Monday, June 30, 2014

Roman Games

Roman Games
by Signora Giata Maddalena Alberti

Rota

Image source.

Rota, means “Wheel” and is the Roman equivalent of Tic-Tac-Toe, though the name they called it has been lost. Like most medieval games, the rules have been reconstructed based on similar games.

Rules of play, as researched by Guillaume de Pyrenees (mka Sam Wallace) in his Synopsis of Morris Games class.

Each player gets 3 game pieces.

Players take turns putting their game pieces on any line in the circle including the middle.

Once they've put all 3 pieces on the board, they can move their pieces from line to line, but only to one that's next to the line that they're on.

The player who gets three in a row  first wins.

The players will need to decide before hand if three in a row around the edge of the circle counts or if the three in the row must cross through the center.

Lucky Sixes

Image source.

Felix Sex is Latin for “Lucky Sixes” and is probably a derivative of the earlier Duodecim Scripta and a precursor to Tabula and, later, Nard. The rules for this game are reconstructed, as there are no surviving references to it other than circumstantial. It was played by the Romans and by the people who remained after the fall of the Western Empire (e.g. in Anglo-Saxon Britain).

Each player starts with 15 pieces o  the board. Three dice are tossed for movement. The pieces move  rst up the center line of letters (or spaces), and then over to the player’s left. Finally they would travel to the opposite side of letters and then off the board.

The object is to get all one’s pieces across the board to the final square. If you landed on a square that had an opponent’s piece already on it, that piece would return to (their) square one. If two or more opponent’s pieces were already on the square, then it could not be occupied. Presumably you would be forced to fall short, or rearrange the moves of your own pieces. Each die is counted separately for movement, and all three must be used if possible.

No pieces may move beyond the first ‘word’ until all pieces had entered the board. Likewise, no pieces could exit the board until all pieces had landed on the last word.

As researched by Guillaume de Pyrenees in his Synopsis of Intro to Medieval Board Games class.

Five in a Row

Image source.

Calculi, or “Five in a Row” is a Roman game played on the same board as Latrunculi. Each player has 33 pieces, in opposite colors.

The traditional rules of Calculi, or "Five in a Row," are as follows:

 1. Black plays first.

 2. First person to line up five stones in a row orthogonally (straight across or straight up and down) or diagonally wins.

 3. It is illegal to make a "double open-ended three" unless one is forced to do so.

 4. If the board becomes filled, the game is a draw.

A double open-ended three, or three in a row simultaneously in two directions, is banned because it is too easy to win, and occurs frequently. This rule makes for a much more interesting game, and leads to the strategy in which one tries to make a double "three and a four," which is like a double open-ended three, except that one line is made of four in a row.


As researched by Wally J. Kowalski from Able One Education Network

[Source: Fleurty Herald]

Gaming and the Italian Salone

Gaming and the Italian Salone

By Signora Giada Maddalena Alberti

A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate" ("aut delectare aut prodesse est"). The word salon is the French adaption of the Italian word salone, from sala (a reception room found in the renaissance palazzo).

The salon was an Italian invention of the 1500s. In cinquecento Italy, scintillating circles formed in prominent smaller courts, often galvanized by the presence of a beautiful and educated patroness such as Isabella d'Este or Elisabetta Gonzaga. Italy had an early tradition of the “salone”; the courtesan Tullia d'Aragona held a salon in the 1500s, and Giovanna Dandolo became known as a patron and gatherer of artists as wife of Pasqual Malipiero, the doge in Venice in from 1457 to 1462. These gatherings proved to be the model for later salons in Italy and the salon movement which flourished in France throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

Games Fit For a Medici Princess

Isabella de’ Medici, the daughter of Cosimo de Medici, was a beautiful, intellectual, and accomplished renaissance princess in Florence. Under the protection of her father, Isabella was able to live a life of parties, loves, and intellectual pursuits, while managing to delay her move to her husband's home in Rome for over a decade. She was the hostess of a glittering circle of her Florentine contemporaries.

Beautiful and liberated, she not only matched the intellectual accomplishments of her male cohorts, but sought amorous parity also, engaging in an adulterous affair with her husband's cousin. It was this affair - and her very success as First Lady of Florence - that led to her death at the hands of her husband at the age of just thirty-four in 1576. She left behind a remarkable story, and as her legacy a son who became the best of the Orsini Dukes, immortalized by Shakespeare as Duke Orsino in "Twelfth Night". It is documented that in her salone, conversations, refreshments, and pastimes could be had for hours that bled into days.

Plausibly, games fashionable in Italy in the 1500s would have been played in a salone like that of Isabella de Medici. Some of the more popular games, some with Italian origins (*) are:

 Sicilian Chess* - Board game, 1557 (CA#71 p7)

 Blind Dice* - Dice game, 1500s (KWHb p145)

 Italian Draughts* - Board game,1500s (Murray 4.3.3, Bell p73)

 Six-Men’s Morris Board game, obsolete by 1600 (Murray 3.3.20, Bell p92)

 Basset - Card game, 1400s (Parlett p8/53/58/ 64/ 77 and CA#71 p15)

 Cuckoo - Card game, 1400s (Parlett p31, CA#71 p18)

Games Italians Played

These instructions are taken largely from Master Damiano Elie Bellini’s “Gaming Italian Style” class handout.

Grazie mille to him for allowing me to share his information and sources.

Sicilian Chess

This version dates to 1557 and is a variant of medieval chess very similar to the modern game.

In the Sicilian game the pieces, save the queen, move as in modern chess. There is no castling move of the rook and king, and no two-square opening pawn moves. A pawn reaching the opposite side of the board can be promoted to the capital piece that started in the square the pawn reached. A pawn reaching the king or queen’s square would be promoted to bishop. The queen is restricted to move four squares diagonally or one square orthogonal.

Blind Dice

This is a 16th century Italian gambling game.

The game uses six cubed dice, each having a number from one to six on one side with the other five sides blank. The total of all six dice is twenty-one. The game is played by one player at a time taking on the house.

They player puts up a stake, then rolls the dice, and the payoffs are as follows:

Number Rolled           Payoff

0                                  Player loses stake to the house

1 – 8                            Player keeps the stake

9 – 10                          House pays an amount equal to the stake

11 – 12                        Pays twice the stake

13                                Pays three times the stake

14                                Pays four times the stake

15                                Pays five times the stake

16                                Pays ten times the stake

17                                Pays fifteen times the stake

18                                Pays twenty times the stake

19                                Pays twenty-five times the stake

20                                Pays fifty times the stake

21                                Pays ninety times the stake

Italian Draughts

Draughts was played in France, England, and the Spanish Marches before 1500. The first mention of this checker-like game being played in Italy dates from 1527. Elsewhere in Europe it was played later than 1550, which confirms an eastward spread from France.

In the Italian version the board (8x8) is placed so that the double black corner is on the player’s left instead of right. Each player has twelve pieces set up on the black squares of the first three rows in front of him.

The pieces move only on the black squares and black has the first move. The pieces move diagonally forwards one square at a time and may not move backwards.

