List of traditional card and tile packs

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This is a list of traditional sets of playing cards or gaming tiles such as mahjong tiles or dominoes. A typical traditional pack of playing cards consists of up to 52 regular cards, organized into 4 suits, and optionally some additional cards meant for playing, such as jokers or tarot trumps. The cards of each suit typically form a hierarchy of ranks. However, some traditional packs, especially from Asia, follow a different scheme.

French suited packs[edit]

French-suited cards are the most popular design and can be found in most countries. Historically, kings were the highest cards and aces were the lowest, and this hierarchy is sometimes still prescribed for cutting. Aces are now the most common high card in most games. In Ace–Ten card games such as pinochle, tens have the second-highest card-point value and therefore tend to rank high between ace and king rather than in their natural position. Other common high cards are twos, threes, and jacks.

Full French-suited pack[edit]

The full French-suited pack contains 52 cards, organized into the 4 French card suits spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts and 13 ranks. The modern common hierarchy is ace > king > queen > jack > 10 > 9 > 8 > 7 > 6 > 5 > 4 > 3 > 2, i.e. aces are high and twos are low. Many decks in France and Belgium use the numeral "1" for the ace. Full French-suited packs often contain anywhere from one to four jokers with two being the most common, which are needed for some games. Zwicker decks come with six jokers. Jokers have neither suit nor rank. Some packs are sold with accessories needed for specific games like cribbage boards, bidding boxes, or cut cards.

Double packs (2x52 plus jokers) and triple packs (3x52 plus jokers) with the same back designs are sold for Canasta and Samba. These decks usually contain point values marked on the cards.

Stripped French-suited packs[edit]

24-card stripped decks are often sold in Germany and Austria for Schnapsen. These decks go from nines to aces in each suit. Doubled versions of this deck (2x24) are used to play Pinochle and Doppelkopf.

32-card packs have ranks seven through ace in each suit and are very common in Europe. They are used to play Piquet, Belote, Skat, Klaverjas, and Préférence. Doubled decks (2x32) are sold for Bezique.

36-card packs go from ranks six through ace in each suit. This pack is in use in western Switzerland as the French-suited Jass pack and is quite common in Russia for playing Durak. It was once used to play Piquet until the sixes were dropped to make the game more interesting.

40-card packs are found mostly in Latin countries where they compete against local Italian or Spanish suited decks. These sets range from two to seven and jack to ace in each suit. An exception is Portugal where the ranks go from two to six, eight, and jack to ace.

Expanded French-suited pack[edit]

63-card packs are produced for playing the six-handed version of 500, a variant of Euchre. These decks add elevens, twelves, red thirteens, and a single joker to the standard 52 card pack. The decks are mostly sold in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

French-suited Tarot packs[edit]

The 78-card Tarot Nouveau deck is the most widely used set for Tarot card games in France, Belgium, Denmark, and parts of Switzerland. A full set contains the standard 52 cards plus a Knight face card for each suit ranking between the Queen and Jack. Aces are marked with "1" and are the lowest ranked cards. There are 21 numbered trump cards and one unnumbered and suitless card, The Fool, which excuses the player from following suit.

The 54-card Cego and Industrie und Glück decks omit the aces through sixes in black suits and fives through tens in the red suits. They are found in Germany, Switzerland, and throughout the former Austro-Hungarian empire. In games played with these decks, The Fool is part of the trump suit. Plain suit cards don't have corner indexes.

German suited packs[edit]

German-suited cards are still common in large parts of Central Europe, although they generally compete with French-suited cards, which are often more popular.

Full German-suited pack[edit]

Full German-suited packs are largely confined to southern Germany and Austria where Bavarian tarock and Jass are played. They contain 36 cards, organized into the four German suits of acorns, leaves, hearts, and bells and 9 ranks. The role of the queen is played by another male figure (ober) similar to the jack (unter). The ober has its suit sign placed in a high position, and the unter has it placed in low position. Aces are styled as deuces. The modern natural hierarchy is ace > king > ober > unter > ten > 9 > 8 > 7 > 6, i.e. aces are high. In Austria and South Tyrol, the Six of Bells is often used like a joker.

