This is a game for three players using the 54 card pack that has a reputation for being a little more sophisticated than most.
Pack: A reduced tarot of 54 cards is used consisting of four regular suits of 8 cards, and a suit of 22 trumps (the 1-21 and Tomfool).
Ranking: Standard ranking is used...
Pips rank in suit from high to low:
King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7
Empty Cards: These are cards that have values of 1 point or less.
Honours: The Magician, The World, and Tomfool are called The Honours. They are always among the highest scoring cards.
Card Points are:
A game consists of three hands
Deal: First Dealer is chosen at random or by consent with the role moving to the player on the left after each hand.
Dealer puts the first 6 cards to one side as a Stock, then hands each player four packets of 4 cards.
Auction: Starting with Dealer’s left (Eldest), players take turns to bid to play as Declarer, playing against the others. From the lowest the bids are:
- Three Cards: Declarer exposes the cards of the stock to all and chooses either the first or second three to take into his/her hand. The remaining cards go towards the Defender’s tricks. Declarer must then discard three cards that may not include either Kings or Honours and will count towards Declarer’s tricks.
- Take Three: This is exactly the same as Three Cards but may only be called to overbid Three Cards. Multiplies the raw score by 2
- Two Cards: Declarer exposes the cards of the stock to all and chooses either the first two, the middle two, or the last two cards to take into his/her hand. The remaining cards go towards the Defender’s tricks. Declarer must then discard two cards that may not include either Kings or Honours and will count towards Declarer’s tricks at the end. Multiplies the raw score by 3
- One Card: Declarer exposes the cards of the stock and chooses one to take into his/her hand. The remaining cards go towards the Defender’s tricks. Declarer must then discard one card that may not be either a King or an Honour and will count towards Declarer’s tricks at the end. Multiplies the raw score by 4
- Solo: The cards of the stock go unseen towards the Defender’s tricks. Multiplies the raw score by 8
Bidding continues until two players pass. A player who passes may not bid later in the round. A player may on their turn call “I hold” and should another player bid, may then claim that bid for him/her self.
Should all three players pass then a Beggar’s game is played. Players’ play for themselves and aim to avoid winning points but must win a trick if they can. When card points are counted, the player with the highest score is the looser and must play each opponent in game points equal to the difference between the card points they won.
Declarations: Before the hand is played, Declarer may declare to win some bonuses. The points scored for these depend upon the bonus being declared before or after drawing any cards from the stock. If a Solo is played, the score as if declared before the draw. If Declarer fails to win a Bonus, then each of the Defenders score for it.
- 70 Points: Declarer contracts to win at least 70 card points. Scores 10 points before the draw and 5 points after it
- 90 Points: Declarer contracts to win at least 90 card points. If Declarer has already declared for 70 Points before the draw, then it is allowed to declare for 90 Points after and score for both separately. Scores 40 points before the draw and 20 points after it
- Against Honours: Declarer contracts to win the hand without having any Honours in his/her hand or discards. If declared before the draw is made, then Declarer may not take an Honour, however, if the draw makes this unavoidable, then Declarer has lost both the bonus and the hand. Scores 20 points before the draw and 10 points after it
- Against Kings: Declarer contracts to win the hand without having any Kings in his/her hand or discards. If declared before the draw is made, then Declarer may not take a King, however, if the draw makes this unavoidable, the Declarer has lost both the bonus and the hand. Scores 20 points before the draw and 10 points after it
- The Sparrow: Declarer contracts to win the last trick with The Magician. Scores 20 points before the draw and 10 points after it
- The Owl: Declarer contracts to win the second to last trick with The High Priestess. Scores 40 points before the draw and 20 points after it
- The Cockatoo: Declarer contracts to win the third to last trick with The Empress. Scores 60 points before the draw and 30 points after it
All players may then score a bonus for declaring that they hold certain cards:
- Honours: The player has all three Honours. Scores 3 points
- Half Honours: The player has two Honours. Scores 2 points
- Kings: The player has all four Kings. Scores 5 points
- All players may score for winning a Bird for the following points:
- The Sparrow: 5 points
- The Owl: 10 points
- The Cockatoo: 15 points
Play: Declarer (unless a Beggar’s game is played, in which case, Eldest) leads to the first trick by placing a card face up on the table. Each player in turn, moving to the left, must play a card from their hand of the suit led – this is called following suit. If they do not have any cards of the suit led, it is called being void in that suit and they must play a trump card instead. However, if they have no trumps, they may then play any other card, though it will not win. Whoever plays the highest trump to the trick wins it, or if trumps are not played, then whoever played the highest card of the suit led wins it. The winner takes the cards and places them face down in their trick pile to be counted at the end.
The player that wins the trick then leads to the next one and play continues until the hand has been played out.
Emperor Trick: If all three honours are played to the same trick, then it is The Juggler that wins it.
Scores: Card points are counted individually adding 1 point for every trick won (cards of the discard or stock do not count as tricks). Each player then receives a raw score equal to the sum of the following...
- Basic Score: 2 points plus the number of bids made in the bidding round. This is scored by Declarer if the bid was won and by each of the Defenders if it was lost.
- Over Score: This is the number of card points won or lost over or below 61. It is scored by Declarer if the bid was won and by each of the Defenders if it was lost.
- General Bonuses: The bonuses available to all players, scored by the individual concerned.
- Declarer’s Bonuses: These are scored by Declarer if they were achieved and by each of the Defenders if lost.
The game points won by each player for the hand is equal to their raw score for the hand multiplied according to the bid made by Declarer. If any players have reached or exceeded 100 game points, they receive a further bonus of 10 points and players settle up according to the differences in their scores. If play continues beyond this, the scores are zeroed.
Note: Some players allow Contras, Re-Contras, and Sub-Contras during the bidding round. If allowed, any contra bar the bidders Re-Contra is also considered to be a pass. Contras to the bid will multiply the values of the Basic Score and the Over Score by 4. If allowed, Declarer’s bonuses may also be subject to Contras but these will multiply that score by 2.