The object of the game is to capture or immobilize your opponent’s twelve pieces. A capture is made by a piece (man) jumping over an enemy piece and landing on a vacant square immediately beyond. If the capturing piece can continue to leap over the other enemy pieces they are also captured and removed from the board. When a piece finally comes to rest the move is finished.

If an uncrowned piece reaches the opponents back line it becomes a king. Crowning ends a move. After crowning a king can move diagonally backwards and forwards one square at a time, and captures by a standard jump. There may be several kings on the board at a time.

In Italian Draughts, a number of rules apply to captures:

 A player had to take when possible or lose the game.

 A man (piece) could not take a king

 If he had a choice of capture he was forced to take the greater number; if this number were equal (each option containing a king) when there are two or more options, then he must capture wherever the king occurs first. This rule was known in Italy as ‘il piu col piu’ (‘the greater to the greater’).

Six-Men’s Morris

Morris, also known as Mill, Mills, and Merrills, was popular in Italy, France, and England during the middle ages but was obsolete by 1600.

Each player has six pieces and they are entered (placed) alternately, one at a time; each player trying to form a row along one of the sides of either square. If a player succeeds in this he is allowed to remove any one of his opponent’s pieces. When all of the pieces have been played the game continues by alternate moves of a piece along a line to an adjacent empty point. When a player is reduced to two men, the game is over.

In Shakespeare's 16th century work A Midsummer Night's Dream, Titania laments that it is no longer played: "The nine men's morris is filled up with mud" (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II, Scene I).

Basset

From the Italian bassetta, a card game also known as barbacole, considered one of the most polite pastimes. It was intended for persons of the highest rank because of the great losses or gains that might be accrued by the players. This game financially endangered some of the great French houses and was banned by the King of France.

Basset is a banking game, with a significant advantage for the house. It is purely a game of chance. One player is the banker.

The banker has a full deck of cards, well shuffled. Each punter, or player, has the 13 cards of a single suit of a similar deck in front of him, or perhaps a board with marks for the 13 denominations. Punters put bets on their boards before play begins. Once all bets are placed, the banker turns up a single card from his deck (made up of multiple decks of cards**) and wins all bets placed on the denomination shown (suit is ignored). After the first card is turned up the banker turns up cards from his deck in pairs, putting them on two piles alternately, until all bets are resolved or the deck is exhausted. Denominations that match a card turned up on the first pile lose their bets to the banker; denominations that match a card turned up on the second pile win. The banker must pay equal to any winning bets. As with the first card turned up, the banker wins any bets that remain on the last card turned.

On any winning bet the punter may decline his winnings and let the bet ride in the hope of further winnings.

If the same denomination shows up again on the winning pile, the banker must pay seven times the bet; if the bet is let ride again and wins, the banker pays 15 times; if it is let ride and shows up a fourth time on the winning pile the banker must pay 30 times the bet. Finally, if it shows up four times in one deal, the punter lets it ride into the next hand, and the same card shows up winners a fifth time, the banker must pay 60 times the bet. The decision to let a bet ride is marked by bending up a corner of the card it lies on each time (this is destructive of cards, so it is suggested that you use some other way to mark a riding bet).

Once a payment is declined by a punter (leaving a bet to ride) the punter cannot change his mind until the card shows up again on the winning pile, when he again has the choice of taking his winnings or letting it ride.

** One deck of cards is sufficient for 2 to 3 players, each additional deck allows up to four more players.

Cuckoo

Also known as ranter-go-round, gnav, killekort, chase the ace, and hexencarteis. Cuckoo was first mentioned in Cornwall in the early fifteenth century. By the end of that century it had spread throughout Europe and become a favorite in Scandinavia. From there is spread to the Baltics, Russia, and northern Germany. It is, allegedly, the oldest card game for which directions were printed in the Russian language. It was also quite popular in southern Italy and the western Mediterranean islands.

It is a game for any number of players. Cards rank king=high to ace=low without regard to suit. A stake is determined at the start. The players are all dealt one card each. After the deal, each player, starting from the dealers left, may stand or demand to swap cards with the player to his left. A player may only refuse to swap if he is holding a king, which must then be shown. This continues until it returns to the dealer, who may replace his card with one drawn at random from the pack, if he wishes.

The cards are then revealed and the player holding the lowest ranked card must then pay the predetermined stake to the pot. If two or more players tie for the lowest rank, they must each contribute to the pot. After a player has lost a predetermined number of hands, usually three, he is out of the game. Play continues until there is only one player left in, who then wins the pot.

References:

Bell, R.C. Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, Vols. 1 & 2. Dover Publications.

Complete Anachronist #4. Indoor Games, or How to While Away a Siege. SCA, Inc.

Known World Handbook (Third Edition). SCA, Inc.

Murray, H.J.R. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Hacker Art Books, Inc.


Partlett, David. A History of Card Games. Oxford University Press.

[Source: Fleurty Herald

Game of the Goose (Giocho dell'Oca)

Game of the Goose (Giocho dell'Oca)

by Signora Giata Maddalena Alberti

As researched by Signora Giata Alberti ~fleurtyherald@gmail.com

Image source.

 Players take turns rolling two dice and moving their pawn around the board by the sum of their roll. The board has all the same special spaces that Goose games throughout its history have included:

• The Bridge on space 6 that advances the player to space 12.

• An Inn on space 19 where the traveler tarries for one turn.

• The Well on space 31, where the visitor loses 2 turns.

• The Maze of space 42, wherein the traveler loses the way and returns to space 30.

• The Dungeon on space 52, where the prisoner remains until another arrives and the two trade places. An additional means of escape is to roll a 9 and go to one of the fields with dice.

• Space 58, where a cooked goose appears in place of the traditional Grim Reaper, sends the player back to start.

Additional rules:

A lucky throw of 9 at the beginning of the spiral path advances a player to one of the fields with geese (6+3 goes to space 26, 4+5 goes to space 53).

Landing on any of the pretty geese doubles a player's move.


To win, a roll must land you exactly on 63. The surplus is counted by moving backwards from 63.

Image source.
[Source: Fleurty Herald]

Bassetta

Bassetta

by Signora Giata Maddalena Alberti

From the Italian bassetta, a card game also known as barbacole, considered one of the most polite pastimes of the quattrocento to seicento. It was intended for persons of the highest rank because of the great losses or gains that might be accrued by the players. This game financially endangered some of the great French houses and was banned by the King of France.

Basset is a banking game, with a significant advantage for the house. It is purely a game of chance.

One player is the banker.

The banker has a full deck of cards, well shuffled. Each punter, or player, has the 13 cards of a single suit of a similar deck in front of him, or perhaps a board with marks for the 13 denominations.

Punters put bets on their boards before play begins. Once all bets are placed, the banker turns up a single card from his deck (made up of multiple decks of cards**) and wins all bets placed on the denomination shown (suit is ignored). After the first card is turned up the banker turns up cards from his deck in pairs, putting them on two piles alternately, until all bets are resolved or the deck is exhausted. Denominations that match a card turned up on the first pile lose their bets to the banker; denominations that match a card turned up on the second pile win. The banker must pay equal to any winning bets. As with the first card turned up, the banker wins any bets that remain on the last card turned.

