Basque Card Game
of poker and chess, this Basque card game is a lot of fun. It is
for all ages, men and women. Scroll
down below to learn how to play the game.
Munduko Mus Txapelketa--Los Angeles
N.A.B.O. MUS REPORT (Summer 2009). The N.A.B.O. Mus
Championship was held in Chino, California on July 11, 2009 at the
Basque Center. Thanks to the Chino Basque Club for making the Center
available and offering us a wonderful lunch. I was assisted by Victor
Esain and Jean Baptiste Bidegaray from Fresno. The Tournament ran very
smoothly with no incidents or disagreements.
Forty one teams participated and the winners were:
First Place: Ana Mari Smith (left) & Nekane Gavica (right)
Euskaldunak Denak Bat of Winnemucca, Nevada
Second Place: Jean Flesher and John Cendagorta
Basque Club of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Third Place: Jean Luc Chiramberro and Philip
Mendiko Euskaldun Cluba of Gardnerville, Nevada
Fourth Place: Jose Mari Artiach and Xanti Alcelay
Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Boise, Idaho
For the first time in N.A.B.O.’s history, two ladies will
be representing the United States at the International Mus Tournament.
They will be traveling to Balmaseda, Bizkaia from Saturday, August 29 -
September 6 for the Munduko Mus Txapelketa.
Congratulations Ana Mari and Nekane and good luck in
The N.A.B.O. Mus Final will be held in Winnemucca, Nevada
in 2010, the date not scheduled at this time.
John Ysursa and I are working on the International
Tournament to be held in Los Angeles in 2011. We will need to create a
one week program with a daily schedule and an approximate cost before
the 2010 International Tournament. We will be working with surrounding
Basque Clubs (Chino, Oberena, Ventura, Puente, Bakersfield and Las
Vegas). We will try to duplicate what was done previously in San
Francisco and Boise.
Finally our cards have arrived. We will have them
available in Reno. I would like to see them distributed in different
locations: San Francisco for California, Reno Basque Studies for
Nevada, Boise Basque Museum for Idaho and/or any other voluntary club.
This will eliminate the responsibility of having all of the cards in one
location. There are about 2,600 decks to be sold.
Pierre Etcharren, Mus Chairman
Junior Mus TOURNAMENT
Normally scheduled for the NABO Convention in Reno. Gina Espinal
will have more information at
ANNUAL DUES TO PARTICIPATE IN NABO TOURNAMENT.
Each NABO member can send a team from its own qualifying tournament to
the annual rotating tournament. For the qualifying tournament,
NABO Club members pay $10.00 for each person that participated in their
tournament; e.g., if your club has twenty players (10 teams) who
participate, then your club pays NABO $200.00. A club who has more
than 20 teams (21 teams and up) send two teams to the NABO final.
NABO Mus finals
tournament will follow
NABO Tournament Rules
Mus is a Basque card game which makes use of a
deck of forty cards (the 8's, 9's, and 10's are set aside). As with most
things Basque, it is not certain exactly where or when the game
originated. In this case, the debate is not about the origins of the
game but sometimes over which is the "real way" of playing this
entertaining game. There are several variations. The standard form,
adopted by NABO for the national championship and the International
competition, is to play the game by the cards; meanwhile another version
accepts the 3's as kings and the 2's as aces making eight kings and
eight aces in the deck. Yet another version takes this step further and
makes the five of diamonds an additional king, totaling nine kings,
etc. In the standard form, the game is played by four people split into
two teams, but it is also sometimes played by six people divided into
two teams of three. Usually, this variety is not a problem because any
given community usually has one preferred way of playing.
these variations of the game, the basic rules remain the same. The rules
at first may seem complicated, but don't lose heart since once you get
going it comes quickly. The game is played in numerous languages, but
this introduction proposes that new players learn how to play the game
in Euskara or the Basque language. Everyone has room for thirty-some new
words in their head so this should not be a big problem. Select the
Basque dialect appropriate for your community. Yes, there is a variation
in some of the words used but do not despair, you will soon understand
what is meant.
started, one player from each team cuts the deck to draw one card: the
player who reveals the lowest card deals first. The game is played in a
counter-clockwise direction. Four cards are dealt to each player. The
player directly to the right of the dealer is the "esku" or first player
to speak. This first team with the "esku" must now decide whether they
want to play their hands or go "mus" and ask for new card[s]. All four
players must agree to go "mus" since it only takes one player who wants
to play to initiate the game. Mus can be repeated indefinitely until
someone decides to start.
consists of four parts--five if necessary--and it always follows this
same order. When you finish one phase, you move to the next one not
revealing your cards until the very end. This description follows the
standard form adopted by NABO which recognizes only four kings and four
HANDIA. You play the best high cards in your hand with the kings
high, followed by queens, jacks, etc.
