OBJECT OF ESCOBA: The object of Escoba is to be the first player or team to score 21 points. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 players

MATERIALS: One 40-card Spanish pack, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Capturing Card Game



Escoba is a capturing card game for 2 to 4 players. In 4 player games, you can have teams or play as individuals. For teams, partners should sit opposite of each other for the game. 

The goal of the game is to be the first player or team to reach a total of 21 points. players can do this by using their hands to capture cards throughout the rounds and scoring points for completing certain objectives. 


The first dealer is random but in future games, it is passed to the right. The dealer will deal several hands throughout the game so the remaining deck should be kept close to them for ease of dealing. 

The dealer will shuffle the deck and let the player to their left cut the deck. The dealer will start the game by dealing each player a hand of 3 cards and then dealing, face-up, four cards to the center of the table. 

Once players playout all their cards from hand the dealer will deal each player 3 more cards and will continue to do so after hands are played out until the deck is emptied. 

Card Values 

The cards all have values associated with them so you can capture cards from the center. Cards labeled 1 through 7 have the value associated with them numerically. Jacks have a value of 8. Horses have a value of 9 and kings have a value of 10. Remember that jacks, horses, and kings will have numbers printed on them as well, but the numbers do not reflect their value. 


The player on the dealer’s right will start the game and continue from them anticlockwise. A player’s turn consists of playing out one card from their hand. From here two things can happen, you will either capture cards or will leave your card on the table to be captured later. 

You are not obligated to play cards to capture, but if the card you play can capture cards you must. For example, you can choose to play a 6 to the table over your 8, even though your 6 will not capture anything. If you play the 8 however, you cannot choose to not capture the cards, you must do so. 

When capturing cards, they can be a single or a group of cards when added to the card played equal a value of 15. For example, if on the table there is a 4, 1, King, and 5. If you play a 5 to the table you can either capture the king, or you can capture the 4, 1, and 5. You cannot capture both options, you must choose. 

When you capture cards, you take the cards captured from the table, along with the card played and add them to your score pile, face down. 

If you capture all the cards from the table at once, this is called an Escoba. It is worth an additional point in the scoring section of the round and will need to be marked by leaving the played card faceup in your score pile. Escoba can happen at the start of the game for the dealer. If the dealer happens to deal four cards whose values equal 15 or 30, they capture all the cards and score one or two Escobas accordingly. 

The round is played like this until the deck is emptied, once the last card of the last hand is played scoring will begin. The last player or team to successfully capture a card from the table will capture the remaining cards. this does not however count as an Escoba. 


After the round is finished players will score their piles. Teams will compile their scores. There is a total of 4 points available to score in the scoring round. 

The first is for Cards. it goes to the player or team who captured the majority of the cards. if there is a tie no point is awarded. 

The second is for the suit of coins. The player or team who took the most coin suited cards wins a point. If there is a tie no point is awarded. 

The third is for the seven of coins. the player or team who captured the seven of coins is awarded a point. 

Finally, and fourth is the Prime point. It is awarded to the player or team who captured the best prime. This traditionally is awarded to the team who scores more 7s, but it is based on the ranking of differently suited cards. The ranking is 7 (high), 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and picture cards (low). The cards must all be of different suits, so the best possible prime is all four 7s. If each team has two 7s then the next highest card is compared and so forth. If both teams completely tie for the prime, then no point is awarded. 

Escobas are also scored now by tallying up the faceup cards in your piles. 

A cumulative score is kept over several rounds. 


The game is won by the player or team who reaches a score of 21 first. If both teams reach it 21 in the same round, the player or team with the higher point total wins, if still tied, the game continues until one player or team has the most points at the end of a round. They are the winner. 

Amber Crook
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