On any winning bet the punter may decline his winnings and let the bet ride in the hope of further winnings. If the same denomination shows up again on the winning pile, the banker must pay seven times the bet; if the bet is let ride again and wins, the banker pays 15 times; if it is let ride and shows up a fourth time on the winning pile the banker must pay 30 times the bet. Finally, if it shows up four times in one deal, the punter lets it ride into the next hand, and the same card shows up winners a fifth time, the banker must pay 60 times the bet. The decision to let a bet ride is marked by bending up a corner of the card it lies on each time (this is destructive of cards, so it is suggested that you use some other way to mark a riding bet).

Once a payment is declined by a punter (leaving a bet to ride) the punter cannot change his mind until the card shows up again on the winning pile, when he again has the choice of taking his winnings or letting it ride.


** One deck of cards is sufficient for 2 to 3 players, each additional deck allows up to four more players.

SOURCES
Complete Anachronist #4. Indoor Games, or How to While Away a Siege. SCA, Inc.
Partlett, David. A History of Card Games. Oxford University Press.

[Source: Fleurty Herald]

Games (in Italy)

Games


Cards appeared in Spain and Italy about 1370, but they probably came from Egypt. They began to spread throughout Europe and came into England around 1460. By the time of Elizabeth’s reign, gambling was a common sport. Cards were not played only by the upper class. Many of the lower classes had access to playing cards. The card suits tended to change over time. The first Italian and Spanish decks had the same suits: Swords, Batons/ Clubs, Cups, and Coins. The suits often changed from country to country. England probably followed the Latin version, initially using cards imported from Spain but later relying on more convenient supplies from France.

In Orleans, France (1408) an inventory of the Duke and Duchess of Orleans lists “ung jeu de quartes sarrasines and unes quartes de Lombardie” (one pack of Saracen cards and one cards of Lombard, Dummet 42). During the Elizabethan era in England cards were block printed, unwaxed, bore a single image in the center of card, and had blank backs. The English used the French system of suits (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades) while German and Swiss cards favored shields, acorns, flowers, and bells. Italian cards featured the latin suits of coins, cups, batons, and swords.

Two of the most popular games in Italy, where tarocchi (tarot or tarock) or trionfi (trump) decks were used, were scartino and imperiali. These decks had 78 cards; four suits numbered one through ten, a page, a knight, a queen, and a king, twenty-one tarots which acted as trumps, and a fool which acted as an ‘excuse’ or a special trump. The tarot deck was not originally used for divination, but for a trick-taking game that is one of the oldest card games known. The numbers on the trumps are the only thing that matter, the images have no effect on the game itself and as such could be altered at the engravers choice (Ortalli 24).
Most of the decks that have survived use the French Suit: Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. Yet even before Elizabeth I had begun to reign, the number of cards had been standardized to 52 cards per deck. Interestingly, the lowest court subject in England was called the “knave.” The lowest court card was therefore called the knave until later when the term “Jack” became more common.

SOURCES
Archaeologia by Daines Barrington, 1787
The Game of Tarot by Michael Dummett, 1980
The Prince and Playing Cards:The Este Family by Gherardo Ortalli, 1996

Game of Ruff (Italy, 1522) -

Needs: standard deck of cards, four players. Aim: to score nine points. Players agree on a stake. Deal 12 cards to each player and turn up remaining top card on deck to determine trump suit. The player with the Ace of the trump suit declares “I have the honour”, and scores a point for each of the four honour cards they hold (Ace, King, Queen, Jack). The player to the left of the dealer leads and all players follow suit. Aces high or trumps takes the suit. If they cannot follow suit, they may play any card. The winner of the trick leads. The players gain one point for every trick taken. If there is no winner, another stake is required and another hand played.

52 playing cards ca1475 Burgundian metmuseum heilbrunn timeline

Draughts (Checkers, Europe, 1300s) -

In draughts the object of the game is to capture your opponent’s game pieces by making diagonal jumps over them. The game is a descendant of the Egyptian game of alquerque, which was played on a five-by-five-point board with twelve interlocking “L” shaped pieces. The game was played at court and in the taverns of England by all classes. The Earl of Leicester had a set made with pieces of crystal and silver and a board bearing his family’s heraldic crest. This game was also known as jeu force in France, for a game where a player must take and opponent’s piece whenever possible (as does alquerque).

Chess
Chess

Draughts (per Master Damiano Bellini) “was played in France, England, and the Spanish Marches before 1500. In the Italian version, the 8×8 board is placed so that the double black corner is on the player’s left instead of right. Each player has twelve pieces set up on the black squares of the first three rows in front of him. The pieces move only on the black squares and black has the first move. The pieces move diagonally forwards one square at a time and may not move backwards.

The object of the game is to capture or immobilize your opponent’s twelve pieces. A capture is made by a piece (man) jumping over an enemy piece and landing on a vacant square immediately beyond. If the capturing piece can continue to leap over the other enemy pieces they are also captured and removed from the board. When a piece finally comes to rest the move is finished.

If an uncrowned piece reaches the opponents back line it becomes a king. Crowning ends a move. After crowning a king can move diagonally backwards and forwards one square at a time, and captures by a standard jump. There may be several kings on the board at a time.

In Italian Draughts, a number of rules apply to captures (Bell 73):
  • A player had to take when possible or lose the game
  • A man (piece) could not take a king
  • If he had a choice of capture he was forced to take the greater number
  • If he had a choice of capture he was forced to take the greater number
  • If this number were equal (each option containing a king) when there are two or more options, then he must capture wherever the king occurs first. This rule was known in Italy as ‘il piu col piu’ (‘the greater to the greater’)
SOURCES
Sports and Games of the Renaissance (2004) by Andrew Leibs.

PalazzoBorromeo-Milan-Fresco
Maw was developed in 16th Century Ireland and was a favorite in the British Isles. The object of maw is to win three tricks or prevent other players from doing so. It can be played with anywhere from 2 to 10 players. A pot is decided and the winner gets the pot. If there is no winner, a second hand is played and the first to win three tricks gets the pot. Each player is dealt give cards from a 52-card deck. The top card of the remaining cards is flipped up to determine the trump. Regardless of suit, the trump cards rank; five, jack, ace of hearts, ace of trump, king queen. If the trump suit is red the remaining cards rank from 10 down to 2, and vice-versa if the trump suit it black. Non-trump cards of the same color rank the same as trump cards. The person to the left of the dealer leads, playing one card. The other players must follow suit or play a trump. If a player can do neither, she may play any card. A player can hold the five and jack of the trump or the ace of hearts if they choose, but lesser trumps must be played if the player can not follow suit.

Bingo’s Origins in Italy
Most agree that Bingo was first played in an Italian lottery called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia”. The game appears on record around 1530 in the late Renaissance Italy. It is said to have developed from a game known as “Lotto” which in Italian means “destiny or fate”. It was first played in a period during a corrupt election that needed a fresh way to select a leader. Numbers were chosen randomly and the person who had that specific number would then be the new leader purely by fate.
Bingo then moved to France where it became known as “Le Lotto”. Bingo is still today played in France every Saturday in a similar fashion as we play nowadays. It is played with playing cards, tokens, and numbers called aloud.

