Queen of Tarot

The ancient wisdom of the cards


Source: Tarocchi by Philebus

Yet another Piedmontese game, this time one long dead. However, Michael Dummett suggests it as an excellent children’s game to help familiarize them with the cards and basics of play. As I’m keen to see these games played by all and of all ages, this strikes me as an excellent idea.

The Cards

This was played with an Italian suited pack but any 78 card pack will do, depending upon which type of cards you intend playing with the most. You might even like to try alternating them.

So, we have a Fool, 21 numbered trumps, and then

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 5 points
Kings 5 points
Queens 4 points
Cavaliers 3 points
Valets 2 points
All others 1 point

Count the cards in pairs and deduct 1 point for each pair from the total.

The Deal

First Dealer is chosen at random and alternates after that. Each player is dealt three piles of ten cards and one of nine cards. As each pile is dealt, the top card is turned up for all to see.


Dealer’s opponent leads to the first trick, playing any card in his/her hand to the middle of the table. Dealer must then play a card of the same suit (follow suit). If he/she 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 their opponent an empty card from their trick pile in exchange.

When a card is played from a pile, the next card is then exposed for both to see. Play continues until all tricks have been played, the player with the most points at the end wins the hand.


tarot card games, tarot cards, playing cards

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