hist-games: Ma Diao

John McLeod john at pagat.demon.co.uk
Sat Dec 23 02:59:42 PST 2000

The Nov-Dec 2000 issue of "The Playing-Card" (journal of the
International Playing-Card Society) (Vol. XXIX, No 3) contains a 22-page
article by Andrew Lo about the card game Ma Diao, which was fashionable
during the late Ming dynasty in China. The bulk of the article is
devoted to complete English translations of the two manuals about the
game by Feng Menglong (1574-1646). The first manual sets out the rules
in sufficient detail for the game to be played and the second gives
advice on tactics.

Ma Diao was a trick-taking game for four players played using a 40-card
money pack, with two suits of 11 cards and two suits of 9. As far as I
know (please correct me if I am wrong), this is the first time that a
detailed description of the game has been published in any western
language. As it is also one of the earliest card games for which we have
a playable set of rules, I thought this article could well be of
interest to some members of this list.

If any non members of the IPCS would like a copy of this issue of The
Playing-Card, it can be obtained from the secretary Mike Tregear, 34
Guest Road, Prestwich, Manchester M25 3DL, UK at a cost of about $6
including shipping.
John McLeod                      For information on card games visit       
john at pagat.demon.co.uk           http://www.pagat.com/

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