Scartino
A card game called Scartino, the favorite of the Este family, is one of which we hear much from a brief period around 1500: there are over a dozen references to it between 1492 and 1517. We have no idea how Scartino was played, although it appears to have demanded a special type of pack; for instance, Lodovico il Moro wrote in 1496 to Cardinal Ippolito d’Este complaining that the latter had not sent him the carte de scartino that he had promised, and there are other references to orders for packs of Scartino cards. The game seems to have originated from Ferrara: it was a favourite game both of Beatrice d’Este, wife of Lodovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, and of Isabella d’Este, wife of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua. Isabella also loved to use her impresa, or device, embroidered on her robes and painted on the playing cards. The name Scartino is presumably connected with the verb scartare, ‘to discard’, and games are often named after their most characteristic or novel feature. It is therefore a possibility that this was a trick-taking game in which a new practice was introduced, namely that the dealer took some extra cards and discarded a corresponding number. If so, it could be that it was from Scartino that this practice was taken over into Tarocco games, in which it had been previously unknown, and that Scartino, after its short-lived popularity, died out, having made a lasting contribution to card play. This, of course, is the merest guess: Scartino may not have been a trick-taking game at all, but, say, one in which the winner was the player who first contrived to get rid of all his cards after the fashion of a stops game.

Many wonder if it was appropriate for women to play cards. We know the Isabella and her sister-in-law Elisaetta were known to sit in the afternoon and “together they sang French songs and read the latest romances, or played scartino, their favourite game at cards, in the pleasant rooms which Francesco had prepared for his bride on the first floor of the Castello, near the Sala degh Sposi. Together they rode and walked in the park and boated on the crystal waters of the lake, or took excursions to the neighbouring villas of Porto and Marmirolo.”

A letter of August 1493 quoted by Malaguzzi-Valeri and by Luzio and Renier appears to imply that Scartino was a three-handed game. The earliest reference is from 1492; one is from 1509, one from 1517, and all the rest from the 1490′s. Several concern the obtaining or ordering of packs of Scartino cards (para de carte da scartino or para de scartini), which appear all to have come from Ferrara; what was special about these cards there is no way of telling. It is just conceivable that Scartino was itself a particular type of Tarot game, and that these were therefore Tarot packs of a special type; but, unless they were very special, it does not seem very likely that Lodovico Sforza should have been having to obtain Tarot packs from elsewhere. Most of the references are about games of Scartino being played.
We learn from Isabella d’Este’s brother-in-law letter to the Marquis in 1503 that playing cards was her regular pastime: “Yesterday I went with this illustrious Madonna and Signor Federico to the school of Messer Franceso, whose scholars recited a fine comedy exceedingly well. It was a very pretty sight, and pleased us all highly. Afterwards we drove as usual to take the air in the town, and returned to the Castello about five o’clock; and Madonna (Isabella) sat down to cards to spend the evening after her usual custom, and played till after eight. Then she rose from the table and told me that she would not come to supper as she felt pains, and went to her room, and we sat down to table, and I supped in the Castello. And before we had finished, the said Madonna gave birth to a little girl, and although we greatly desired a boy, yet we must be content with what is given us.”

SOURCES
Cartwright, Julia. Marchioness of Mantua
F. Malaguzzi-Valeri, La carte di Locovico il Moro, vol. 1, Milan, 1913, p. 575;
A. Venturi, ‘Relazioni artistiche tra le corti di Milano e Ferrara nel secolo XV’, Archivio Storico Lombardo, anno XII (pp. 255-280), 1885, p. 254;
A. Luzio and R. Renier, Mantova e Urbino, Turin and Rome, 1893, pp. 63-5, especially fn. 3, p. 63;
A. Luzio and R. Renier, ‘Delle relazioni di Isabella d’Este Gonzaga con Lodivico e Beatrice Sforza’, Archivio Storico Lombardo, anno XVII (pp. 74-119, 346-99, 619-74), 1890, p. 368, fn. 1, and pp. 379-80;
A Luzio I precettori d’Esabella d’Este, p. 22;
G. Bertoni, ‘Tarocchi versificati’ in Poesie, leggende, costumanze del medioevo, Modena 1917, p. 219;
Diario Ferrarese of 1499 in Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 24, p. 376.

Playing Cards

Master P W of Cologne’s pack of seventy-two rounded playing cards is generally believed to be his last work in the medium of engraving. This card, the 9 of hares, is 6.3 cm in diameter and was made circa 1500 in Koln, Germany. It comes from a pack of seventy-two round playing cards and is unique in having five suits, rather than the customary four: roses, columbines, carnations, parrots and hares. The images on the cards depict plants and animals based on the study of nature, rather than of model books as previous engravers of cards had done (VAM).
The 9 of Hares
The 9 of Hares
An early use of the woodblock for printing was for making playing cards. Surviving examples of printed cards date to as early as about 1420. This sheet is thought to have been made by an artist called F. Durand in Rouen or Lyons in the first half of the 16th century. It has not yet been cut, showing the way in which cards were made for economy, printed many to a sheet and cut at a later stage. The high quality of detail and careful application of hand-colouring suggests that this pack was intended for a well-off client. It is an uncut sheet of playing cards, containing eight subjects, four Kings and four Queens bearing titles of legendary and historical personages (VAM).
French Woodcut From 1500s
French Woodcut From 1500s
SOURCES
Victoria and Albert Museum

[Source: La Bella Donna]

Italian Renaissance Games – Gioci

Italian Renaissance Games – Gioci

 

Biribissi

Many table games were played in the Renaissance home, often after dinner. Men and women, both old and young, enjoyed these forms of sociable play together. They ranged from traditional games – such as backgammon and chess – to new types, which often involved gambling. This was prohibited or regulated by the authorities because of the large sums of money involved.

A popular, though illegal, game played in the home was a type of lottery known as biribissi. Thanks to the invention of printing in the fifteenth century, games such as this were easily disseminated in cheap versions printed on paper. This example has 63 squares corresponding to the same number of tickets below, which are ready to be cut up. The players bet a sum of money on a figure in the hope that it would be drawn.
Play the Biribissi game.

Games Women Played
‘Girls today … take up dice, cards and other masculine amusements’
Desiderius Erasmus, Colloquies, 1529
This complaint comes from one of the speakers in Erasmus’s dialogue on ‘Knucklebones, or the game of tali’. He would have easily recognised the sheet of playing cards, printed from a wooden block, with the knave (or jack) of hearts and the knave of diamonds repeated alternately. The figure of the ‘knave’ originally meant ‘a son’ and had no negative connotations at the time. It was only later that it came to mean a rogue. The sheet dates to the late 15th century and shows two of the four suit signs that had been adopted by French card-makers by this date, the same spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds that are in use today. The cards are marked with the initials G.S.C. and G. Cartier, which suggest that the artist was Giles Savouré (also known as ‘Cartier’ or ‘Cardmaker’ in French), who worked in Lyons from about 1480 to 1506. This survival of the artist’s name is very unusual as playing cards were ephemeral objects that became bent and dirty through use and were eventually thrown away.

