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Origin Italian
Alternative name(s) Zeco
Type Trick-taking
Players 3-4
Skill(s) required Tactics, Strategy
Cards 54
Deck Tarock
Play Counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) R D C V 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Trump suit 21-1
Playing time 30 min.
Random chance Moderate
Related games

Cego (Badishes Tarock), also called Ceco, from the Latin "Caecus" or "blind", is a trick-taking card game played mainly in Baden, Schwarzwald, and Lake Constance, in Switzerland. The game is similar to French tarot and Austrian Tarock. It is distinguished by a large Skat, or Talon, called "the Blind".


The 54 cards in Cego consist of 22 trumps, 16 face/court cards (images) and 16 (number cards) empty cards. 21 of the trumps cards are numbered from one to twenty-one. The highest trump is not numbered. It shows a gleeman and is called the Stieß or G'stieß (Fool).

All other cards (face and number cards) are of the regular suits: clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. In addition to the King, Queen, and Jack there is also the Knight. Face cards cannot win over the trumps, but are important because of their card value with respect to the total of points. Number cards have neither high card value nor are they very useful in winning tricks. The red number cards are numbered from one to four (one being the highest card) and the black number cards are numbered from seven to ten.

Card point values[edit]

King 5 points
Queen 4 points
Knight 3 points
Jack 2 points
Stieß/Gstieß (Fool) 5 points
21 or Mund (mouth) or Gack (rooster) 5 points
1 or Kleiner Mann (small man) or Geiß or Babber 5 points


Cego can be played by three or four players. Play proceeds counter-clockwise. Normally, one player plays against the rest. By winning tricks he tries to accumulate more card points than the rest of the players together - just as in Skat, a popular German card game. There are some special games called "Räuber" (robber), "Drescher" (thresher), in which every player plays for himself.

Unlike Skat and other major card games, Cego has no official set of rules. Thus, every region has established their own set of traditional rules. Sometimes, the rules differ even within a village. The following description is therefore to be seen as a general guideline only.


The four highest trumps in Cego.

4 players: The dealer deals 11 cards per player and 10 cards separately on the table. Those ten cards are called the blind (Der Blinde).

3 players: Every player gets 13 cards, 12 go into the blind.

With three players, the seven of spades, the seven of clubs, and the four of diamonds are taken out of the game; it is played with 51 cards only. In either case, there is no special order of dealing (unlike Skat).

After the dealing the players have to check if they can play a Solo: If a player has more than 8 trumps (truck), or 8 trumps + only 2 colors + 2 trumps with a card value higher than 17 he should call a Solo. If no one goes against it this player will play a hand game. He may not look at the blind but it counts for him during scoring.

The solo can be played as ultimo, if one has strong trump and additionally the small man (trump number 1). At the ultimo the last trick has to be taken with the small man. In some regions ultimos are also played with the 2- or 3-trump or with specific combinations of 1-, 2-, and 3-trumps. Playing solo one can call beforehand that he will not lose any tricks (called Durchmarsch - walkover).

If a player meets the requirements for a solo but doesn't say it, it's possible for the player who takes the blind to demand that all cards are put on the table. If a player is then caught copping-out the Solo, he has to pay the game (8 times the last bidded game value). This process called Schinden is not cheating, but a legal way of conduct bearing the risk of being caught.


See also[edit]