Queen of Tarot

The ancient wisdom of the cards


Source: Tarocchi by Philebus

This game died out in the early 20th century but I have included it here because there are few games for five players or that allow for the purchase of cards.


This is played with a 78 card pack, traditionally with Italian suits and trumps. Cards use irrational ranking.

The Fool, I-XXI of trumps, and then in the suits:

Spades & Clubs / Swords & Batons
K, Q, C, V, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Hearts & Diamonds / Cups & Coins
K, Q, C, V, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Honours 4 points
Kings  4 points
Queens  3 points
Cavaliers 2 points
Valets  1 points


First Dealer is chosen at random, deal then moves to the right after each hand. Each player is dealt 15 cards in three packets of 5, with Dealer taking the last three cards.


Dealer must then discard three cards into a Scart that will count towards his/her tricks at the end. The discard may not include Kings, the XXI of trumps or the Fool. Other trumps may be discarded but the Pagat may only be discarded if there is no alternative and then it must be exposed to all players.


There is a short round of bidding to determine who will be Declarer and play alone against the other four players. There are three bids available:

Two Cards: Declarer calls for any two desired cards. The players who have them must pass them face up to declarer, who exchanges any card held for each them and passes these face down.

One Card: Declarer calls for any single desired card. The player who has it must pass it face up to the declarer, who exchanges any card held for it, passing that face down.

Solo: Declarer plays alone without purchasing a card.

If no players bid, then Dealer must call for a King not in his/her hand. The player who holds the called King declares themselves and plays as Dealer’s partner against the other three. If Dealer has all four Kings, then a Queen may be called for instead. If Dealer has all four Kings and all four Queens, then he/she should probably have made a bid and will play alone against the others.


Declarer leads to the first trick, playing any card in his/her hand to the middle of the table. Each player in turn, moving to the right, must then play a card of the same suit (follow suit). If a player cannot follow suit, then they must play a trump, if they cannot play a trump, then they can play any card, though it will not win. If no trumps have been played, then the highest card of the suit led wins the trick and that player takes the cards and puts them into his/her trick pile. Otherwise, the highest trump played wins the trick.

The Fool may be played to any trick as an excuse for not playing a card you are otherwise obliged to play, but may be neither won nor lost. At the end of a trick to which the Fool has been played, the person who played it takes it into his/her own trick pile and gives the player who won the trick, an empty card from their trick pile in exchange.


The card points are counted in what is likely to be the earliest method. The counting cards are summed individually with an additional point scored for each trick won. The scart, containing Dealer’s discard, counts as one trick. There are therefore 68 card points in the game. Each player of the winning side that scores over half these points, scores card points equal to each card point won over 34 from each of the losers.


tarot card games, tarot cards, playing cards

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