Black Maria

Ages: 7 years old and up
Number of Players: 2 and up
Materials: Deck of Cards, paper and pencil for scoring
Skill Practice: Addition, reasoning, calculating possibilities, strategic thinking, number ranking

Goal: To avoid taking tricks that contain high value cards and to receive the lowest score.

Card Rankings for play:

  • Aces are high
  • 2s are the lowest cards

Card Values:
The card values are scored against the player who takes the cards

  • Each Heart = 1 point
  • Ace of Spades = 7 points
  • King of Spades = 10 points
  • Queen of Spades = 13 points

Set up:

  1. Remove the 2 of diamonds from the deck
  2. The dealer passes out 17 cards to each player.
  3. Before play begins, each player removes 3 cards from their hand.  These cards are the players' least desirable cards.  Each player passes the cards face down to the player on the right.
  4. The players add the cards they receive from another player to their hands.

Rules for play:

  1. The player on the dealer’s left begins play.
  2. That player lays down a card face up.
  3. The next players must play a card of that suit.
  4. If a play cannot follow suit, the player may place down any card.
  5. The player with the highest card of that suit takes the trick.


  1. Scores are computed according to the card values listed above.
  2. The first player who reaches 100 loses the game.
  3. The player with the lowest score wins the game.