Review: Mad Magazine Card Game
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Year: 1979
Tagline: (none)

Cover is red with random cards shown. This cover is lightened by sun.

how we met

I think Bill brought Mad Magazine Card Game home one day. I have never personally seen it at thrift, only at antique stores, and antique stores are expensive. Our copy looks like it spent at least 20 of its 40 years in direct sunlight, and the cards are well-worn and used, resembling limp noodles. But it was playable, and we played it!

how it plays

Mad Magazine Card Game is an Uno variant with a little extra “take that” for your terrible friends. Each player receives 8 cards. The remaining deck is the draw deck, and the first card in that deck is placed face up as the beginning of the discard pile. The first player to get rid of all of their cards wins!

The card tray with a draw deck and discard pile
It has one of those fun, plastic card trays!

On your turn, you can either play a card or discard a card. Most cards have a specific color and a specific number. Other cards might let you change the order of play, give two of your cards to an opponent, make an opponent draw one, etc.

Miscellaneous cards showing a Wild, a green 3, a blue 4, a yellow 6, a Which Way
These are some of the miscellaneous cards in the deck

If you have a card that matches the top card of the discard pile with either its color or number, you can discard that card. Generally you want to try and get rid of higher number cards. The majority of cards include a number on them, and if they do not they are worth 5. If you can’t play anything you must draw another card. You can play that card right away if it matches, but otherwise it sits in your hand.

There is one, single Joker card in the deck. It can be a wild card, meaning you can play it on top of any card you like. You can also use it to declare the end of the game. If that happens, all players add up the points in their hands, including the player that played the Joker. The player with the fewest points wins!

The Joker card shows Alfred E Neuman in a jester hat
Oh, Alfred, you joker!

If the Joker is not played, the first player to get rid of all cards in their hand wins!

how it went

We played Mad Magazine Card Game one night with 3 players. The game is really easy to understand, so we were up and running very quickly. We picked on each other fairly evenly, and we all stalled around the same time. But I ultimately got a lucky draw and won Mad Magazine Card Game!

A shot of our play
My only shot of our play

Our play was only maybe 10-15 minutes, which was just about right for this game. Mad Magazine Card Game is full of fun art, as one would expect from a Mad Magazine property. And gameplay was fine, as one would expect from an Uno variant.

This shows the progression of the red cards where Alfred's outfit slowly unravels
The illustrations all change as the numbers progress. This is just one example

play or pass

Pass. This type of card game is okay, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. If I had a friend that loved Uno I would be happy to play every so often, but it’s not a keeper for me personally.