What Card Games Can You Play With a Tarot Deck?

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By Eric Wilson

Tarot decks are often associated with divination and fortune-telling, but did you know that they can also be used for playing card games? If you have a tarot deck lying around and are looking to try something new, here are some card games you can play with it:

1. Tarocchi

Tarocchi is a trick-taking game that originated in Italy in the 15th century and was originally played with a tarot deck.

The game is played with four players divided into two teams. The objective of the game is to win tricks by playing the highest card in each round.

How to Play:

  • Each player is dealt 18 cards, leaving six cards in the middle as the ‘stock’.
  • The top card of the stock is turned over and determines the trump suit for that round.
  • The player to the dealer’s left leads with any card they choose.
  • Players must follow suit if possible; otherwise, they can play any card.
  • The highest trump or highest card of the led suit wins the trick.

2. French Tarot

French Tarot is another trick-taking game that uses a tarot deck and is popular in France.

It is played with three to five players, and each player plays individually rather than on teams. The objective of the game is to win tricks and score points.

How to Play:

  • The dealer deals out all of the cards, including an extra hand called ‘the dog.’
  • The player to the left of the dealer leads with any card they choose.
  • The highest trump or highest card of the led suit wins the trick
  • Players earn points for winning tricks and bonuses for specific card combinations.

3. Cego

Cego is a trick-taking game that is played with a tarot deck in parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The game is played with two to five players and involves bidding on the number of tricks a player thinks they can win in each round.

How to Play:

  • Each player is dealt nine cards, leaving six cards in the middle as the ‘stock’.
  • Players take turns bidding on the number of tricks they think they can win in that round.
  • The player who makes the highest bid becomes the ‘declarer’ and plays against the other players.
  • If the declarer wins as many tricks as they bid, they earn points; otherwise, they lose points.

4. Minchiate

Minchiate is a tarot-based game that originated in Florence, Italy in the early 16th century.

It is played with a deck of 97 cards that includes all of the cards from a standard tarot deck plus additional trump cards and court cards. The game can be played with two to six players.

How to Play:

  • The dealer deals out all of the cards to each player (depending on how many are playing) and places four cards face up on the table as the ‘briscola.’
  • Players take turns playing a card from their hand, trying to win tricks.
  • Players earn points for winning tricks and bonuses for specific card combinations.

In Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the many card games you can play with a tarot deck. Whether you’re looking for a new way to pass the time or want to explore the history and culture surrounding tarot cards, these games are sure to provide hours of entertainment.