OBJECTIVE OF CIAPANO: The objective of Ciapano is to be the last one to remain.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 5 Players

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



Ciapano is a trick-taking game for 3 to 5 players, where the goal is to not win tricks. Ciapano 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. In a three-player game, each player received a hand of 13 cards. The dealer will receive 14 but will discard one facedown to be given to the player who wins the last trick. In a four-player game, players will receive hands of 10 cards, and in a 5-player game, 8 card hands are dealt. 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 Ciapano. 

Certain cards have penalty values attached to them. Aces are a penalty of 1 whole point, and 3s, 2s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks are all penalties of 1/3 of a point. There is a total of 11 points of penalties in the round and this can affect how much the last trick is worth depending on how the point values are split amongst players. See Scoring for more details on this. 


The gameplay is very simple for Ciapano. 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. 


Once all tricks are played players will tally their penalty scores from cards won in tricks. players cannot have partial points, so any fractions are ignored. For example, 2/3 of a point is worth zero and 1 1/3 of a point is worth 1. There is a total of 11 points in each round so how many points players score will determine how much the last tricks are worth. 

For example, if player A scored 4 and 1/3 points, player B Scored 4 and 2/3 points and player C scored 1 point and the last trick. So, player A scores 4 points, player B scores 4 points, and Player C scores 3 points. 1 point for the cards, and 2 points for the last trick. This equals a total penalty score of 11. 

If a player manages to score all the penalty points, then they score zero and all other players score 11 points. 

When a player scores 31 or more penalty points, 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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