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.

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 natural hierarchy is ace > king > queen > jack > ten > 9 > 8 > 7 > 6 > 5 > 4 > 3 > 2, i.e. aces are high and tens are low. Historically, aces were the lowest cards, and this hierarchy is sometimes still prescribed for cutting. 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.

Full French-suited packs often contain up to 3 jokers, which are needed for some games. Jokers have neither suit nor rank.

French-suited Piquet pack[edit]

Historically, this was a French suited 36-card Piquet pack, lacking ranks 2–5. (This pack is still in use in Switzerland as the French-suited Jass pack; also it is quite common in Russia.) Around 1700 the descriptions of Piquet and other games played with the same pack changed and stipulated a 32-card Piquet pack, lacking ranks 2–6. Dropping the sixes made Piquet more interesting. Nowadays this 32-card pack is the standard pack for many European games including the French and Dutch national card games Belote and Klaverjas. It is also the more popular of the two alternative packs used for the German national game of Skat, the other being the German-suited 32-card Piquet pack.

French-suited Tarot packs[edit]

The 78-card Tarot Nouveau deck is the most widely used set for Tarot card games. A full set contains the standard 52 cards plus a Knight face card for each suit ranking between the Queen and Jack. 1 takes the place of the Ace and is the lowest ranked card. There are 21 numbered trump cards and one unnumbered card, The Fool, whose value and purpose varies according to the game.

The Cego and Industrie und Glück deck omits some of the pip cards leaving them with 54 cards.

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.

Southern packs[edit]

Southern German-suited packs contain 36 cards, organized into the 4 German suits 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, 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.

Northern packs[edit]

This is a German-suited pack without the sixes, as used for many Central European games such as Skat and Sixty-six / Mariáš. Historically this pack was popular as the standard pack for Piquet, after the sixes were dropped in that game to make it more interesting.

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. The role of the queen is played by the cavalier, visually distinct from the valet (jack) by riding a horse. There is no ten.

Standard Spanish-suited pack[edit]

The standard Spanish-suited pack consists of 40 cards in the ranks ace, king, cavalier, valet 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.

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.

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]