Italian manufacturers also started producing 40-card packs for South Tyrol since the 1980s. This set includes the 5s which allows players to play Italian card games that require 40 cards.

Standard German-suited pack[edit]

This is a German-suited pack without the sixes, as used for many Central European games such as Skat and Sixty-six / Mariáš. Some packs add the Six of Bells to make it into a 33-card deck.

Stripped German-suited packs[edit]

24-card sets are available for Schnapsen. They go from ranks nine to ace in each deck. The doubled deck version (2x24) is used for Doppelkopf. Another doubled deck version for Pinochle and Gaigel replaces rank nine with sevens.

Swiss suited packs[edit]

Swiss-suited cards are used only in part of the German-speaking area of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Locally they are known as "German" cards.

Jass pack[edit]

The only frequently encountered Swiss-suited pack is known as the Jass pack. It contains 36 cards and is very similar to the southern German-suited pack. The main difference is that instead of leaves and hearts there are shields and bells, and the ten is styled as a banner.

Kaiser pack[edit]

The 48-card Kaiser pack is only produced to play Kaiserspiel, which requires 40 or 48 cards. If the banner and deuce are regarded as a ten and ace, the pack is equivalent to an extended Jass pack that lacks only aces. If the banner and deuce are regarded as ace and deuce, the pack is equivalent to a full Spanish-suited pack.

Spanish suited packs[edit]

Spanish-suited cards are used in most Spanish-speaking countries and in the south of Italy.

Full Spanish-suited pack[edit]

The full Spanish-suited pack contains 48 cards, organized into the 4 Spanish suits swords, clubs, cups and coins and 12 ranks. These decks usually include two jokers. The court cards are usually numbered. The role of the queen is played by the caballo (cavalier), visually distinct from the sota (jack) by riding a horse. The common ranking from to low to high is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, jack (10), cavalier (11), king (12), and ace (1).

Standard Spanish-suited pack[edit]

The standard Spanish-suited pack consists of 40 cards in the ranks ace, king, cavalier, jack and 2–7.

Spanish-suited Tarot pack[edit]

The uncommon 64-card Tarocco Siciliano set uses Spanish styled straight swords and crude clubs like other southern Italian decks. It omits the Two and Three of coins, and numerals one to four in clubs, swords and cups. One card, the Ace of Coins, is almost never used as it was added solely for the purpose of the stamp tax. It is one of the rare sets to feature female knaves.

Italian suited packs[edit]

Italian-suited cards are used only in the north of Italy.

Full Italian-suited pack[edit]

The full Italian-suited pack contains 52 cards, organized into the 4 Spanish suits swords, batons, cups and coins and 13 ranks. It is very similar to the full Spanish-suited pack, but does have tens as pip cards.

Standard Italian-suited pack[edit]

Like the standard Spanish-suited pack, the standard Italian-suited pack consists of 40 cards in the ranks ace, king, cavalier, knave and 2–7.

Italian-suited Tarot packs[edit]

Italian game packs are largely confined to Italy and parts of Switzerland. Among them, the 78-card Tarocco Piemontese is the most popular. Each suit now includes the Queen between the King and Knight. The hierarchy of the pip cards depends on its suit. The Fool is labelled 0 while trump 20 is usually the strongest, even beating trump 21.

A rarer 78-card set is the Swiss 1JJ Tarot found in a few pockets in Switzerland. Despite using Italian suits, the trumps labelled in French.

The 62-card Tarocco Bolognese omits pip cards 2 to 5, has Ace instead of 1, and makes the bottom four of the trumps equal in rank. It is used to play Tarocchini.

Ganjifa packs[edit]

Main article: Ganjifa

The Ganjifa packs are associated with India and Persia. They are typically hand painted and many different designs are known. The suits vary and can number 8, 10, 12 or more. A feature of Ganjifa cards is that they are often circular, although rectangular designs also exist.

Hanafuda pack[edit]

Main article: Hanafuda

The Japanese Hanafuda pack contains 48 cards. There are 12 suits representing months, and three ranks: normal, poetry ribbon and special. Every normal card exists twice.

Mahjong[edit]

Main article: Mahjong

Chinese domino packs[edit]

Further information: Chinese dominoes

References[edit]