TXIKIA/TTIPIA. You play the best low cards in your hand with aces
low, followed by 2's, 3's, etc.
PAREAK. Each player must first announce whether or not s/he
possesses them. A pair of kings is best, followed by a pair of
queens, etc. Three of a kind is better than any one pair while two
pairs is better than three of kind.
JOKUA. Each player must first announce whether or not s/he possesses
it. Total card points are counted thus: one through 7 are face value
while all face cards are worth ten points. Jokoa is 31 points or
better, and the best point total is 31, 32 followed by 40, 37, 36,
35, 34 and 33. The best hand of 31 is one face card with three
7's--this is the one and only time that a hand can defeat the
supremacy of the esku.
PUNTUAK. If no one has jokua [31 points or more], then this final
additional phase is added. Now the hand closet to 30 points is best,
followed by 29, 28, 27, etc.
minimum bet in mus is "enbido" [2 points]. Teams begin with zero points
and the first team to gather the total decided [usually 40 points] wins
the game. Thus you bet against the other team to get points. For each of
the above phases, each player can be involved by either betting,
declining to bet, accepting a bet, raising a bet, etc. In the event that
no player bets on any given phase—that is all say "paso" and pass—then
the game moves on to the next phase. Sometimes both players on the same
team may want to bet, therefore the first bet issued by a player is the
bet for the team. The opposing team may then decline the bet and forfeit
one point [every forfeit or "tira" response is only worth one point
regardless of the amount bet]. Or they may want to hold the bet ["gure"
or "edoki"] and see who has the better cards later; thus it becomes
important to remember what has been done in each phase because not until
the end of the game are the cards revealed and final points decided.
Finally, the opposing team can choose to respond to a bet with a raise.
The raise can be everything from two more points upward to betting "hordago"
or the whole game. Hordago always keeps a game close—even if you are
losing by twenty points, and if the opposing team takes your hordago
bet, if one of your team’s hand beats theirs, then you are the winner!
betting and scoring of the first two phases of the game is
HANDIA. If all four players said "paso", then the player with the
highest cards [kings high] receives one point for the team. If one
team bet and the other responded with "tira" during this phase, the
point has been taken and there is no more scoring. If the bet was
held, the player with the highest cards wins the last point total
TXIKIA/TTIPIA. If all four players said "paso", then the player with
the lowest cards [aces low] receives one point for the team. If one
team bet and the other responded with "tira", the point has been
taken and there is no more scoring. If the bet was held, the single
player with the lowest cards wins the last point total held.
last two phases require each player to first declare if s/he possess
this to play. In these last phases there are bonus points awarded.
PAREAK. If opposing teams had pairs and all said "paso", then the
player with the highest pair[s] wins for himself and his partner if
s/he has pairs. If one team bet and the other responded with "tira"
during the phase, in addition to the one point received, points are
awarded at the end when the cards are revealed. Finally, if the bet
was held, the player with the highest pair[s] wins the last point
total and bonus points for the pair[s] in their hand. Remember that
you must win the phase; if you said "tira" and discover you had
better pairs, you receive no points--the team that won the phase
does. The additional scoring for pareak, for each person having it
on the winning team, is the following:
pair 1 point per pair
mediak 2 points
dobleak 3 points
JOKUA. If opposing teams have the game [31 or better] and all [to
pg. 3] said "paso", then the player with the best game wins for
himself and his partner if s/he also has the game. If one team bet
and the other responded with "tira" during the phase, additional
points are now awarded in addition to the one point received.
Finally, if the bet was held, the player with the best game wins the
last point total. Remember that you must win the phase; if you said
"tira" and discover you had a better game, you receive no
points--the team that won the phase does. The additional scoring for
each player on the winning team is the following:
points 3 points
40, 37, etc. 2 points
PUNDUTZIA. If no player has the game, the hand closest to or at 30
wins. The additional scoring here is one point only for the single
player with the best hand.
cannot show his partner his hand, but you can send signs to notify the
other of what you possess. This can be helpful because one player could
simultaneously play both your hand and his/her own, confusing the
opposition. The trick is to send signs while the other team is not
watching you, and in turn, you watch them to see if they try to send
any. Teams can only utilize the accepted signs and they are as follows:
--biting the lower lip: indicates a pair of kings
--sticking out the tip of the tongue: indicates a pair of aces.
--twitching the mouth to one side or the other - indicates three of
a kind for pairs
--raising the eyebrows or twitching both ends of the mouth outwards:
--winking the eye: indicates 31 for game, or if no game is had, it
indicates 30 for "punduzia".
Basic Basque Vocabulary for Mus
for new cards
pass [no bet]
altza--decline the bet
bet of 2
raise you the same
of a kind
I have a pair
ez--no, I don't have pairs
raise you . . .
bota--I accept hordago
I have the game
hold your bet
the entire game