When card games arrived in Europe in the early 14th century, they were at first the preserve of the well-to-do because the cards were hand-painted and subsequently expensive. However, the advent of woodblock printing led to a system of relatively cheap mass production, in which cards could be printed in sheets from a single wood block.
As a result, card playing became exceedingly popular with both men and women and at all social levels – so much so that a Paris decree in 1397 forbade people to play at ‘tennis, bowls, dice, cards or ninepins on working days’, while Henry VII of England (reigned 1485–1509) forbade servants and apprentices from playing at cards except at Christmas. Preachers, theologians and moralisers all railed against their use. In Bologna in 1423 the Franciscan friar, and later saint, Bernardino da Siena preached so successfully against gaming that the people threw thousands of cards onto a great bonfire in the public square.
Part of an uncut sheet of playing cards by Gilles Savoure. Lyon, 1490.
Part of an uncut sheet of playing cards by Gilles Savoure. Lyon, 1490.
Despite these strictures, gambling was still a widespread pastime. Furthermore, playing for fun, rather than for money, was not condemned, so cards themselves did not attract censure. Indeed, when the 15th-century artist Antonio Cicognara painted a set of tarot cards (used for gaming rather than divination) and presented them to Cardinal Sforza, the Bishop of Pavia and Novara, the cardinal evidently felt no moral qualms in asking the artist to make similar packs for his sisters, who were nuns in the Augustinian convent in Cremona.
Women were often avid card players. Parisina Malatesta, the young Duchess of Ferrara, ordered an expensive hand-painted pack for herself in 1423, and a year later sent off for two cheaper packs for her little twin daughters, Lucia and Ginevra. That women often gambled with money is also clear. Mary Tudor (1516–58), daughter of Henry VIII of England, and later Mary I of England, ran up substantial debts due to her constant card playing, while the pious archduchess Johanna of Austria seems to have enjoyed better luck in the popular French card game of piquet.

Via: V&A Museum UK

[Source: La Bella Donna]

Scartino

Scartino

 

A card game called Scartino, the favorite of the Este family, is one of which we hear much from a brief period around 1500: there are over a dozen references to it between 1492 and 1517. We have no idea how Scartino was played, although it appears to have demanded a special type of deck; for instance, Lodovico il Moro wrote in 1496 to Cardinal Ippolito d’Este complaining that the latter had not sent him the carte de scartino that he had promised, and there are other references to orders for packs of “Scartino cards”.

The game seems to have originated in Ferrara. It was a favourite game both of Beatrice d’Este, wife of Lodovico il Moro, Duke of Milan, and of Isabella d’Este, wife of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua. Isabella loved to have her impresa, or device, embroidered on her robes and painted on her playing cards, which is why she had her decks commissioned by notable artists. The name Scartino is presumably connected with the verb scartare, ‘to discard’, and games are often named after their most characteristic or novel feature. It is therefore a possibility that this was a trick-taking game in which a new practice was introduced, namely that the dealer took some extra cards and discarded a corresponding number. If so, it could be that it was from Scartino that this practice was taken over into Tarocco games, in which it had been previously unknown, and that Scartino, after its short-lived popularity, died out, having made a lasting contribution to card play.

This, of course, is the merest guess (according to Dummet). Scartino may not have been a trick-taking game at all, but, say, one in which the winner was the player who first contrived to get rid of all his cards after the fashion of a stops game.

We learn from Isabella’s brother-in-law’s letter to the Marquis in 1503 that attending the theatre and playing cards was her regular pastime: “Yesterday I went with this illustrious Madonna and Signor Federico to the school of Messer Franceso, whose scholars recited a fine comedy exceedingly well. It was a very pretty sight, and pleased us all highly. Afterwards we drove as usual to take the air in the town, and returned to the Castello about five o’clock; and Madonna (Isabella) sat down to cards to spend the evening after her usual custom, and played till after eight. Then she rose from the table and … went to her room…”

So, since playing cards was a custom of noble ladies such as Isabella, I certainly want to add a few appropriate card games to my repertoire. I think learning Scartino would be meraviglioso!

Modern rules for an Italian card game called Scartino are:

Players: The game is played one on one or two against two in pairs.

Deck: To play you need a deck of Napoli (Naples) style cards.

Rules: At the beginning of the game the dealer deals three cards to each player. The deck is then placed at the center of the table and the first player’s turn begins to discard the top card. Takes who threw the highest card is the stake of that number. For example, if Player A discards a three of hearts while B throws a five of clubs, B will take the cards because it was the highest card between the two.

The only exception is the five card that takes any card except a five-pole belonging to the highest.

Finally there are the figures, said scartini, which are used to discard a card pulled from Rival Gaming. For example, if A discards a six card, and B an eight card, these two cards are excluded as in the discard pile and the points are given to B.

Winner: The first player to reach 112 points.

Scoring:

The order of the cards by points is as follows:

5 (The card with which you can take everything and that is worth 5 points)
7 (Normal card with the value of 7 points)
6 (Normal card with the value of 6 points)
4 (Normal card with the value of 4 points)
3 (Normal card with the value of 3 points)
2 (Normal card with the value of 2 points)
1 (Normal card with the value of 1 point)
10/9/8 (Scartini! These cards are valid points, but they can “discard other cards”)

The four marks (suits) of the Neapolitan (Naples style) cards are called poles and they are:
Coins – Denari
Swords  – Spade
Sticks – Bastione
Cups – Copa

Purpose: The aim of the game is to reach 112 points before your opponent.
visconti tarocchi
Where can you buy cards? MacGregor Historic Games for a reproduction 15th Century Visconti Tarrochi deck!!

From their site: “Believed to be the earliest, and most complete surviving tarot deck. It was commissioned by the Visconti family who were the Dukes of Milan in the 1450′s. The face cards and Major Arcana on this beautiful decks have gold foil backgrounds.
Contrary to popular belief, tarot cards were used for games long before they were used for fortune telling. They were the ancestors to modern trump, or trick-taking games.
We also include our booklet with a short history of Tarot cards, and six of the earliest surviving Tarot games.”

SOURCES:
The Book of Tarot by Dummet

Website – http://www.regoledelgioco.com (for Scartino rules, translation double-checked as a courtesy by Paco Smith)

[Source: La Bella Donna]

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Primero

Primero: A Renaissance Cardgame

Copyright 1994 by Jeff A. Suzuki
Primero is Renaissance cardgame that has many similarities to modern day poker. The following is my redaction, based on the description given by Giralamo Cardano in his "On Games of Chance", included in Oystein Ore'sCardano: The Gambling Scholar. As with poker, there are probably thousands of variants; this represents one.

