On the twenty-third day of the sixth month in the thirty-first year of the zhiyuan period (17 July 1294), we caught Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Zhugou playing cards, and have also found wood blocks to print cards. Each person has admitted to the truth of the accusation. We have, according to the rules, passed judgement and punished correctly the organizer Lu Donger, accessory to gambling Zheng Zhugou, the owner of the premises Jiang Sier, and the block printer Ye Lin, and dispatched to the Ever-abundant Treasury for deposit the nine cards (zhipai) that were about to be destroyed, and...
Source: Tarocchi by Philebus
This is a game for three players with an interesting feature of a bargaining round. If played for stakes, and according to Michael Dummett it is played for high stakes, the bargaining offers a chance to limit the potential losses of a bad hand. This will also introduce you to a declarations round, a common feature to many tarot games.
This is played with a 78 card pack, traditionally the Piedmontese cards. As with some other Italian games, the Angel is the highest trump and honour, not the Mond. Cards use irrational ranking.
The Fool, I-XXI of trumps, and then in the suits:
Spades & Clubs / Swords & Batons
K, Q, C, V, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Hearts & Diamonds / Cups & Coins
K, Q, C, V, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Honours 5 points
Kings 5 points
Queens 4 points
Cavaliers 3 points
Valets 2 points
All others 1 point
The first Dealer is chosen at random with deal moving to the right after each hand. Players are each dealt 25 cards in packets of 5 with Dealer taking 8 in the last packet. After the second, third, and fourth rounds of the deal, there is a bargaining round in which players evaluate their hands and bargain to continue or discontinue the hand.
In each of the three sessions of bargaining, players beginning with Eldest, speak in turn. They have four options:
- They may pass
- They may demand a sum of game points to discontinue the hand
- They may offer a sum of game points to discontinue the hand
- Or they may call “Continue”
When a player calls “Continue” then the bargaining session ends and the deal continues. Otherwise, each player may speak in turn until the points demanded and the points offered total zero. At that point, players settle up in points and the hand is thrown in with deal moving to the next player.
Within a single session, once a player has spoken, they may not speak again to improve their situation from the last time they spoke.
So, a player who has passed, may pass again, make an offer or make a demand. A player who has made a demand, may next either pass, demand less, or even make an offer. A player who made an offer may only pass or offer more. However, any player may, in turn, always call “Continue”.
If the deal is completed, then Dealer discards 3 cards that may not include either honours or kings. The discarded cards will count towards Dealer’s tricks at the end.
After the discard, players can declare for bonuses. The points awarded are not card points and do not count towards winning. They are scored in game points against both of the opponents before play commences.
Abundance: The player holds 10 or more trumps. These must be shown to the other players. Scores 10 points plus 1 point for every trump over 10.
Kings: The player holds all four kings. This scores 20 points plus the player may score 5 points for every honour card held in addition.
Mitigati: The player holds all three honour cards. This scores 15 points plus the player may score 5 points for every King held in addition.
Mixed Honours: The player holds kings and honours that total 4 or more cards. This scores 10 points plus 5 points for each additional card.
Cards used to declare an Abundance, may also be used to declare the other bonuses. However, cards may not be used to declare more than one of the other bonuses. So, a player may use the XX to declare Abundance and Mitigati - but, they may not use the XX to declare for Abundance, Mitigati and Mixed Honours. Also, a player may be able to declare both Kings and Mitigati but cannot use the Kings to increase the score of Mitigati or use the Honours to increase the score of Kings.
Eldest, the player to Dealer’s right, leads to the first trick, playing any card in his/her hand to the middle of the table. Each player in turn, moving to the right, must then play a card of the same suit (follow suit). If a player cannot follow suit, then they must play a trump, if they cannot play a trump, then they can play any card, though it will not win. If no trumps have been played, then the highest card of the suit led wins the trick and that player takes the cards and puts them into his/her trick pile. Otherwise, the highest trump played wins the trick.
The Fool may be played to any trick as an excuse for not playing a card you are otherwise obliged to play, but may be neither won nor lost. At the end of a trick to which the Fool has been played, the person who played it takes it into his/her own trick pile and gives the player who won the trick, an empty card from their trick pile in exchange.
Counting the Cards
Unusually, the cards are counted singly, making a total of 129 points. At then end of each hand, players win or lose game points for every card point over or below 43.