OBJECTIVE OF BUSCA: The objective of Busca is to be the last player to remain.


MATERIALS: A modified 52-card deck or 40-card Italian deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game



Busca is a trick-taking game for 4 players, where the goal is to not win tricks. Players can do this by scoring points without scoring the most or least amount.

Busca follows many of the same rules as other trick-taking games but in this game, you are penalized for taking certain cards and winning the last trick. Players will be forced out of the game once their penalties reach a certain amount. The last player to remain in the game wins.


The first dealer will be random and then pass to the right at the start of each new round. If playing with a modified 52 card deck, you will need to remove the 8s, 9s, and 10s from the deck. This will leave you with aces, kings, queens, jacks, 7s, 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s, and 2s. 40 cards in total will be the deck.

Once the deck is sorted, the dealer will shuffle the cards and deal hands to each player anticlockwise. The players will receive hands of 10 cards. Once all players receive their hands, the game can begin.

Card Rankings and Values

Cards are ranked as follows. 3 (high), 2, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 7, 6, 5, and 4 (low). There are no trumps in Busca.

Certain cards have penalty values attached to them. Aces are a penalty of 3 points, and 3s, 2s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks are all penalties of 1 point. The only exception is the Ace of coins, or diamonds if playing with a modified 52-card deck. This card is called the Pita and is worth 8 points. It also has special rules attached to it for gameplay purposes.

There is a total of 40 points of penalties in the round with the last trick being worth 3 points.


The gameplay is very simple for Busca. Like every other trick-taking game it is a matter of leading and following tricks. The game starts with the player to the dealer’s right and continues anticlockwise.

The first player will lead the trick and all other players must follow suit if able. If not able, they may play any card they wish.

The player who plays the highest-ranked card of the leading suit wins the trick. They will also lead the next trick.

The pita has special rules, however. These rules affect the gameplay. Coins or diamonds cannot be led to the first trick, and the pita cannot be played to the first trick even if the player cannot follow suit.


Once all tricks are played players will tally their penalty scores from cards won in tricks. Players want to have scored at least one point without scoring the most. Players who score more or less than the other players gain Buscas.

A player who does not take any points will score one Busca. If two players have no score, then they each score 2 Buscas.

If a player manages to score all 40 points, then the other three players each add 3 Buscas to their scores.

If all players have at least one point, then the player with the most points scores Buscas based on their number of points. For 2 to 18 points one Busca is scored, for 19 to 22 points 2 Buscas are scored. Every point over 22 is worth an additional Busca, with 23 being worth 3 Buscas, and 37 points (the maximum in a round) 17 Buscas.

If multiple players tie for the most points, then they score more Buscas. For two players who tie all scores are doubled. For three players, each player scores 3 Buscas, and if all 4 players tie then each player scores 4 Buscas.

When a player scores 31 or more Buscas, they are removed from the game.


The game ends once only one player remains. This player is the winner of the game.

Amber Crook
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