THIS PAGE WAS WRITTEN BY A FRENCH PLAYER...
DO NOT HESITATE TO CORRECT THAT CLUMSY ENGLISH ;)
Each round of Tarot involves two stages: bidding and playing.
In the bidding stage, the person who bids highest becomes the Taker. All the other players are playing collectively against the Taker (except in the five-player version, where the Taker has a secret partner).
In the playing stage, the players play tricks of cards until all the cards have been played. Each card is worth a certain number of points and the winner of each hand gets the points in the hand. The Taker has to achieve a certain number of points to win the round. If the Taker succeeds, they gain to their score and everyone else loses. If the Taker does not succeed, the Taker loses score and everyone else gains. At the end of 6 rounds, the player with the highest score wins.
There are 3 types of cards.
• 21 Trump cards numbered from 1 to 21 (These have stars)
• The Fool (only one of these)
• 14 cards in each color suit, increasing order : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 V C D R
Jack (V) < Knight (C) < Queen (D) < King (R) (These are normal playing cards plus the knight)
Three of these cards (the Bout cards) are particularly important: The 1 of Trump (The Petit), The 21 of Trump, and The Fool. They are worth many points and they change the target score for victory in a round.
The more Bout cards the Taker has at the end of the round, the easier it is for the Taker to win.
Each card is worth a number of points. If you win a trick, you get the points of the cards in the won trick. You may hover over your cards to see the point value.
• Bout: 4 points and a half
• King: 4 points and a half
• Queen: 3 points and a half
• Knight: 2 points and a half
• Jack: 1 point and a half
• Any other card: half a point.
This is the amount of points the Taker needs to get, in order to win the round.
Bouts are special cards that make it easier for the Taker to win.
• 0 Bout : 56 points
• 1 Bout : 51 points
• 2 Bouts: 41 points
• 3 Bouts: 36 points.
The goal for the Taker is determined by the number of Bouts they are able to win during the round.
BGA will deal the cards to the players and set aside face-down 6 (three- or four-player version) or 3 cards (five-player version) for a pile called the Dog (or here, the Kitty). The Dog remains hidden throughout bidding; the final bid determines whether the Dog is revealed and what happens to it.
When dealing in real life: The cards must not be shuffled but are only cut by the player to the right of the card dealer. The cards must be dealt three at a time to each player. While dealing, the card dealer must also set aside the 6 (three- or four-player version) or 3 cards (five-player version) for the Dog. Neither the first nor last card of the deck may be placed in the Dog, nor can successive cards be dealt into the Dog.
• One must follow suit
• One must play a Trump if one cannot follow suit
• If one must play a Trump, one must play a higher Trump than any Trump already played on the trick
• One must play a lower Trump if unable to play a higher
• If one cannot follow suit nor play a Trump, one can play any card
• The Fool can be played on any trick and the person who played the Fool keeps it, regardless of who won the trick. However if the Fool is played on the last trick, then the winner of the trick gets the Fool (exception: Chelem).
English Speaker to the rescue:
The purpose of the game is to play against the TAKER.
The TAKER is the person who made the most aggressive bet at the start of the round.
You do not want to let the TAKER get any of the three bouts. The more bouts the TAKER has, the less points they need to win the hand.
If the TAKER achieves the correct amount of card points (total amount of points gained via tricks), then the taker wins the hand and everyone else loses points.
If the TAKER does not achieve the needed amount of card points, then everyone else scores points based on the takers losses. (Added up at the end of each deal).
The fool only goes to the winner, if they won the hand with trump.
Special Circumstance, but I'm not sure how it activates:
The Dog/Kitty is made of 6 cards. (It is an additional hand?)
The Dog/Kitty is made of 3 cards.
After announcing a bid but before revealing the Dog/Kitty (if applicable), the taker can call on another player (verbally?) to help by calling out a King (eg. "King of Spades"). The player who has the called King must help the taker and does so secretly until the relevant King is played. The called player will share the spoils / the loss of the taker (1/3 for the player, 2/3 for the taker). If the called King is in the Dog/Kitty, the taker plays alone.
• Small: coefficient x 1
• Guard: coefficient x 2
• Guard without the Dog/Kitty: coefficient x 4
• Guard against the Dog/Kitty: coefficient x 6
For Small and Guard, the Dog/Kitty is revealed and the taker integrates it in his/her hand then discards an equal number of cards. Any card may be put in the Dog/Kitty but the taker must announce it if they put Kings in (some variants forbid it / it is frowned upon).
The scores of all the players always add up to 0 after each round.
There are certain bonuses:
Petit au bout
If the Petit is played on the last trick (One of trump suit ((stars)))), the team who wins that trick scores the Petit au bout bonus:
• 10 points x coefficient of the bid.
A player can declare a poignée ("handful") before playing their first card. BGA will prompt you, but you do not have to declare a poignée. It adds points for whoever wins the hand as follows:
• Simple Poignée, 13 Trumps with three players, 10 Trumps with four players, 8 Trumps with five players, 20 points
• Double Poignée, 15 Trumps with three players, 13 Trumps with four players, 10 Trumps with five players, 30 points
• Triple Poignée, 18 Trumps with three players, 15 Trumps with four players, 13 Trumps with five players, 40 points
The Poignée bonus is won by the team who wins the hand (it is not multiplied by the bid coefficient).
That is winning all tricks. Can be announced over the normal bid.
• 400 points if announced and achieved (it not multiplied by the bid coefficient)
• 200 points if silent and achieved
• -200 points if announced but failed
If the team acheving the Slam has the Fool in hand, it can be played on the last trick and it will win it. In this case, the Petit is considered au bout at the penultimate trick.
Any player can declare Misère ("misery") before playing their first card, to announce that they have:
• Misère of Trumps: no Trump nor the Fool, 10 points
• Misère of Honours: no Figure (face cards) nor Bout, 10 points
Every other player gives the declarer 10 points from their score immediately.
If everybody passes, it is free-for-all and the goal is to avoid taking points.
At the hand of the hand, each player pays each opponent the points he took.
The play is the same but there is no Petit au bout nor Slam and Poignées cannot be declared.
The Fool remains the property of one who plays it. If it is played on the last tricks, it wins it.
The Dog/Kitty is not revealed and is no one's property.