This is probably the oldest form of cartomancy, dating back to the 16th century at least. People would cut the deck to pull one card, essentially to test whether their luck was running high, before making a decision. Similar principles led to the development of solitaire games in the 17th century.
Tarot Game Rules
Despite what you may have heard, tarot cards were not the original playing cards. They were, however, originally used for playing card games. Here are some of the games that are played with tarot cards.
Tarot Game Books
- History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack: Volume 1 by Michael Dummett
- History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack: Volume 2 by Michael Dummett
- The Game of Tarot by Michael Dummett
Tarot Gaming Software
The Vassal Game Engine, which is available for Mac as well as PC, has two downloadable Tarot Card modules that will let you play Tarok or any other Tarot based game. One of the modules is based on cards from Trionfi, and the other with rules from Pagat.
Another great way to play with Tarot cards is to download PySol, which is free and runs on Mac, PC, and Linux, and which has over a dozen Tarot-based solitaire games. Did you know? Solitaire was originally invented as a light form of divination, or a kind of luck meter.
Tarot Game Sites
- A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack
- Pagat: Trick-taking Games for the Tarot Deck
- TaroBear's Lair
Cubical dice, descended from Astralgi or sheeps' knuckle bones, made their way from Sumeria throughout the world. They had arrived in India by the 600s, and China by the 700s.
1364, St. Gallen, Switzerland. A local ordinance forbids dice, allows board games, and leaves the subject of cards untouched. This is often cited as the date before which cards could not have been known in Europe.
We know playing cards entered Europe in the 1370s because there are no references before this time, and suddenly they start appearing across the continent. In St. Gallen, an ordinance made in 1379 forbade the use of playing cards.