OBJECTIVE OF TRIBELLO: The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 52 cards
RANK OF CARDS: (low) 2 – Ace (high)
TYPE OF GAME: Trick taking
INTRODUCTION OF TRIBELLO
Tribello is a three player trick taker commonly played in Illinois. This game is player over a number of rounds, and each round has different rules. Each player will have a specific quota of tricks that they must capture, and depending on the round, they may want to capture more or fewer tricks.
THE CARDS & THE DEAL
With a 52 card deck, deal out 13 cards to each player. A 13 card ghost hand is also dealt. This hand is called the pickup. The pickup should be kept as a face down pile of cards. The placement of the pickup hand must be consistent throughout the game.
There are four rounds played, and each round consists of three deals. In total, there are twelve deals in all for a complete game of Tribello. Deal will pass left each hand.
Round 1 – Cut the deck before dealing to determine the trump suit for the hand
Round 2 – Dealer calls trump after analyzing their hand
Round 3 – No trump suit
Round 4 – No trump suit, players want to avoid capturing tricks
In the first three rounds, the dealer must capture at least six tricks. The player left of the dealer must capture at least four tricks, and the player right of the dealer must capture at least three tricks.
In the fourth round, the dealer must capture three or fewer tricks. The player on the left of the dealer must capture four or fewer tricks, and the player on the right of the dealer must capture six or fewer tricks.
DRAWING FROM THE PICKUP
After all of the players have looked at their hand, the dealer decides how many cards they want to exchange with the pickup hand. The dealer discards the unwanted cards from their hand and draws that many from the pickup.
If there are any cards left in the pickup, the player sitting left of the dealer gets to exchange up to the remaining amount. They discard the cards they do not want and draw from the pickup. The same goes for the third player. If any cards remain in the pickup, they may discard and draw that many cards.
Discarded cards remain off to the side until the next deal.
THE FIRST TRICK
The dealer leads the first trick. All players must follow suit if they can or else play any card they want. In the first two rounds, the highest card in the lead suit or the highest trump suited card captures the trick. In the final two rounds, the highest card in the lead suit wins the trick. Whoever takes the trick leads.
Play continues as described until all of the tricks are captured. Deal passes left, and once each player has dealt, the next round begins. The game ends after the fourth round.
Rounds 1, 2, & 3 – Players earn one point for each trick captured beyond their requirement. Players lose one point for each trick under their requirement. For example, the dealer, who must capture 6 or more tricks, earns 1 point for capturing 7 tricks, 2 points for capturing 8 tricks and so on. They lose 1 point for capturing 5 tricks, 2 points for capturing 4 tricks, and so on.
Round 4 – Players lose one point for each trick captured above their requirement. They earn one point for each trick captured under their requirement.
The player who has the most points at the end of the final round wins the game.