The Deck

Primero can be played with a regular deck of 52 cards, with the 8s, 9s, and 10s removed. The remaining cards all have certain point values (regardless of suit):
  • Face cards count 10
  • 2 through 5 count 10 + their value; thus a 4 counts as 14
  • Aces count as 16
  • 6s and 7s count as three times their value: thus a 7 counts as 21


The Deal

Four cards are dealt, face down, to each player in the standard manner. (Cardano's description implies the cards are actually dealt two at a time, which, given the lack of laminated cards during the 15th century, seems to be a matter of convenience!)


The Play

Starting with the player to the dealer's left, each player has three options: bidstake, or pass.


Bidding

In order to bid, the previous bid must be staked. Then the bid is announced. It consists of three things: the point total, hand type, and bid amount. The hand type must be higher than the previously bid hand type or, if it is the same, the point total must be higher.

The hand types are, in order of increasing rank:
  • Numerus: two or three cards of the same suit
  • Primero: one card of each suit
  • Maximus: the Ace, Six, and Seven of one suit
  • Fluxus: all four cards of the same suit
  • Chorus: four of a kind
Note that even though all face cards are worth the same, you must have four of the same type of face card to form a chorus. (See variants, below)


For example, if a player had a 2 of clubs, 3 of diamonds, 4 of spades, and King of clubs, he would have a primero (one of each suit) and his point total would be 12 + 13 + 14 + 10 = 49; thus he could bid "primero 49". Any player after him who bid would have to beat a primero 49, either by naming a higher rank (e.g., Maximus) or a higher point total (e.g., "Primero 59"). If he wanted to bid 5 scudi, his bid in full would be "Primero 59 at 5 scudi".

Note that the point totals include only the total of the cards that make up the hand. For example, a numerus point total could be as low as 20. (If you've seen the earlier editions, this was not specifically pointed out)
Players may deliberately understate their point total or their hand type. For the above, the player can bid no higher than a primero 49, but could claim to have a numerus 49, or a primero 40.

Staking

Staking, or "covering" a previous bid involves putting money down. No other action is necessary or required. Unlike poker, you have only to cover the last bid, not all the bids since you last staked. Thus if the players are Alberto, Bernardo, Cinthio, and Domenico, and Bernardo bids "numerus 40 at 10 scudi", then Cinthio covers and bids "numerus 50 at 5 scudi", Domenico (if he wanted to bid or stake) would have to throw in only 5 scudi, not 15.

Passing

The major difference between primero and poker is that a player may pass without having to put money down. However, the player must discard one or two cards from his hand, and then draw the same number from the deck. As all the hands but numerus and maximus require four specific cards, this usually destroys the hand that you hold. Note also that you cannot "fold" out of a primero hand (like you can in poker).

Forced Staking

If no one bids, the hand ends and the player with the highest hand type wins; if two players have the same hand type, the higher point total wins the pot. (If no one bids, the pot is likely to have nothing in it!)

If someone does bid, this bid must be covered. If someone else stakes, the bid is considered covered.

However, if play returns to the last person who bid without being covered, the last person to pass must stake; this is called a "forced stake" (my term). The sequence of play is: pass, draw one or two cards, then stake. (The forced stake is one of the reasons why you are warned against playing primero with those who have much more money than you, for obvious reasons)

The last player to bid must then prove to the player who was forced to stake that he has at least what he claimed. Note that in all cases but numerus and maximus, this involves showing the player all four cards. After this, the player who was forced to stake may make a bid without naming hand type or point total. This bid does not have to be covered (but all players who pass must then draw as usual). If play returns to the player who was forced to stake without any additional bids, the hand ends as above.

Sample Hand

Alberto, Bernardo, Cinthio, and Domenico are playing primero. Alberto deals; two cards are dealt; Alberto gets a 2 diamonds (2d) and a 5 hearts (5h); Bernardo gets a Queen of clubs (Qc) and the ace of hearts (Ah); Cinthio has the 4 of spades (4s) and the 7 of spades (7s); Domenico receives the jack of diamond (Jd) and the king of hearts (Kh). No one wants to bid, so the remaining cards are handed out. Now the players hands are:
  • Alberto: 2d, 5h, 7c, 6c
  • Bernardo: Qc, Ah, As, 7h
  • Cinthio: 4s, 7s, Qd, 6h
  • Domenico:Kh, Jd, 2c, 5s

Since Alberto dealt, it is Bernardo's turn. He passes, so he must discard one or two cards and draw the same number. He discards the ace of hearts and draws the 4 of diamonds, giving him a primero.

Cinthio also passes; he discards the 4 of spades and draws the 3 of diamonds. This gives him a numerus, which is practically worthless.

Domenico already has a primero (one of each suit). As his point total is 47, he can bid up to a primero 47. Understating his bid, he announces a numerus 30. He bids 5 scudi, and keeps his cards.
Now it's Alberto's turn. He passes and does not have to put in money. Hoping for a maximus, he discards the 2d and 5h, and draws Ac and Js.

Bernardo has a primero, so he stakes (throwing in 5 scudi) and bids. His hand total is 61, so he bids numerus 32 and 10 scudi.

Cinthio passes, throwing out the Qd and getting a 6s. A good card, but it still leaves him with a numerus.
Domenico realizes his point total is nearly the lowest possible one for a primero (which he suspects Bernardo has, even though he only bid a numerus), so he discards his two face cards (worth only 10 points apiece), and draws Qh and 3h.
Alberto, though his point total is very high (65) is also pretty sure that Bernardo has more than a numerus. Thus he discards his Ad and Js hoping to get the maximus which would save him...and gets a Ks and 2h instead.

Since no one has covered the bid that Bernardo made (10 scudi), Alberto must cover it. He throws in 10 scudi; Bernardo shows him that he actually has a primero 61. Alberto smiles convincingly and throws in 10 more scudi.

Now Bernardo is in a quandry. He can throw in 10 scudi and keep his hand. Or he can pass, draw one or two cards (probably destroying his hand) and not throw in 10 scudi. He throws in 10 scudi.

Cinthio passes, throwing out the 6s, and drawing 5d. He still has a numerus.

Domenico also passes, throwing out his Qh and drawing the 6d.

Since play has returned to Alberto and no one has bid, the hand ends. Only Bernardo and Domenico have anything higher than a numerus. Since both of them have primero (Bernardo with a Qc As 7h 4d and Domenico with a 5s 2c 3h 6d), the point totals are compared. Bernardo's point total is 10 + 16 + 21 + 14, or 61; Domenico's point total is 15 + 12 + 13 + 18, or 58. Bernardo wins the hand.

Note that if someone had bid after Alberto's forced bid, play would continue normally. For example, suppose Bernardo cackled maniacally, threw down 10 scudi and said "Primero 40!". Then play would continue normally; if no one felt they could beat Bernardo's primero 40, poor Alberto would have to cover the bid again.

