OBJECTIVE OF BRISCOLA: The objective of Briscola is to earn the highest value of points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 6 Players (5 players should play Briscola Chiamata)
MATERIALS: A flat space, and a standard deck of 52 cards or an Italian set of cards
TYPE OF GAME: Trick-taking card game
OVERVIEW OF BRISCOLA
The goal is Briscola is to earn points to assure that you beat your opponent. In a two-player game, the amount of points needed is 61 points. You achieve this by winning tricks while playing and adding up the values of the cards won.
If you are not using an Italian deck all 10s, 9s, and 8s will need to be removed from the 52-card deck. Then the dealer shuffles the remaining deck, deals each player three cards and flips another card faceup on the table. The remaining deck is placed facedown next to the revealed card. The revealed card is called the Briscola. It is the trump suit for the remainder of the game.
Card Ranking and Values
The cards in this game have values attached to them along with a ranking.
The ranking of cards is as follows: Ace (highest), 3, King, Queen, Jack, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2.
The value of cards is below:
Ace has a point value of 11.
Three has a point value of 10.
King has a point value of 4.
Queen has a point value of 3.
Jack has a point value of 2.
All other cards hold no point value.
The following rules are for 2-player games. See the VARIATIONS section for other player rules.
Once cards are dealt the player right of the dealer goes first. They play one of their cards face-up. Then the next player will play their card. Since there are only 2 players one of three things will occur. One, the second player will play a card of the same suit as the first player. This means whoever plays the higher-ranking card wins the trick. Two, the second player plays a different suited card and neither card is Briscola. The first player wins the trick despite the second card’s rank. Three, the second player plays a card of a different suit than the first players and one of them is Briscola. The player who played the Briscola card wins the trick.
After the round is resolved the winner of the trick draws a card from the undealt deck first, then the loser may. The winner will lead the next trick as well.
After the undealt deck has been emptied and players go to draw cards but cannot, the loser will draw the face-up Briscola card. The game continues until each player has no cards in hand.
There is a special rule in Briscola. Unlike most trick-taking games the second player is not obligated to follow suit. They may play any of their cards whether or not they could follow suit.
END OF GAME
After the last trick has been taken, players will gather their won cards. The above values are used, and scores are totaled. The player with the higher score wins, or if each player receives 60 points the game ends in a draw.
For games with more than two players, the following changes are made. Games with 4 or 6 players two teams are made. In a 4-player game, two teams of 2 are formed and the game is played the same. In a 6-player game, two teams of 3 are formed and the game is played the same. For 4 players, teammates sit across from each other, and in a 6-player game, teams sit across from each other.
For three-player games, the game mechanics are the same except one 2-card is removed leaving a 39-card deck. Each player is still trying to score the highest amount.
For five-player games please see the rules for Briscola Chiamata.