Tarocchini

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Tarocchini, the diminutive form of Tarocco, referring to the reduction of the Bolognese pack from 78 to 62 cards, which probably occurred in the early 16th century, also known as Partita, is a point trick-taking Tarot card card game from the 17th century.

Tarocchini is played by 4 players in two partnerships sitting opposite each other. The middle part of the game is very similar to the basic Tarot game. It adds a round of point-counting before and after the game based on sets and runs of the cards. An unusual feature is that the partners are allowed to make certain limited signals to each other during play.

The game is popular in the Bologna region of Italy and has been confined mostly to this area. Tarocchini is a very complex game of cards, yet the rules have changed little over the years.

Contents

Deck description

Partita can be played with a standard Tarot deck (where the 2–5 number cards in each suit have been removed), though normally, a special Tarot deck, the Tarocco Bolognese is used. The trump cards are in a non-standard order (probably because of this, the Bologna tarot decks were amongst the last to add numbers to the trump cards). The biggest difference in ordering is amongst what is known as the "Papi" (cards 2-5; Popess, Empress, Emperor, and Pope). In this version, all 4 Papi are equal (the last one played is the highest, in regards to taking a trick). In the Tarocco Bolognese, these cards are replaced by 2 pairs of identical looking moors.

Starting the game

As usual for Tarot card games, dealing and card play are counter-clockwise. The dealer gives 15 cards to each player, in 3 rounds of five cards apiece. The dealer takes the last two cards into his hand. The dealer has to discard two cards, which can not be "5 point" cards (such as kings, or the trumps worth 5 points). The cards that the dealer discards are counted as points to his side, unless he and his partner capture no tricks at all during the card play in which case the cards must be surrendered to the opponents.

After the first 5 cards have been dealt, if all players agree the game may andare a monte. If this happens, all the cards are thrown in, and the deal passes to the next player. The first player speaks first, declaring a monte if he wishes to restart the game. This continues with each player until it reaches the dealer. If all have declared a monte, then the game will be restarted.

Parts

The game consists of three parts. Just after the hand has been dealt, all players may score their hands according to the meld points contained within. Next, normal card play occurs. Finally, the partners score any meld points that they have in their captured tricks. The scoring of meld points after card play is unique to the Bolognesi tarot games.

First declaration

After the cards have been dealt, each player may declare certain combinations of cards that they hold in their hand. They do not have to declare anything, and may optionally declare a smaller set or run than they actually have. Anything that is declared must be placed face-up on the table. The decision of what to declare is an interesting strategic choice.

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