Briscola

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If you want to get a game while visiting Italy, learn Briscola. Briscola is trick taking card game played with a reduced deck. You can use a regular deck with the eights, nines and tens removed. If you want to add some class use an Italian deck with cups, swords, clubs, and coins for suits.

When playing teams there is an interesting house rule that is sometimes used; after the first hand it is ok to send signals to your partner about what you are holding. Signals are usually gestures like raising an eyebrow or sticking the tip of your tongue out. Each signal means a card you are holding. I have not yet had a chance to try this, but would like to hear from anyone who has experience playing this way.

Players 2 or 4 playing on teams.

Equipment

A deck of cards with the 8,9, and 10 cards removed.

How to play

The ranking of the cards are as follows

Ace, three, King, Horseman/Queen, Fante/Jack, 7-2

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All cards have there own point value

Aces are worth 11 points

Threes are worth 10 points

King is worth 4 points

Horseman/ Queen is worth 3 points

Fante/jack is worth 2 points

The remaining cards are worth nothing

The dealer shuffles the deck and deals three cards to each player. The dealer then takes a card from the top the deck and puts it face up near the pile of remaining cards which are face down to form the stock. The suit of this card is the trump suit or Briscola

Players in turn put one their cards face up on the table starting with non dealer. The player who played the highest card of the same suit as the first card of the trick or the highest card of a trump suit wins the cards played. The winner of the trick collects the cards and puts them face down in a pile in front of them. When playing team one player often gathers the tricks for the team.

The players do not have to follow suit if they don’t want to. They also do not have to Trump if they don’t want.

After each trick each player draws a card from the stock pile and the game continues. The player who won the trick draws first and leads the next trick This continues until all the cards are drawn and played including the face up Briscola card.

After all the cards have been played each player takes the pile of cards won in tricks and counts the points . The player or team with 61 or more points wins the hand. If each player has 60 points the hand is a draw.

The match can be three hands or five. The player who wins the most hands wins the match.

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In the photo above the player would have 11 points for the ace, 10 points for the three, 4 points for each king, and two points for the jack. Giving a total 31 points.

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3 thoughts on “Briscola

  1. I saw a group of men playing this in the Piazza in Caggiano the other day, it was great to learn something about the game from your post, thank you.

  2. Pingback: Playing Cards The Italian Way – Scopa and Briscola | Dreaming In Italian

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