You can use this tutorial to learn how to play the game of Maw.

The official rules of Maw are outlined inside The Groom Porter's Laws which appear in Ancient Ballads and Broadsides published in England in the sixteenth Century… as preserved in the Library of Henry Huth, London, 1867. (yes, that's the entire title) I found out about this marvelous book through Partlett Games where he adds “There is a copy [of this Ancient Ballads book] in the Bodleian Library. I am grateful to Thierry Depaulis for communicating this discovery.” Source 

I am grateful as well to Thierry Depaulis, but as I don't get to Oxford as often as I would like, I hoped there was a digital version to be unearthed somewhere.

Title page of the book where I found the Groom Porter's Laws. Source
Screen capture (October 29, 2019) of the first of three pages that detail the official court rules of how to play Maw. Source

So I went looking for one, and I found a copy of something that claims to be that ballad book, but when you click on it, it says on the title page that it is “A collection of seventy-nine black-letter ballads and broadsides: printed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, between the years 1559 and 1597 : accompanied with an introd. and ill. notes” Either way, you can see the list of the laws for how to play on pages 123-125 (though the digital bar at the bottom will tell you it's pages 121-123, but that does not correspond with the page numbers listed on the pages themselves). Read the book here

Helpful article on the 16th century playing of games (See backgammon on the table in this picture?) Source

Other books and references used when putting this tutorial together:

Screen capture of “Researches Into the History of Playing Cards: With Illustrations of the ...”
By Samuel Weller Singer | Pg. 259 and one of three references to Maw in this book | Available as a free ebook at the Google Books link included here.
This 16th century text accuses King James of postponing a criminal execution because he wanted to finish a game of Maw. Source 
It is written by Anthony Weldon, who is notoriously critical of James I, but hilarious nonetheless.

The reference to the King's Card Holder occurs in The Court and Character of King James by Sir Anthony WeldonJanuary 1, 1650 | Pg. 35

Also available at the National Library of Australia

Just a small sample of the massive collection of resources concerning historic card games available from David Partlett. Read more here.

A few paintings from the 16th century depicting card players. The center painting (the one of uncertain authorship done in the style after Lucs van Leyden) shows the card game Primero.

The original notes on his website, as written by David Partlett. Source

The New Complete Hoyle: The Authoritative Guide to the Official Rules of All Popular Games of Skill and Chance, Revised Edition

Book of Card Games by Peter Arnold

Playing Cards – History of the Pack and Explanations of Its Many Secrets

https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=cN5LAAAAcAAJ&hl=en&pg=GBS.PA125

History of English Playing cards and games

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=chi.48317902&view=1up&seq=18

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/48223/48223-h/48223-h.htm

https://escholarship.org/content/qt4rr5d99v/qt4rr5d99v.pdf?t=pmti8l

The Oxford Guide to Card Games (Oxford Guides)

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You can download a printable of the instructions for the card game Maw, and play it just like James I would have done, by joining Shakespeare Weekly, the digital community of Shakespeare historians lead by yours truly, Cassidy Cash. In addition to weekly updates about the latest content around here, you will also get access to a limited library of Shakespeare history resources (like instructions for playing Maw) created by me, Cassidy Cash. I have over 30 resources, including my massive collection of public domain images related to Shakespeare and his history, which are all packed in there right now and I add new ones each month. (sometimes each week!) You can download and use these resources to teach your students, share with your family, or enjoy learning something new just for yourself.

Sign up here and starting playing Maw today!


      
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