OBJECTIVE OF TROGGU: Fulfill the trick requirements and win points (or try not to).
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-8 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: 62 card Swiss Tarot Deck (78 pack with omissions)
RANK OF CARDS: Discussed in detail below.
TYPE OF GAME: Tarot/Trick-Taking
INTRODUCTION TO TROGGU
Troggu, also known as Trogga or Tappä, is a Tarot game played in German speaking area of Switzerland called Wallis. The game is on the verge of extinction as the youth do not have much interest in the game following the technological revolution.
This game has an interesting characteristic- the fool. Classically, in Tarot games, the fool is used as an excuse, it is rule exempt and possesses no power in trick-taking. Contemporary Tarot games recognize the fool as the highest trump card of all. Troggu rules are an intermediary between the two customs of the fool. Typically, the fool is the highest trump, however, players may choose to not play it despite it being their only trump. Instead of playing the fool, players may play any other card and save it for later use. If played later, the fool loses its value to take tricks, and merely is used for its point value.
Troggu uses the Swiss Tarot card deck with Italian suits. The full deck has 78 cards but, the game only utilizes 62. The I, II, III, and IIII cards of the swords and batons (or long suits) are omitted, as are the X, IX, VIII, and VII of the cups and coins (or round suits).
The deck contains the following:
Round Suits (cups & coins), from high to low: King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, I, II, III, IIII, V, VI
Long Suits (swords & batons), from high to low: King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, X, IX, VIII, VII, V
The Fool (der Bättler), highest trump, ranks above XXI
21 permanent Trumps, ranks from XXI (high) to I (low)
Cards have the following point values:
Fool, trump XXI, trump I, and Kings: 5 points each
trumps II to XX: 1 point each
Queens: 4 points each
Cavaliers: 3 points each
Jacks: 2 points each
Number Cards: 1 point each
THE PLAYERS & THE DEAL
The game can accommodate from 3 to 8 players. However, games with 6 or 7 players are optimal. The initial dealer is chosen randomly and the positions passes to the right with each new hand. The dealer has the right to shuffles the cards and the player to their left cuts them. The dealer puts a set of cards face-down in the middle of the playing table to form the Tapp or the talon. After, the dealer deals the cards out to each of the players in sets. The deal starts with the player to the right of the dealer and moves counterclockwise. The number of cards in player’s hands and the number of cards in the Tapp depends on the number on players. Follow the table below:
Players Tapp Hands
3 Players 8 cards 6+6+6
4 Players 10 cards 4+4+5
5 Players 7 cards 4+4+3
6 Players 8 cards 4+5
7 Players 6 cards 4+4
8 Players 6 cards 4+3
For games with up to 6 players, one player or the Tappist, plays by themselves and against the rest of the players, who form a team (temporarily). The Tappist can improve their hand with cards from the Tapp. If there are 7 or 8 Players, the Tappist can reach out for help from a partner, and the two play against the rest of the players. The adjustments for 7 or 8 players are discussed below.
The player directly to the dealer’s right starts the bidding. Players may pass or play a normal game by declaring, “ich nehm’s” or “ich gehe,” players can also play Solo. Playing Solo means players do not look at the Tapp. If the first player passes, the next player to bid has the same options. The bidding moves to the right until the dealer concludes it.
Once a player offers to play normal, pause to see if any later speaker wishes to play Solo. Solo takes priority to normal. If there is no Solo declared, the game is played normally.
If the game has up to 6 player and everyone passes, players play misere, which is discussed bellow.
In normal games, the Tappist grabs all the cards in the Tapp, and discards an equal number of cards face-down to replace it. You may not discard cards worth 5 points, unless you hold four Kings. Trump cards worth one point may be discarded without declaring it to the other players. The value of cards discarded count toward the Tappists score.
If a Solo game is player there is no exchange. The Soloist plays the cards they were dealt. Players do not check the Tapp until the game is completed, in which the points count toward the Soloist.
The Soloist or the Tappist leads the first trick. Players should follow suit is possible, if not, they are required to play a trump. The highest value trump card wins the trick, if no trump is played, the highest value card of the suit led with wins the trick. The player who wins a trick leads in the next trick.
The highest ranking trump is typically the fool. But, you are not required to play it if your are nable to follow suit and have no other trumps. However, if you do so, the trick-taking power of the card is forfeited. It must be kept in hand until the last trick, then show it and put it in your team’s pile of tricks. If the player who holds the fool leads in the last trick, they display is as usual, and the next player determines the suit that is led with.
After all tricks have been taken, the teams count their points within their tricks. The Tappist or Soloist adds the value of the cards from the Tapp to their score. The side with greater than half the total points (58+ points) wins. A typically stake is 10 Rappen, which is paid to the winner by each opponent. If the points are 57-57, there is no winner or payout. If the loser’s points is less than 30 points the payout is doubled. If no tricks were taken by the losing team they payout triple the basic stake. This applies to the Solo games as well.
In the event all players pass, then a Misere (Misäär) is played. The Tapp is not used in play. The player to the right of the dealer leads the first trick, after each player plays as individuals who are trying NOT to rack up points. The player that earns the most points plays each player the basic stake.
RULES FOR 7 OR 8 PLAYERS
If each player passes, the person who has the fool in hand must play a normal game. If no player has the fool, the player with trump I plays the normal game. If both are in the Tapp, players play a Misere.
Calling on a Partner
The Tappist, again, has the option to call upon a temporary partner by calling any trump but the fool or XXI. Typically, XX is called upon unless it is in the hand of the caller. The player with the card called upon is the Tappist’s partner.
However, if the card is in the Tapp, the Tappist plays with no partner, despite other players not immediately realizing. If you wish to play alone you may call a trump in hand.
When playing Solo, there is no calling nor an exchange. The Soloist plays alone with the cards in hand.
The scoring and payouts proceed as usual.