at the end of the auction, one player has bid (laid) more cards than any other, they become Chief.
Example 2: In the auction above, Dagmar would become Chief.
If at auction's end, no one player has bid more cards than any other, then the round ends in an Eklat. The player or players who have the largest number of cards in front of them each receive 5 points per card that they have bid. However, the one of them who played the last card loses 10 points per card bid. The round ends at this point, the points are noted and the cards are reshuffled and redealt.
If in the previous example, Dagmar had only played one card rather than two in the penultimate round, she would have lost 30 points and Anne and Conny gained 15 points each. Beate and Emma wouldn't have scored anything.
If all players pass on the first round then it counts as an Eklat for 0 points, and the cards are redealt without any plus or minus scores.
Example 4: In the original Auction, Conny would become Vice since she and Anna have each laid 3 cards, and although their best card in each case is a 9, Conny's second best card (8) is better then Anna's (6).
In the rare case that no one player is definitely second then there is no Vice. This normally only occurs in the rare case that only one player has bid a card. Or, in games with 3 players, there is no Vice.
The Vice is the first to choose a type of card to be trumps. Once they have chosen the Chief chooses. The choice may be a number (ie "5") or a colour. The Chief and Vice may only choose a type of card which they have already laid during the Auction. For example, in our auction earlier, Dagmar as Chief could choose Green, Blue, 1, 7 or 8 as trumps. The Chief has a further possibility available, they may choose no trumps. In this case the only trumps would be those chosen by the Vice, or in a game without a Vice, there would be no trumps at all. The Chief's choice of trumps ranks higher than the Vice's and the Chief should make this clear when choosing by saying for example "Red over Green" if they choose Red as trumps to the Vice's Green.The Chief's Team
In games with more than three players, the Chief chooses one of the other players as a partner. The Chief's choice is often influenced by which cards have been played in the Auction. The Chief may not choose the Vice as their partner. The Chief and their partner make up the Chief's team. To gain a bonus, the Chief's team must win a certain number of points in the round. The number of points that they must win, depends on the number of cards that the Chief has played during the Auction. The more cards the Chief has played, the more points they need if they are to get a bonus. The exact number of points required is shown in the table at the foot of page 5 of the rules. This table is repeated on the back page of the rules.
English speaking players should replace the German words as follows.
Example 6: In our example game Dagmar played 4 cards in the Auction in a 5 player game. The target for her team is therefore 33 points.
One should only try to become Chief or Vice if one has a lot of one type of card, either colour or number, and in general a good hand. In the three player game one bids in order to become Chief, in games with 4 or more players, in order to become Chief or Vice, or to attract the Chief's attention and become their partner! This last aim is a reason for bidding a smaller number of cards than is necessary to raise the bid. It allows the Chief to guess at the value of your hand, without risk of becoming Chief or Vice yourself. The Chief will be interested in a partner with a good stock of trumps. Bluffing doesn't usually work, and it may irritate a fellow player with consequences in later rounds. If you have the Chief's post in view then it's best to bid up to the maximum that your hand allows, taking the strength of potential partners into account. Bidding too low will mean that you become Chief too seldom, and miss bonus-point scoring possibilities when you do.
The Chief leads to the first round. Play continues in a clockwise direction. Players play one card, either from their hand, or one of the cards lying in front of them (Their bid cards in the Auction). Each trick consists of one card from each player.
If the card led is a trump then all other players must play a trump if they have one. Since both Chief and Vice choose trumps this may not necessarily be a card of the same suit as the card led. One odd situation which may occur is where one or two numbers have been chosen as trumps, rather than colours. The number cards then count as trumps, rather than as cards of their own colour. For example, if the two trump choices have been 6s and Green, and a player has a Red 6, then if a red card is led, this player need not play his red 6 even if it is their only red card. It belongs to the "super-suit", trumps, rather than to the red suit. But if a green card was led, and the red 6 were their only trump, then they would have to play it. The trumps chosen by the Chief always rank higher than those chosen by the Vice. Within a suit, the cards rank by face value as normal, with 0 low and 9 high. If two cards of equal rank, are played in one trick, then the first played wins. If the Chief choses a number as trumps, and the Vice a colour, or vice versa, then there are three ranks of trumps. First come the number cards in that colour, then the Chief's choice, then the Vice's choice. For example, if the Chief chooses 0 as Trumps and the Vice Green, then the Green 0 ranks as the highest trump. The 4 "0"s in the other colours then rank next, and finally the green suit from green 9 down to green 1.
After the first trick, the player who won the last trick leads to the next.
The round ends once all cards, both in hand and on the table, have been played.
Scoring is done in two stages. Firstly, each player counts the number of triangles on the cards which they have won. The total is the number of points that they have won in that round. Then, in the second stage, players check whether the Chief's team have reached their target, and so receive a bonus, or not. The bonus is dependent on the number of cards which the Chief bid in the Auction, and on the Chief's choice of trumps. The various possibilities can be seen in the table on page 8 of the rules and (This table is repeated on the back page).
The more cards the Chief has played (bid) during the Auction, the better the bonus for a successful game. Likewise the fewer Trumps they nominate, the better the bonus. If the Chief's team achieves their target, both Chief and Partner receive the bonus.
Example 7: If Dagmar in our original auction had chosen a colour as trumps, then with 4 cards bid, the bonus for a sucessful game would have been 40 points for her and for her partner.
If the Chief and their partner fail to reach their target, then the Chief pays the penalty. The penalty depends on how far short of their target the Chief's team fall. Players should look at the team target (Teamziel) table on page 5 and see how many bid cards short of the target they are. The Chief pays a penalty of 10 points for every card short of the bid. The opponents receive a bonus of 5 points each for every card. The Chief's partner neither pays a penalty nor do they get a bonus.
Example 8: If Dagmar plays as per example 6, (5 players, 4 cards bid), then she and her partner would need to achieve 33 points. If instead, Dagmar managed to get 20 points and her partner 9, then they would have a combined total of 29 points. Looking at the Team Target (Teamziel) table we can see that this is not enough for a 4 card bid, but would have been enough if they had bid 2 cards, therefore the difference between bid and result is 2. Dagmar must therefore pay a 20 points penalty, and each of her three opponents receives a bonus of 10 points. If Dagmar and her partner had only managed to get 18 points, then they would have had less than they needed for a bid of 1, this counts as a bid of 0 and so the difference would have been 4.
The individual points won, and any bonuses or penalties are then written down. The player to the left of the previous dealer shuffles the cards and deals for the next round. Play should continue until one or more players reach a previously agreed goal, (A game to 200 points lasts for about 60 minutes). The player with the most points has won.
[Ken: I include the following rules summaries and tables from the back of the Mü and more booklet that are not part of John's original rules translation.]
Number of Rank Points Players 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 in play 3 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 - - - 36 4 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 5 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 - - - 60 6 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 56 - - - - - 60
Boss Rank Achieved Trump Color 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ 1, 7 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9+ 0,2-6,8,9 - - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8+ None - - - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7+ Bonus 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell