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Mamma Mia!
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Store:  Card Games, Family Games
Series:  Mamma Mia!
Theme:  Food & Beverage
Genre:  Memory
Format:  Card Games

Mamma Mia!

English language edition

List Price: $14.95
Your Price: $11.99
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(Worth 1,199 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 30-40 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Uwe Rosenberg

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Abacus

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Product Description

Here a salami pizza, there a Bombastica. Hey, who stole the cheese! As Pizza makers, the players put ingredients on the table. From time to time a player may place an order on the table, thinking the needed ingredients are available. If they are, the pizza is made, if not -- disappointment. Thoughtful tactics, a pinch of luck and a pound of memory can bring victory! Mamma Mia is an easy, but unusual card game, which whets the appetite!

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2000
Games Magazine Awards
Best Memory Game, 2000
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999
Deutscher Spiele Preis
8th place, 1999

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Uwe Rosenberg

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Abacus

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 30 - 40 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 180 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #93

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 106 cards
  • rule sheet
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Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.6 in 22 reviews

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Memory isn't the only thing....
October 08, 2000

If you had a great memory but no ability to form a strategy then you would not win this game. On the flip side, all strategy and no memory won't win either.

People say that this game only depends on if you can remember what's in the pile. Waiting for ingredients to fill your order. That's not true. The way the game mechanics work, if you put an order in now (that lacks 1 ingredient) you can still fill the order later (save that ingredient). You can have the remaining ingredient now and not play it. You might even play the order in hopes of getting the ingredient later.

With a lot of that going on, you don't know what's in the pile anymore. For example: The person before me just played an order that takes all of the peppers that I need if it goes through. But I know that the order is short two mushrooms. I can play my order now since I figure that the previous order will not make it through. However, if that person adds mushrooms at the end of the round, I won't have my peppers and my order won't go through. I should probably save some peppers for the end of the round when I might need them.

I've seen two orders fail because someone forgot to keep ingredients and the third order (which I was sure wouldn't make it) was the one that was filled.

Yeah, I'll agree that this isn't the best strategy game. There is too much luck, memory, etc. to make it a game of skill. Still, I think that it makes for a great family game. The rules aren't too complicated and it keeps people involved. If you get up to get a drink, you probably lost the round.

Works for 2 players as well!
January 10, 2004

I just had to rebuff what was said in a previous review. This game works great for two players. (Mike from Arizona, are you sure you're taking out the right number of ingredient cards before playing the game? It should be almost impossible for both players to finish all 8 orders).

Memory, yes, but much much more
August 15, 2003

We haven't played this game enough for me to give it 5 stars, but our preliminary experience with this game suggests it's a winner.

Mamma Mia achieves that delicate balance that is characteristic of the best games. It's easily explained, players can get right into the action on their first try, but the game offers much to think about. The combination of deep thought and easy rules is a terrific quality for any game.

In Mammia Mia, players hold hands of cards that have displayed on them pictures of ingredients, as well as orders that must be filled. On their turns, players contribute ingredients to the oven. When they think the necessary ingredients are in the oven to fill an order they're holding, they submit the order, too. It's a race to see who can fill the largest number of their orders in 3 rounds.

Some of the criticisms of the game here describe it as overly reliant on memory and card-counting. Yes, it's helpful in this game to watch the cards as they're played, count them, and remember them. But there are so many reasons why memory is only part of the equation here.

1) First, simply counting the cards and playing an order when the ingredients are all in the stack is not the optimal strategy for winning. One of the elements of the game is that when an order is revealed, it can be filled not only if all of the ingredients have appeared before it in the oven, but also if the player has enough cards in his hand at the end to fill an order. Thus, the right play most of the time is to try to work out the probabilities that you're going to draw a given number of cards of the right ingredient and thus have them in your hand by the round's end. An intuitive feel for probabilities in card games is at least as valuable as memory in this regard, and will enable you to beat your opponents to the punch in getting orders down. And doing so is a double-edged sword. On the plus side, you get an order in and use the ingredients. On the downside, you've now committed your 'future hand' as to the cards it must contain. Do this too much, and you'll have problems getting the cards you need because you'll be afraid to let go of other cards you can't afford to discard.

2) There's far too much to keep track of unless you're Steven Hawking. A reasonably intelligent person can keep track of the cards played in five categories of ingredients as the round goes. But now orders start coming in. Now you've got multiple sets of orders to keep track of. In order to figure out the ingredients available for future orders, you have to subtract out the ingredients of the order just placed (assuming it can be filled.) But then you need to also remember the total number of each ingredients played, without subtracting those cards, in order to guess the chances of your still drawing one you need of a particular type. And on top of all that, there's often no certainty as to what cards will be used for an order. If an opponent plays the Pizza Minimale or Monotoni card, you may not know what ingredient will be used to fill the order, and to what extent it will rely on cards from that player's hand. Let's face it, that ain't simple card-counting. There are too many possibilities out there even before accounting for the fact that your opponents may have screwed up their orders and some cards may still be in the stack that you assume are gone.

3) There is plenty of strategy and tactics in this game apart from card-counting. The last game I played, I lost because I didn't get any cards of my personal ingredient, because my opponent had gotten lucky in holding them, then played them all at once in a Bombastica, so that they disappeared from availability to me. Making sure that you don't put down useful cards for your opponents is critical, as is monitoring the numbers of cards you put down. Also, should you pick up orders or ingredients? In my first few tries, I have burned myself by getting too ambitious in holding multiple orders in my hand, when I really needed greater flexibility in pulling ingredients I was relying on getting.

And all of this just scratches the surface. This is not a light game -- it's played quickly, but there is an opportunity for major brain-burn, between all of the card-counting and number-churning, bluffing and basic tactics. It takes a few plays to figure out the stategic use of the Bombastica order, when to gamble on future draws and when to play only based on what's in the stack, and many other subtleties. Perhaps the game will run dry of possibilities for us before is apparent at this point, but right now it appears as though Mamma Mia is a fascinating exercise that will reward repeat plays.

by Wong SH
More than meets the eye
June 15, 2003

Despite the fact that I am not really for memory game, this one is a hit with me. The levels of strategy is actually pretty deep, and more ways to win than one. Some tricks I use or thinking of using: 1)Dummy pizza: especially the 15+, making opponents think that ingredients are exhausted when it is not. 2)Choose unexpected ingredients: you do not need to pick obvious ingredients with 6 or more. Remember what pizza comes after your Maximale and exhaust that particular needed ingredient.

Fast-paced fun!
September 03, 2002

We like to play Mamma Mia as fast as we can! The cards are cute and appealing, the concept is fun, and the game itself is a free-for-all in which anyone can win up to the last minute. My only criticism would be that it can sometimes be confusing to keep track of the various piles of cards. Other than that, we love Mamma Mia and always have a good time trying to make all our pizzas!

by Marc
Fast and Fun Brain Teaser.
July 01, 2002

I agree with the previous reviewer that the rules are rather difficult to understand, but the game is a blast when you figure it out. We did pick it up pretty quick though once we worked out a couple of confusing issues and from then on the game went rather smooth. I too would give the game a 5 if the rules weren't so difficult to interpret. Put on your memory caps for this one and try to use some skill in balancing out getting ingredients from the ingredient stack and your personal order stack. Try to undercut your opponents efforts by making them rely on filling their orders at the end when Mamma Mia is inspecting for completed orders. This can result in them falling short of the required ingredients to fill their orders forcing them to take back their order card to their order stack. This is a fast and fun brain teaser card game that I'd definitely recommend for purchasing.

by Hans
Great Game... once you figure out how to play it!
December 16, 2001

This is a great game, with nice mecanics and nice artwork. It's not quite as light as most people write. For me, it's also a really good 2-player game.

I like just about everything about this game, I would give it the full 5 stars--if the rules were just a little more clearly written! Had to read it over and over until I finally got it.

Thassah spicy pizza!
September 13, 2001

Reading reviews of this game, I dismissed it because two words turned me off: 'memory game'. Now don't get me wrong, I love the original Memory game. In fact, I still consider it to be one of the best games ever made. But I have a very short attention span and I dont seem to do well at games that require a lot of card counting or memory. So, despite some good press, I passed on Mamma Mia. That is, until one of my friends at our game group brought it over and asked us to play it.

Read any reviews on this game and everyone says the same thing: play ingredient cards from your hand and, optionally, play an order card. Once the draw deck is exhausted, flip the 'ingredient pile' (discard pile) over and start categorzing ingredients. When an order comes up, see if it can be filled from the ingredients that have been flipped over already. Sounds boring to me! But strangely, its not. This game has simple but colorful art, plays quickly, and somehow avoids being dry. Its kind of fun trying to remember whether or not there have been 3 pineapples played, or 4. It makes for a simple tension that makes playing orders a tough decision sometimes.

The game is not complicated, but very well designed. Its not my favorite game, but what makes it really stand out is that non-gamers really seem to like it, and it can be played easily in a lunch hour. It seems to have broad appeal because it is simple, and broad appeal means it gets played. And it can definitely be played by families!

by Pazzy
Make-a A Pizza... si si!
January 04, 2001

Bought this one to be used as a two player game, and it doesn't disappoint. It's a lot of fun, plays pretty fast, and there is some strategy there. We introduced it to other players and had some mixed reviews. After a couple of rounds, the strategy really starts to show itself. Recommended!

by Mike
Make's Mamma Proud!
November 28, 2000

First you getta the Salami, and then the Mush-a-room, and 4 Pine-a-apples.... WOW! What a fun game this is. This is another one of those games that I had been meaning to pick up and never got around to until now.

Upon opening the box, I was pleased to see that the rules were short and easy to understand. The cards were also easy to dissect, so game play started quickly.

The cards consist of ingrediants (olive, salami, green pepper, etc.) and order cards. Game play consists of taking ingredients from your hand and placing them into a common ingredient stack OR placing an order card from your hand on the stack. Order cards have specific ingredients that need to be used, like 4 olives and a salami. Players play in turn until the draw stack is depleted. The stack formed by the orders and ingredients that has been built is then turned over and sorted. Orders are filled in order by the ingredients turned over. Players may supplement any shortages in order-filling with ingredients from their hands. The winner is the one who has gotten rid of the most of their order cards.

Simple game play. Really fun! A good memeory does help, but it isn't the only factor in this game. WHEN you place your order can also be very important and using cards from your hand always throws the stack out of whack.

This game is great fun! Highly recommended!

A second to "Memory isn't everything"
October 09, 2000

I agree with Mark from Chicago. At first blush I could see where someone would expect a skilled card counter to win this game hands down, but the uncertaintly of which ingredients are actually being consumed can slow down those opponents with photographic memories.

The penalties for playing a pizza you know you won't be able to fill are minimal at most. However, your opponent has no way of knowing if you intend to fill an order or not. Play a pizza and let your card counting opponent begin to take that in account. Card counting may end up being a disadvantage!

I know when I play, I play pizza cards at an alarming rate. If I guess that (stess the word guess--I'm far from a card counter) most of the ingredients for a pizza have been played, I'll play the pizza and worry about getting insurance ingredients in my hand later.

Great game...definitely worth it
June 18, 2000

Let me first point out that this is not necessarily a memory game. Sure you can try to memorize every card that's been put on the table, but thats the anal-retentive approach to playing the game. You can do just as well (and have more fun) just going with your intuition as to what's on the table as there's no big penalty for a failed order.

Let me also point out that this is an excellent game to play with non-gamers. I introduced it to my wife, who subsequently taught all her friends how to play. They keep coming back for more, and they all want to know where I got this 'weird little game'.

Good memory NOT required
May 24, 2000

While on the surface, this game looks like a memory game (see complaints below), it really isn't. The one important thing to remember is that failing to fulfill a pizza order carries no penalty other than a lost opportunity to score. Just guess if you think there are the correct ingredients and also remember that at the end of a round, you can supply missing ingredients from your hand.

This is really a great family game, especially when played with a lot of people.

by Tash
about as close a gaurantee you'll get of having fun
November 26, 1999

This game has fantastic entertainment value; not only does it have replayability (though addiction is more like it) but it is good for a wide cross section of players...; serious gamers and non-gamers in my experience all enjoy this game immensely. To add to the list of credits: it is highly recommended for those couples looking for good two player games. In previous reviews I have read some sniffles about it being a memory game; yes, it requires a little bit of memorisation but you don't have to be exceptionally good (I have a shocking memory for one--though admittedly my memory has sharpened since playing this game; this I see as positive as I'm having fun at the same time!!). I recommend this game for all; to give you an idea; I have ordered three more copies for Christmas presents!

Fun Family Game
May 10, 1999

This game gets 4 stars from me not because it is a great game for your nomral gaming group, but because with a casual crowd it is a lot of fun, spurs too many bad jokes and because it is simple.

The premise of the game is to play ingrediants into the pile or place a pizza order into the pile. Everyone is filling orders from the same pile of ingrediants so memory and timing of the orders is key. At the end of the round all orders are completed in the order played and if there aren't enough ingredients to complete your order your pizza goes back into your uncompleted order stack. The person who completes the most orders at the end of three rounds wins.

Again, the game is simple and probably relies too much on memory, but it is fun. It has gotten significant replay value with my wife and friends who aren't hardcore gamers. It is also good with kids. For the price, this is a great game to add to any collection.

Different and fun!
April 11, 1999

Without adding to other reviews, I just wanted to say that the first time you read the rules, you may not fully understand it. You HAVE to play at least a couple of times to get it, and when you do, you just want to spread the word: Mamma Mia! People with good memory will especially enjoy it. Try it! For the price, it's a bargain!

by Mike
A Pizza Party Sure, but NOT for Two!
January 08, 2004

Bought the Game as a two player game to play with my wife. We played one game and realized that the rules don't have a good way to determine the winner of a two player game.

We have yet to not fill all of our orders in 3 rounds. Which by rules the person who fills the most orders wins. Or if two are tied the one with the most ingredients in hand wins. But both of our 8 orders are filled long before the ingredient pile is used up. So making sure we both have a hand of 7 going into the end of round 3 has never been difficult.

The only options we've been able to come up with is to use two different color order cards each or only play 2 rounds. The makers of this game should have realized that it wouldn't be to hard to fill 16 orders in 3 rounds.

However the game is much funner with 3-5. It's decieving to have the box say two to five, when it can't really be enjoyable to play until you get that 3rd person.

Hold the anchovies
February 02, 2000

Mamma Mia is like a frozen supermarket pizza, good for a quick snack but not enough to satisfy.

What I can never work out is how are you supposed to remember what pizzas have been played when theres over 20 of them already face-down on the table, amidst countless pineapples and salami? My memory recall isnt good enough, which perhaps is real reason I dont get overly excited when Mamma Mia is put on the table. It is quick though, and the tension when "Mamma Mia" overturns the cards and you have to match your pizzas ingredients with those already played, and the cards in your hand, makes it fun.

Overall strategy is limited to loose short-term planning. Unless your memory is better than my sieve of a brain, you are usually left hoping (rather than remembering) that there will be one pepper left to complete your salami and pepper pizza order.

Simplistic but enjoyable
March 01, 1999

The game mechanics of this pizza-building game are extremely simple. Every player has a hand that is composed of ingredients (olives, mushrooms, pineapple, peppers and salami) and pizza orders (such as the four olive, one mushroom pizza or the more difficult one mushroom, six of anything else pizza).

On a given player's turn, he may play any number of identical ingredients onto a central stack and then has the option of topping it off with an order card. The player then refills his hand to seven from either their personal order stack or the ingredient deck.

Once all ingredients have been drawn from the deck, the ingredients are sorted out into stacks in the order in which they were played, and orders are filled as they come up. Players have the opportunity to make up missing ingredients with cards from their hand, if necessary.

Anyway, when all is said and done, the play of the game isn't terribly complex. You have to do some clever planning to make sure that you get your orders out there at the right time, but since you go through the ingredients deck three times this isn't likely to be a big challenge.

In spite of this, the game is fun, the gameplay is smooth and consistent, and there's plenty of opportunity for silly jokes about pizza-making.

Perhaps not for everyone, but definitely worth playing, and considering the price, a good buy.

Let the best memory win
June 01, 2001

I bought the game based on some of the reviews saying memory wasn't a dominant factor. Well, it's a huge factor. The better you track cards, the better you'll do. There is no real luck as far as knowing if you can fill an order, as long as you can remember what's been played.

by Greg
Memory is the deciding factor
October 05, 2000

I can't understand why anyone likes this game. Memory is very important, with a little luck thrown in. What are the interesting decisions? Keeping track of what's available and luckily drawing the ingredients you need to fill your order? What fun is that?

Despite what the others say, a player with a great memory will wipe the floor with those who don't closely follow what's been played.

I gave away my copy and will never play it again.

Not worth it
May 23, 2000

This is a memory game, pure and simple. What's fun about that? Why not just take a deck of playing cards and lay them out, flip them upside down, and play solitaire concentration.

None of the 6 people I played it with (in 2 games of 4 players) liked it. With so many other good games, why bother?

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