OBJECTIVE OF BOTIFARRA: Take valuable tricks and reach 101 points first.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players (fixed partnerships)
NUMBER OF CARDS: 48 card Spanish deck
RANK OF CARDS: 9 (high), A, K, Horse, Jack, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
TYPE OF GAME: Point Trick-taking
AUDIENCE: Adults and Teens
INTRODUCTION TO BOTIFARRA
Botifarra is a card game played in Catalonia, which is in the Northeast of Spain. This game is unique in that it has strict rules and gives typically worthless cards importance in play. The game is similar to Manilla in the mechanics of it but the rules of Botifarra diminish some of the luck present in Manilla.
Players work in fixed partnerships to take valuable tricks. The first team to reach 101 points wins. It is not the number of tricks that are taken that is important, but the point value of the tricks you do take.
To learn the general rules of trick-taking games, click here.
Botifarra uses the 48 card Spanish deck. It has 4 suits: coins or oros, cups or copes, swords or espases, and batons or bastons. The cards number from 1 to 12.
The 10 is called a Sota (Jack).
The 11 is called a Cavall (Horse).
The 12 is called a Rei (King).
Cards rank as follows: 9 (high), A, K, Horse, Jack, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
The 9s are called Manilla.
The cards have the following point values:
Nine: 5 points
Ace: 4 points
King: 3 points
Horse: 2 points
Jack: 1 point
Winning a trick is also worth 1 point. This makes for a total of 72 points per hand. Teams that earn 36+ points near the end of the game will probably win. Scores may double, this will be explained in detail below.
After shuffling, the dealer deals out the entire deck in sets of 4 cards at once. The deal starts with the player to the right of the dealer and continues right. Once a hand is completed, the deal also moves to the right. The player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck.
The dealer selects the trump suit or chooses Botifarra or no trumps. Dealer’s can also choose to pass the responsibility of picking trumps to their partner. However, the must choose, and cannot pass.
Once the trump suit has been declared, members on the opposing team (the defenders) can opt to double or contrar the hand if they wish. Then, members on the dealer’s team can re-double (recontrar) the hand. Lastly, the defenders can double again for the re-redouble or Sant Vicens.
Botifarra games are by nature doubled so they can be doubled a total of 4 times.
Doubling moves to the right of the player to declare trumps. So, the player to the right of the declarer can contrar, the player to their right can recontrar, and so on.
Turns move to the right, starting with the player to the right of the dealer. They lead in the first trick, after the winner of the previous trick leads in the next.
Tricks that are taken are placed face-down in front of one member of a team.
A trick is won with the highest trump card, or if no trump card was played, the highest card from the suit led with.
A trick can be led with any card.
- You must play a card that follows suit if possible,
- If your partner isn’t winning in a trick, you must play a card that would beat all others in the trick, if possible. This could mean out-trumping a trump card.
- If you are unable to play a higher ranking card than all others or your partner is winning the trick then you are required to play a card within these parameters:
- If your partner is winning you can only play a counting card (10, 11, 12, 1, or 9). or you can play the lowest value card you have in hand of the suit led with.
- However, if your opponents are winning you are required to play the lowest value card you have in hand of the suit led with.