Variants

There is circumstantial evidence for certain variants. In no particular order:
  • As I mention below, the "winner take all" endgame is mine entirely. Cardano spends a great deal of time discussing how the pot should be divided which, to my mind, says that in general the pot was divided according to a different scheme. Based on Cardano's description, I suggest the following division of the pot for those to whom the game is not sufficiently complex mathematically:
    • The person with the highest hand wins half the pot. This is consistent with Cardano's description of the game.
    • The person with the next highest hand wins half the remainder.
    • The remainder stays in the pot as an ante for the next hand.
  • I strongly suspect that a bid of numerus was not actually permitted. (The circumstantial evidence being that the game is called primero, which is neither the highest nor the lowest hand). If you do not allow any bid lower than a primero, the resulting play is something similar to the "jacks or better" version of poker.
  • Cardano is unclear as to whether the forced bid player was the only person who got to look at the other player's hand; it seems reasonable to give them some advantage over the other players.
  • Another possible variant addresses the problem of no money in the pot: everyone must ante. Cardano mentions this is how some people play the game, though does not indicate that it is a universal practice.
  • Cardano specifically mentions that, even though all face cards count as 10 points, you cannot form a chorus using different face cards. While I suspect it would totally upset the game balance by allowing non-identical face cards to form a chorus, there may be some compromise possible. Anyone who wants to playtest such a game is welcome to try, and email me with their results and/or suggestions.
  • Also, in my version, you are only allowed to understate your hand total. A different version might allow you to overstate it. However, this would make the game as written unplayable, since the rule of bidding higher than the previous bid would quickly become unplayable (e.g., "I bid chorus 84!" which is the highest possible bid: four 7's.) If you want to play this way, the easiest "fix" is to require that each succeeding bid be lowerthan the preceding ones, no bid to actually be below the amount held in your hand.
  • An additional possibility: Cardano is not explicit, but there is reason to believe that the highest bidder sets the hand type, and all others attempt to match that hand type with the highest point total. See below.


How This Redaction Came About

The English translation of Liber de Ludo Aleae, done by Sydney Henry Gould, appears as an appendix to Ore's Cardano: The Gambling Scholar. When I first saw it, and read Ore's (brief) discussion of primero in the body of the book, it occurred to me that it might be possible to turn Cardano's brief description of the game into a set of playable rules. The the page numbers refer to the Dover edition.


p. 206 to 207 discusses the deck, card values, and hand types, which are exactly as in the rules above.
p. 207, bottom: Cardano writes "Also chorus can always be concealed for primero and for fluxus when another has announced it". I have interpreted this as the rule of understating bids.

However, there is another possible interpretation. The previous sentence says "It is not permissible to count diverse bids as more than the greatest of these". On page 206, Cardano writes:
"Now there are two kinds of primero. In one, the greater number wins, and this number is different according to the nature of the hands.."
(The other type is where the lesser number wins --- a type of lo-ball poker --- though this is "very little in use".) This and some other isolated quotes suggest that one player announces a hand type, and everyone tries to build that hand type. If you do not have that hand type, you lose, regardless of whether what you hold in your hand is a higher hand type. For example, if the bid is primero, and you have a fluxus --- you lose the hand! As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that this would make for a much more interesting game; it also has the effect of upping the ante of the pot, as players bid to keep the hand from ending. It also has a nice sort of symmetry: a maximus is a numerus, and a chorus is a primero.


p. 208-209: Cardano discusses dividing the pot. I have eliminated this rule and substituted "winner take all", in the interests of ease of play. Also, Cardano is not very clear on who gets which part of the pot.
p. 212 (Cardano spends a few pages discussing cheating): This is the origin of the stake-or-draw rule. Cardano's exact statement is:
"He who, not having announced his primero or fluxus, shall have increased the deposit, except when purposely changing cards, loses his deposit; but if he has not increased it, he is compelled at the will of the others to change his cards..."
This sentence is fairly confusing. It seems to relate to the pot splitting mentioned earlier. If one uses a "winner take all" scheme, then (it seems reasonable to me) to interpret the last statement as saying that if one does not increase the pot, one must change cards.


p. 213 discusses the forced stake. Also, the necessity of exchanging one or two cards if one does not stake is explicitly written out.

Some things that are my invention:
  • The necessity of increasing hand type or point total is mine alone. However, it seems to make sense: if Alberto bids a primero 57, Bernardo has no reason to bother announcing a numerus or a lower primero. (On the other hand, if you use the "bidder sets hand type" rule, above, then it is not necessary to increase the bid type or point total.)
  • Also, the necessity of covering a bid before raising. I admit it: this comes directly out of poker. However, I claim play balance: it prevents someone from getting into a hand with a ludicrously low bid (e.g., Bernardo bids primero 50 and 40 scudi; Cinthio says primero 51 and 2 scudi, and thus for only 2 scudi, has a chance of winning 50).
  • Finally, the revealing of the hand to the forced stake player. At several points Cardano mentions the necessity of a player revealing his hand to prove he either has or does not have a certain type of hand, but the conditions are somewhat vague. I have chosen to allow the forced stake player a look at the hand, mainly to provide some compensation for the forced staking. However, there are some points where Cardano's description seems to match a poker game of the "baseball" type, where a player's hand is revealed card by card; I have not been able to figure out the rules for this.

Piquet

Belorussian translation

The game of Piquet or Cent , the game's English name in period, has been played since at least the end of the 15th century. It is mentioned in literary and scholarly works as diverse as Rabelais's Gargantua et Pantagruel(1534) and Girolamo Cardano's Liber de Ludo Aleae (Book on Games of Chance, 1564), a treatise on probability theory. One of the earliest instruction manuals for a card game was Le Royal Ieu du Piquet Plaisant et recreatif, The Royal and Delightfull Game of Piquet.

To Play Piquet

Piquet is a game for two players, using 36 cards (sixes through Aces). The dealer is called the younger ; the other player is called the elder. Each hand of piquet is divided into five parts:
  • Blanks and discards,
  • ruffs,
  • sequences,
  • sets, and
  • tricks.
The parts are played in that order. Scores are counted in each part of the hand; the first player to score 100 points is the winner. This may take several hands. I recommend using either a score sheet or a cribbage board to keep score.

The players cut for the deal of each hand, and the holder of the low card is the dealer. Each player is dealt 12 cards in increments of 2 to 4 cards. The remaining stock of 12 cards is placed between the players.

