I love learning about board and card games from worldwide cultures and discovering their history. Finding out that some Mexican card games which can date back to the 1800s got me wondering, after now knowing a lot about card games in countries such as Japan and Mexico, what other countries have their tradition when it comes to card playing.
So, I thought I would tell you about the top Italian card game that everyone can play that will be easy enough to understand.
Italian Card Games
As you read this guide, you will notice that many Italian card games don’t differ too much from American and English.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Italy any time soon and want to get on board with the traditional style of playing card games the way the locals do, therefore my guide is here to give you a heads-up before you arrive.
No matter what your reasoning for wanting to learn about Italian card games is. Hopefully, the list I have put together will give you great insight. Are you feeling more confident in Italian games?
Before You Start Playing Italian Card Games
To play some of these Italian card games, you must invest in an Italian deck of cards. However, once you understand the rules, you may feel confident enough to adapt them to play with a standard deck of cards.
If you have played Spanish card games, you will notice many similarities between Spanish and Italian playing cards. For a start, they both consist of identical suits, which are as follows:
However, there are some differences. One is that the swords are curved instead of straight, and the clubs are in a stick form instead of an actual club shape.
So, now you know what you’ll need to play, let’s learn a little more about some of the top Italian card games to play with friends and family.
Once you’ve got your Italian deck of cards to hand, you’ve got what you need to play Briscola. The game starts with each player being dealt three cards and one card facing up in the center of the table. This is the Briscola card, the winning suit.
The rest of the deck is placed in a pile face down, and the player to the dealer’s right begins their turn first. The player takes one of their three cards and turns it over on the table for the other players to see, and everyone else should then do the same, one at a time.
The idea is that the person with the higher card of the Briscola suit wins the round. If no Briscola suit is played, the player with the highest-valued card wins.
Scopa is probably one of the famous Italian card games of their culture. The title translates to “broom” because the game aims to sweep the board.
To play, you’ll need your Italian deck of cards to hand, and you’ll need to select one person to be the dealer. The dealer then divvies out three cards to each player, which they will have face down in front of them. Next, the dealer places four cards in the center of the table, face up, and because of all players.
The first person to take their turn is whoever is sitting right of the dealer. That person should either put a card on the table or play a trick. This means matching one of your cards to one of the face-up cards. If you complete a trick, you can remove the matched card from the table and place it in front of you.
Once all the cards have been tricked, the dealer will hand out three more cards, and another card must be placed in the center.
The game is won on points totaled at the end of each round. You can check out a more in-depth version of the rules with my guide on playing the Scopa card game.
3. Sette e Mezzo
Sette e Mezzo means Seven and a Half, and the game aims to build your hands as close to 7.5.
Each face card in the game is worth half a point, and the rest are worth their number value in points.
The dealers give the cards one at a time, and players can either request to add more or stick.
Whoever is closest to 7.5 wins the game. However, if you exceed 7.5, you automatically forfeit the game.
Marianne is a well-known card game, not only in Italy but in many other European countries as well. The game is played in two teams, each requiring two players. For this game, you might wish to purchase a Spanish deck of cards instead of the classic Italian ones.
To begin, each player has five cards and places them face down. The rest of the cards are kept to one side.
The dealer goes first, playing the first trick, and after that, each player takes turns drawing cards from the pile. If you’re lucky enough to have a King or Queen, now is the time to shout “Marianna” and show your cards to the rest of the group. You will also score a bonus at this point and set up the next trump.
Ombre is a trick-taking type of card game that is favored in Italy and Spain; it’s a traditional card game that dates back years but has never lost its popularity.
You will have three players and a Spanish deck of cards to play. One person is named the “Ombre,” or “the man,” and this player must go after the other two players to win more tricks than them. The only way to win the game is if you reach the bid.
Tressette is another trick-taking card game for four players, split into pairs to form two teams. The game can be played with an Italian card deck and shares many of the same values as French card game rules.
In Tressette, there’s no trump suit, and the first card played establishes the suit. If a player can not match the suit at any point during the game, they should play any other card, which lessens their chances of winning the trick.
Communication is vital in this game; you must try to help your teammate score points.
Almost as famous as Scopa, Primero is a popular card game enjoyed by card players across Europe. To play, you’ll need a Spanish deck of cards again, and you’ll also need between two and six people.
The game aims to build the hands of four cards with the highest value possible. However, some unique conditions exist, such as a card with all four suits being the strongest hand you can have.
I always think games are an excellent way of bringing people together, whether as an icebreaker or a way to get the kids off their phones. I think it’s imperative to learn about others and celebrate the art of game playing too.
Whether you’re Italian and looking to broaden your card-playing expertise or have Italian family members heading over for the holidays and want to impress them with your knowledge of Italian card games, I hope my guide has given you various games to play.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my top picks for the best Italian games everyone can play. I hope that in doing so, you’ve learned something new and exciting to introduce to your next game night.