OBJECTIVE OF PILOTTA: The objective of Pilotta is to be the first team with 351 points.  


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

TYPE OF GAME: Trick-Taking Card Game 



Pilotta is a trick-taking card game for 4 players. The goal is for your team to reach 351 points before your opponents.  

Pilotta is a partnership game. There will be two teams of 2 with partners sitting opposite each other.  


First, the deck is modified. All cards ranked 6 and lower are removed from the deck. This leaves a deck of 32 cards.  

The dealer first dealer is chosen at random and passes to the left for each new deal. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal each player 8 cards.  

Card Ranking and Point Values 

The ranking and point values depends on which suit is called as trumps. The trump suit will rank Jack (high), 9, Ace, 10, King, Queen, 8, and 7 (low). All other suits rank Ace (high), 10, King, Queen, Jack, 9, 8, and 7 (low).  

The points associated with cards depends on the suit they belong to. For the trump suit, the Jack is worth 20 points. The 9 is worth 14. The Ace is worth 11 points. The 10 is worth 10 points. The King is worth 3 points and the Queen is worth 2 points. The 8 and 7 are worth 0 points.  

For all other suits, the Aces are worth 11 points. The 10s are worth 10 points. The Kings are worth 4 points. The queens are worth 3 points, and the Jacks are worth 2 points. The 9s, 8s, and 7s are worth 0 points.  

The last trick is also worth 10 points. The total value of points that can be earned from tricks is 162 points.  


After cards are dealt there is a round of bidding to see who declares the trump suit. Players declare the trump suit they want and the number of points their team will be contracted to take. Players may bid or pass, once a player passes though they cannot bid any more. The minimum bid is 80 and bids must increase by 10-point increments. The bidding ends once all but one player passes. They are the bidder and they set the trump suit for the round.  

If all 4 players pass, with no bid being made, then the cards are collected and redealt.  


There are combinations that can be declared that can earn the teams more points. Players will all declare their highest-valued combination before they play their card to the first trick, and then show their highest-valued combination before playing to the second trick. The team that has the highest-valued combination can score all their combinations. The other team ignores their combinations and cannot score them. The only exception is Pilotta which consists of both the King and Queen of trump. This can always be scored by the team that holds it and it’s worth 20 points.  

The combinations and their values are as follows. There are sequences that consists of 3 or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order. The order they must follow is 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. 3 cards in consecutive order are worth 20 points, 4 cards in order are worth 50 points, and 5 or more cards in order are worth 100 points.  There are also certain sets of cards that can be declared. A set consists of four cards all of the same rank. The ones that can be declared are Aces, 10s, Kings, and Queens which are worth 100 points. Jacks which are worth 200 points, and 9s which are worth 150 points. 7s and 8s cannot be declared.  


To play the bidder will play the first card. They may play any card they wish. The following players must follow suit if able and if they cannot, they must play a trump. If a trump has already been played to the trick, they must attempt to beat the highest trump. If a player cannot follow suit or play a trump then they may play any card to the trick.  

The trick is won by the highest trump played, or of not applicable, by the highest card of the suit lead.  

The winner of the trick leads the next.  


Once all 8 tricks are played and won, scoring can begin. Both teams total their scores. Don’t forget the 10 points for the last trick. Declarations are not scored yet.  

If the team that won the bid made their contract, then both teams score their earned points for the round, and if they did not complete their contract then the opposing team scores both their points and the points that would have been earned by the bidding team. If a team wins all 8 tricks, they earn 250 points instead of the 162.  

To score a team takes their points values and drops the last digit of their score. So, there are 16 game points to be split between the two teams. For example, if one team scores 100 points and the other scores 62 then the first team scores 10 points and the other 6. If when dropping the last digit there are only 15 points scored the last point is scored by the team with the higher dropped digit, if there is a tie then the team with more points gets the point.  

After trick points are the stake (or what the highest bid was) is added to the team who scored more points for the round. Then the team who had the highest valued declaration scores all combinations their team held.  


The first team to reach 351 points is the winner. If a team believes they have the 351 points needed to win during a round they may end it early and calculate the points. If they did have 351 or more points, they are the winners regardless of what the other team’s score is, and if they did not have 351 points, they lose and the other team wins.  

Amber Crook
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