Playing the five parts of Piquet

Blanks and discards:
Each player may discard up to 8 cards, and draw as many from the stock. The elder discards and draws first, followed by the younger. Both players must discard and draw at least one card.A hand with no face cards is called a blank. If the elder has a blank, she may declare the blank and the number of cards she is going to discard. After declaring, she shows her hand to the other player. The younger discards and draws her new cards if she does not have a blank. Then the elder discards, draws and receives 10 points. However, if the younger also has a blank, she declares and shows it. No points are awarded, and play continues as though neither had a blank. The younger may not declare a blank independently.
Ruffs:
A ruff is the total number of points in a suit. Aces count 11 points, face cards count 10 points, and number cards count their number. The elder declares the number of points in her largest ruff. If the younger has an equal or higher ruff, she declares her points, too. If the ruffs are equal, then neither player scores. If not, the high ruff receives points for all cards in the hand. 1 point is scored for each 10 points in the hand. 1 to 4 points are rounded down, and 5 to 9 points are rounded up. The loser may ask to see the winning ruff.
Sequences:
A sequence is a group of three or more consecutive cards in a suit. The elder declares the number of cards in her longest sequence. If the younger has an equal or higher sequence, she declares it. If the sequence sizes are equal, both declare the largest card in the sequence. If both sequences are of equal length with the same high card, then neither player scores. Otherwise, either the longest sequence, or the sequence containing the largest card receives points for all sequences in the hand. Sets of three and four score 3 and 4 points, respectively. Sets of five and up score 10 points plus the number of cards in the sequence. The loser may ask to see the winning sequence.
Sets:
A set is three or more tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces. The elder declares the number of cards in her largest set. If the younger has an equal or higher set, she declares it. If the set sizes are equal, the set card is declared. The largest set, or, if both have sets of equal size, the set with the highest card receives points for all sets in the hand. Sets of three score 13 points, and sets of four score 14 points. The loser may ask to see the winning set.
Tricks:
Tricks are played like no-trump tricks in bridge. For the first trick, the elder leads a card, and the younger tries to play another, higher card in the same trick. The highest card in the "lead" suit wins the trick. The winner of the trick leads for the next trick, and so on until all cards are played. Tricks are scored both during and after play. Players receive 1 point for leading a ten or larger, 1 point for winning a trick, 2 points for winning the last trick with a ten or higher, or 1 point for winning the last trick with a nine or lower. After all tricks are played, each player counts the number of tricks they have won. A player with seven through eleven tricks receives 10 points; a player with all twelve tricks (known as a capet) receives 60 points.

Repique and Pique

Players may also score points for preventing the other player from scoring during a hand. A player gets a pique if she reaches 30 points during the tricks, and the other player has no points. A pique is worth 30 points.

A player gets a repique if she reaches 30 points during the first four parts of the hand, and the other player has no points. A repique is worth 60 points. Players must declare that they have a pique or repique, or else they do not receive any points for them.

Gretchen Miller (Margaret MacDuibhshithe)/ grm+@andrew.cmu.edu

Bibliography

Parlett, David; The Oxford Guide to Card Games Oxford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-19-214165-1
Games and Gamesters of the Restoration, Editor: J. Issacs. Mayflower Press, 1930.
The Compleat Gamester, by Charles Cotton, 1674

[Source: The Royal and Delightful Game of Piquet]

Ruff and Honors

Ruff and Honors

This game was first mentioned in 1522 by Bernadine of Sienna in a sermon as "ye Tryumphe." It was actually two slightly different games. In Ruff, 52 cards are used, with 12 cards being dealt to each player. The top card of the remaining four is turned over to determine the trump suit. In Honors, 48 cards are used. All of the twos are discarded. The final card dealt to the dealer is turned over to determine trump.

 The two games are played in a similar fashion. Play proceeds until nine points are scored by a team. Four players play the game. After the cards are dealt and trump is determined, the player with the ace of trump declares "I have the honor" and then asks her/his partner "Have ye?" If the team has three of the four honor cards (ace, king, queen, jack) they score one point. If they have all four they score 2 points.

 Play begins with the person to the dealers left. The player leads a card and all other players follow suit if possible. A player who cannot follow suit may play any card. The trick is won by the highest played card (trump or highest played in suit lead).

 The winner of each trick leads the next. Scoring for tricks taken is one point for every trick taken over six tricks. At least two hands must be played to win the game since the most points that may be scored in a single hand are 8.

If you are interested in a source for Elizabethan era playing cards contact me.

[Source: Elizabethan Card Games]
 

Bone-ace

Bone-ace

This game was first mentioned in "The World of Wordes" by Florio in 1611.  Like One & Thirty it is an ancestor to Blackjack.  Up to 8 players may play.  The dealer deals three cards to each player.  The first two cards are face down and the third face up.  It must be noted that the cards are dealt three at a time and not one to each player in order to make three.  The play is made in two parts.

Part One - The Bone: The player with the highest face up card wins the bone.  The bone is one coin or the previously agreed upon wager for the bone paid by each other player.  In the case of a tie the player with the elder hand wins.  Aces are high and the Ace of Diamonds or Bone Ace wins all.

Part Two: The player with the hand closest to 31 without going over wins.  Aces are eleven points, face cards 10 and the other cards have their face value.

If you are interested in a source for Elizabethan era playing cards contact me.

[Source: Elizabethan Card Games]

One & Thirty

One & Thirty

this card game dates back to at least 1440.  During that year Bernadine of Sienne mentioned the game in an anti-gaming sermon.  This is one of a number of games dating from the 15th to the 17th Centuries that are ancestors to modern Blackjack.  The game was popular in both Spain and Ireland.

The game is for two or more players.  Each player is dealt three cards, face down.  The dealer starts the deal to the player on his left.  Starting with the eldest hand (the player to the left of the dealer), a card may be discarded face up by each player.  It is replaced by the top card on the deck or the previous card on the discard pile.  The player that comes closest to 31 with three cards in the same suit is the winner.  Play continues by discarding one card at a time until a player knocks twice on the table.  After the knock the players get one last discard.  The hands are then shown and the hand closest to 31 wins.  A player who hits 31 exactly wins automatically and does not have to wait for the knock or make a knock.  Ties are redealt.
Scoring is as follows: aces are 11, face cards are 10 and the rest are their face value.  A three of a kind (different suits) is worth 30 & 1/2 points.

If you are interested in a source for Elizabethan era playing cards contact me.

[Source: Elizabethan Card Games]

Maw

Maw

This card game is reported to be Gaelic in origin. Supposedly it was a favorite of James VI of Scotland. The earliest record of the game comes from Ireland in 1551. The earliest rules are from Scotland, 1576.

 Two to ten players may enter the game. All players bet an even amount to enter. The object of the game is to win either three or five tricks or to prevent another player from doing so. The winner of three tricks wins the pot. If there is no winner, another bet is wagered and added to the pot before the next hand. If a player wins the first three tricks they automatically win the pot. If they play to the forth trick they must win the rest of the tricks to win the pot. In this case normally the players must put in extra money. If the player does not take the final two tricks they are penalized. Normally by matching the pot.

 To start play, each player is dealt five cards from a normal 52 card deck. The top card of the remaining is turned up to determine trump. The cards in the trump suit rank five, then jack, then ace of hearts regardless of the trump suit. Then ace of trump (if not hearts), king and queen. Now, depending on the color of the trump suit the remaining cards will be ranked different. For red they are ranked 10 down to 2 and for black they are ranked 2 to 10. Non trump cards are similarly ranked.

 Play commences with the person to the dealers left. This person plays a card and all the other players take turns playing a card of the same suit if they have it. If they do not have the suit they may play a trump. If no trump then any card. They need not play the 5 & jack of trump or the ace of hearts if they do not desire. Lesser trump must be played if the player is void in a suit.

 At times the rules will change slightly. All changed rules must be stated by the dealer before dealing and betting commences.

If you are interested in a source for Elizabethan era playing cards contact me.

[Source: Elizabethan Card Games]