Tarocchini

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Tarocchini
Carte primiera bolognese al completo.png
Origin Italy
Type Trick-taking
Players 4
Skill(s) required Tactics, Strategy
Cards 62
Deck Tarot
Play Counter-clockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) R D C V A 10 9 8 7 6
Trump suit 21-1
Playing time 30 min.
Random chance Moderate
Related games
French tarot

Tarocchini is a point trick-taking Tarot card game from the 17th century. The diminutive form of Tarocco (referring to the reduction of the Bolognese pack from 78 to 62 cards, which probably occurred in the early 16th century), the game is also known as Partita.

Tarocchini is played by 4 players in two partnerships sitting opposite each other. The middle part of the game is very similar to the basic Tarot game. It adds a round of point-counting before and after the game based on sets and runs of the cards. An unusual feature is that the partners are allowed to make certain limited signals to each other during play.

The game is popular in the Bologna region of Italy and has been confined mostly to this area. Tarocchini is a very complex game of cards, yet the rules have changed little over the years.

Deck description[edit]

Partita can be played with a standard Tarot deck (where the 2–5 number cards in each suit have been removed), though normally, a special Tarot deck, the Tarocco Bolognese is used. The trump cards are in a non-standard order (probably because of this, the Bologna tarot decks were amongst the last to add numbers to the trump cards). The biggest difference in ordering is amongst what is known as the "Papi" (cards 2-5; Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope). In this version, all 4 Papi are equal (the last one played is the highest, in regards to taking a trick). In the Tarocco Bolognese, these cards are replaced by 2 pairs of identical looking moors.

Trump Name of the card Card Points
20* Judgement (Angelo) 5
19* World (Mondo) 5
18* Sun (Sole) -
17* Moon (Luna) -
16 Star (Stella) -
15 Tower (Saetta) -
14 Devil (Diavolo) -
13 Death (Morte) -
12 Traitor (Traditore) -
11 Hermit (Vecchio) -
10 Wheel (Ruota) -
9 Strength (Forza) -
8 Justice (Giustizia) -
7 Temperance (Tempra) -
6 Chariot (Carro) -
5 Love (Amore) -
4 Popess -
3 Empress -
2 Emperor -
1 Pope -
0 Magician (Bagattino) 5
Fool (Matto) 5
Suit Kings 5
Suit Queens 4
Suit Knights 3
Suit Jacks 2
Suit Pip cards 1
Note:Trump cards 17, 18, 19, 20, are not numbered in present day Bologna tarot decks.

Starting the game[edit]

As usual for Tarot card games, dealing and card play are counter-clockwise. The dealer gives 15 cards to each player, in 3 rounds of five cards apiece. The dealer takes the last two cards into his hand. The dealer has to discard two cards, which can not be "5 point" cards (such as kings, or the trumps worth 5 points). The cards that the dealer discards are counted as points to his side, unless he and his partner capture no tricks at all during the card play in which case the cards must be surrendered to the opponents.

After the first 5 cards have been dealt, if all players agree the game may andare a monte. If this happens, all the cards are thrown in, and the deal passes to the next player. The first player speaks first, declaring a monte if he wishes to restart the game. This continues with each player until it reaches the dealer. If all have declared a monte, then the game will be restarted.

Parts[edit]

The game consists of three parts. Just after the hand has been dealt, all players may score their hands according to the meld points contained within. Next, normal card play occurs. Finally, the partners score any meld points that they have in their captured tricks. The scoring of meld points after card play is unique to the Bolognesi tarot games.

First declaration[edit]

After the cards have been dealt, each player may declare certain combinations of cards that they hold in their hand. They do not have to declare anything, and may optionally declare a smaller set or run than they actually have. Anything that is declared must be placed face-up on the table. The decision of what to declare is an interesting strategic choice.

Gameplay[edit]

Once the first declaration of points is finished, normal card play insues. Note that some information has been disclosed by the declarations, so players will have more clues than usual as to the contents of the other players' hands. The last trick of the game has a bonus of 6 points. Once all tricks have been captured, count normal points in groups of 4 cards. The dealer (and his partner) will end up with two extra cards from the discard. If there are no points in these cards, they should be scored as 0 points. This will result in a total of 77 points for this part of the game.

During the actual card play, the partners are permitted to make certain signals to each other. Only one signal can be given at a time.

  • When a player has the lead, the partner may instruct his partner to lead his highest trump by saying sminchiate.
  • The player may strike the center of the table when playing a card. This indicates he has the highest remaining card in the suit of the card played (including trumps).
  • If the player strikes the edge of the table, that indicates he has the second highest card in the suit of the card played (including trumps).
  • If leading, the player may draw back the card slightly toward himself before laying it down, signaling that the partner should play his highest card in an attempt to capture the trick.

Scoring[edit]

After the normal card play points have been counted, the captured tricks are examined for meld points.

Meld points[edit]

The meld points are counted twice during a hand. The first time is from individual hands before card play has started. The second time is from the collected tricks of both partners.

Meld Points (Sets)                    Combination              Point Value    
       Sets (cricche)              Three/four tarocchi             18/36        
                                   Three/four Kings                17/34        
                                   Three/four Queens               14/28        
                                   Three/four Knights              13/26        
                                   Three/four Jacks                12/24
Meld Points (Sets)                    Combination             Point Value
        Runs                            Triplets
                             King +2 of 3 of the same suit    10 (+5 each extra card)
                                  +2 of 3 top trumps             (Q, Kn, J and Ace)
                                  +2 of 3 or more Papi            (20, 19, 18)
                                  +2 of 3 or more Aces

See also[edit]

External links[edit]