PIEDICAVALLO TAROCCHI



OBJECTIVE OF PIEDICAVALLO TAROCCHI: The objective of Piedicavallo Tarocchi is for your team to have the most points at the end of the game.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 players

MATERIALS: A modified Tarocco Piemontese deck, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game

AUDIENCE: Adult


OVERVIEW OF PIEDICAVALLO TAROCCHI

Piedicavallo Tarocchi is a trick-taking game for 4 players. The goal is for your team to have the most points at the end of 4 rounds.

Players will form 2 teams of 2 and sit opposite their partner.

SETUP

The deck is modified by removing the 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s of the swords and batons, and the 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s of the cups and coins. This will leave you with a 62-card deck.

The first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the right for each new deal. Each player will deal once.

The dealer will shuffle the deck and allow the player to their left to cut. Then the dealer will deal each other player 15 cards, starting with the player to their right and continuing counterclockwise. The dealer will be dealt 17 cards.

The dealer will then pick up their hand, and discard 2 cards from their hand face down. They may not discard any cards worth 5 points (discussed below). The dealer may only discard trumps if they have no other options or if after discarding, they have no other trumps in hand. They must announce if and how many trumps they discarded. These discarded cards will be scored by the dealer’s team, but only if they win at least 1 trick during the round.

Card Rankings and Point Values

The ranking of cards depends on what suit they belong to.

For the trump suit or the tarocchi, there are 21 cards that rank in numerical order from 21 (high) to 1 (low).

For the cups and coins suits the ranking is King (high), Queen, Horse, Jack, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (low). These are known as the red suits.

For the swords and batons suits the ranking is King (high), Queen, Horse, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 (low). These are known as the black suits.

There is also the fool card which belongs to no suit.

There are point values associated with cards as well. The Kings, the fool, trump 1, and trump 21 are all worth 5 points each. Queens are worth 4 points. Horses are worth 3 points each. Jacks are worth 2 points each, and all other cards are worth 1 point each. There is a total of 114 points available per round.

GAMEPLAY

The player to the dealer’s right leads the first trick. They may lead any card, and all following players must follow suit if able. If they cannot follow suit a player must play a trump if possible. If they cannot, they may play any card to the trick.

The trick is won by the highest trump played. If not applicable, the trick is won by the highest-ranked card of the suit led.

The exception to the above rules is when a player plays the fool. It can be played to any trick. It will never win a trick, but the card is not captured by the winner of the trick, either. Instead, the fool, when played, is put into the scoring pile of the team who played it. It will be scored only if that team wins at least one trick during the round. If the fool is used to lead a trick, the second card played to the trick will determine the suit that must be followed by the remaining players.

Communication

You are allowed to signal and even talk to your partner during the game. All communication must be perceivable by all players and must follow certain restrictions. All players must know what each signal means.

You may only give information when playing a card to a trick, and the card you play determines what information you may give. Any information given must be true.

When playing a trump card or the fool you may signal information about the remaining trumps in your hand to your partner. Any trumps ranked 21 to 15 may be outwardly declared, any other trumps may not be declared but you may state how many other trumps you hold. You can signal that you hold the current highest unplayed trump by banging the table once or saying batto, or that you hold the next highest two by banging twice or saying batto twice. You may also declare if you have the 1 of trumps if it’s in jeopardy of being captured, the fool or if you hold no more trumps.

COINS, CUPS, SWORDS AND BATONS

For the other suits you may always give this information when playing a card of the same suit., You may declare kings, queens, horses, and jacks specifically, or you may state how many numeric cards you hold but not which ones. You can state how many cards of a suit you hold. In addition, you can say if you hold the current highest un-played card of the suit by saying batto, or state if you hold no more cards of the suit.

OPPOSITE SUITS

Players may give specific information about the suits of the opposite color while playing a card to a trick. So, if playing a red card, you may give information about the black suits. The phrase alto batto signifies that the player holds one of the kings of the opposite color, you may not specific which. If you hold both you may say alto batto twice to signify this. You may say alto to signify that you hold no cards of one of the opposite-colored suits. players may also declare kings, queens, horses, and jack by stating them and the color of the suit, but not which suit they belong to. You may do the same for how many of the numeric cards you hold.

DEALER

The dealer may also give information about the cards they discarded by holding their hand about the pile and following the rules stated above.

PARTNER PLAYS

You may in general always suggest what your partner should play, but restrictions apply when mentioning trumps, or specific suits. Players may only mention trumps when you are playing a trump. You can only talk about specific cards of a suit you are currently playing. You may mention a card of the opposite color of the suit you are playing but not which suit of that color specifically. Playersmay also suggest they play a card they have previously mentioned by saying the phrase farlo.  Your partner may always choose to ignore your request.

SCORING

After the round has ended, players score the cards in their score piles based on their values. The fool and the discarded cards can only be scored if their team has won at least 1 trick, if not they are given to the other team to score.

END OF GAME

The game ends after the fourth round is finished and scored. The team with more points is the winning team. If there is a tie an additional round may be played.

Amber Crook
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