Tarot card games were the original purpose of the tarot card decks, before they were used for fortune-telling.
The game of Tarot originated in Italy in the early 15th century as gioco dei Tarocchi.
All modern trick-taking card games that have trumps inherited the idea from the original tarot games.
The tarock decks are also popular in Germany and Switzerland with the suits of cups, pentacles, wands and swords, or the German suits of hearts, bells, acorns and leaves.
Unfortunately, the original rules of the Italian tarot cards games are lost but many different games are still played with different rules in every town or country.
Each suite consists of fourteen cards, ten of which are numeral and the other four are court cards: the King, Queen, Knight and Page.The trump cards are numbered from 1 to 21.
The word “trump” derives from the Italian word trionfi or “triumph” as tarot cards were originally designed for the card game Trionfo where the trumps had the role of atout.
The Fool, an ancient version of the modern Joker, is an unnumbered card and in some variations of the game it acts as the strongest trump.
In later card games ordinary suits were used as a replacement for the tarot trumps when a tarot deck was not available.
There are many variations of tarot card games and this is a simple version we like to play.
The traditional tarot card games are for three players that play each one against the other two.
The dealer gives out 25 cards to each player and the last 3 cards are left to the dealer.
The players see their cards and the dealer discards three cards.
The dealer plays one card first.
All players must follow suit or are allowed to play a trump if they don’t have a card of the ruling suit. If a player cannot follow suit or has no trumps, can play any other suit.
It is not allowed to play trumps first unless the player cannot follow suit or has no other cards.
The trick is won by the card with the highest numerical value that follows suit or the highest trump.
The winner of each trick plays the first card of the next one.
The game is over after three hands when all players have played as dealers.
At the end of a hand, the score is taken based on the value of the cards that were won by each player.
In each geographical area, the cards’ value is counted with different rules and this is how we count them.
The Fool is not put on the table, it is shown and guarded with the other cards. The Fool doesn’t win any card but cannot be won itself.
Rubamazzo (pronounced roobah-mahtzow) means “steal the deck” in Italian and it is a fun variation of the game above.
The basic game is played as Trumps but the cards won by each player are placed face up, with the winning card on top.
On his or her turn, a player can “steal” the cards (rubare il mazzo in Italian) from another player with a higher value trump or a matching card of a different suit.
The game then carries on with the player picking another card from the deck and playing as in the Trump game above.