Chambéry Tarot is a basic tarot game that does not include any bonuses, declarations, or announcements. It can be played with 3 to 5 players, and is an excellent intro tarot game.
Players 5, in variable partnership
Objective Capture at least 34 card-points to win the hand.
Deal and Discard
Standard procedure, dealing out 15 cards per player. The dealer takes the remaining 3 cards into their hand and discards down to 15. The discarded cards count for the winner of the final trick. The following restrictions apply to the discard:
- Kings, the Mond, and the Fool may never be discarded.
- Trump, other than the Mond, may be discarded only if doing so leaves the player with no trump in hand.
- The player must announce when they discard the Pagat.
Forehand opens the bidding. Players who pass may not re-enter the auction. The auction continues until there is only one player remaining. The possible bids are as follows, in ascending order: Two Cards, One Card, and No Cards. The player who wins the auction is the declarer and plays alone against the other four.
The declarer has the privilege of asking for the number of cards indicated in their winning bid (2, 1, or none) from the others. They may ask for any card not in their hand apart from the Fool. The player who holds the card must relinquish it, and the declarer chooses any card in their own hand to give in return.
If everyone passes without bidding, the dealer must call for a king not in their hand. The player who holds the called king immediately identifies themselves, and the two play in partnership against the other three. If the dealer holds all four kings, then they may call for a queen.
Forehand leads the first trick. Players must follow suit if able and must trump otherwise. If they are unable to do either, then they may play anything. There is no requirement to head the trick. Otherwise, standard trick-taking rules apply.
Remember that the Fool is played as the Excuse.
The team that wins the final trick receives the cards that the dealer discarded at the beginning of the hand.
Each team counts their card-points. Points are counted in batches of five, using the standard method. The extra 3 cards are counted as 1 point so that there are no fractions. There are 68 card-points in total.
Hard scoring is used, tracking each player’s score individually on paper or with chips. Teams must take more than 34 card-points to win, and the amount they win is based on how many points they are over or under 34.
If both teams make 34 points then there are no payments. Otherwise, each player on the team that made fewer than 34 point loses the number of points their team was off 34 times the multiplier of the winning bid. This amount is doubled if the team took fewer than 17 card-points. The players on the winning team split the cumulative points lost by the opposition equally between themselves.
The rules are the same as the 5-player game with the following exceptions:
- 19 cards are dealt to each player, and the dealer takes the remaining 2 cards.
- Cards are counted in batches of four, with the extra 2 cards counting as 1 point, so there are 72 card-points in total.
- More than 36 card-points are needed to win the hand.
- Payments are doubled when a team takes fewer than 18 card-points.
25 cards are dealt to each player. The dealer takes the remaining 3 cards into their hand and discards following the usual rules. There is no bidding. Each player plays for themselves. Cards are counted in batches of three, making 78 card-points in total. Each player who scores fewer than 26 card-points pays the amount they are off 26. This amount is doubled if they took less than 13 card-points. If only one player takes more than 26 points, then they receive all of the paid points. Otherwise, if two players are over 26, each player gains the number of points they were over 26, doubled if the losing player had fewer than 13 points.
- “Tarot in Piedmont and Savoy.” A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack: The Game of Triumphs, by Michael A. E. Dummett and John McLeod, The Edwin Mellen Press, 2004, pp. 174–178.