Slovenian Tarok is similar to the famously complicated Austrian Königrufen, but is much more approachable. Slovenian Tarok should be playable by beginners, but I recommend that you ignore the bonuses until you are more comfortable with the basic game. The version of the game described here is a simplification of the rules found on Pagat.
Players 4, in variable partnership
Cards A 54-card tarot deck, which can be constructed out of a 78-card tarot deck by removing the bottom 6 cards from each plain suit. The cards have standard tarot values and rankings. The Fool is played as the highest ranked trump card above the Mond.
Objective Play alone or with a partner to take 36 or more card-points to win the hand.
The player immediately after the forehand in turn order starts the bidding. Each player must either bid or pass. Players who pass may not re-enter the auction. The auction continues until all but one player has passed.
The lowest opening bid is Two. When a player bids they must name a contract that’s ranked higher than the previous bid, unless they have priority over the previous bidder, in which case they can name the same contract. Player priority is assigned in descending order starting with the forehand, who has the highest priority, and going around the table in turn order, ending with the dealer.
The player who wins the auction is the declarer. Before continuing, they are allowed to adjust their bid up to any higher contract or keep it where it’s at.
If the first three players pass without bidding, the forehand is the declarer and must name a contract. This is only time that Klop and Three may be played.
If the declarer’s contract allows them to exchange cards with the stock, the entire stock is turned face up on the table and divided into groups of cards.
If the declarer’s contract is Three or Solo Three, the first three consecutive cards are a group and the last three cards are a group. If the contract is Two or Solo Two, the first two cards, middle two cards, and last two cards are each a group. Finally, if the contract is One or Solo One, each individual card is in its own group.
The declarer selects one of the groups, adds it to their hand, and discards the same number of cards face down. The discarded cards count as part of their tricks at the end of the hand. Kings and trull cards may not be discarded. Non-trull trump may be discarded, but must be discard face up for everyone to see.
The remaining cards that the declarer did not select count for the opponents at the end of the hand.
If the declarer’s contract does not allow them to exchange cards, then the entire stock is set aside unseen and counts for the opponents at the end of the hand.
Calling a Partner
After the exchange, if the contract allows it, the declarer calls for a partner by naming a king that they do not hold in their hand. A queen may be named if they hold all of the kings. The player who holds the called king does not reveal themselves. Their identity becomes known only by playing the called card. The declarer may call a king that they hold, in which case they play alone against the others, but doing so does not increase the value of the contract.
Before play begins, there is a round of optional bonus announcements. Each player has the opportunity to name bonuses that they will attempt to achieve. A bonus does not need to be announced to in order to score it, but doing so doubles its value. Bonuses are not allowed in Klop, Beggar, and Solo Without.
When King Ultimo or Pagat Ultimo are announced, the announcing player must also place the relevant card face up on the table in front of them and leave it there until it is played.
When Valat is announced, all other announcements are cancelled.
The declarer leads the first trick in Beggar and Solo Without contracts, and forehand leads in all others. Players must follow suit if able and must trump otherwise. If they are unable to do either, then they may play anything. Otherwise, standard trick-taking rules apply.
If all three trull cards are played to the same trick, then the Pagat wins the trick. This is known as the “Emperor Trick.”
In all positive contracts, if the Mond is captured by the Fool or as part of an Emperor Trick, then the player who played the Mond immediately loses 20 game-points. This is true regardless of if the player who captured the Mond is their partner.
In negative contracts, Klop or Beggar, players must head the trick if able. Additionally, the Pagat may only be played if there are no other options or it’s the only card that could win the trick.
Each team counts their card-points. Points are counted in batches of three, using the standard method. Fractional values should be rounded to the nearest integer. There are 70 card-points in total. The declarer’s team needs at least 36 card-points to win the hand.
The number of points the declarer’s team was away from 35, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5, is added to the base value of the contract to determine the value of the game. This is not done for Solo Without, which has a fixed game value of 80 points. If the declarer’s team took at least 36 card-points, then each member of the team scores the value of the game. If they took less than 36 card-points, they each lose the value of the game.
An announced or unannounced Valat voids all other bonuses, and it is the only one that is scored.
Bonuses are evaluated independent from which team who the hand. The value of bonuses made, announced or unannounced, by the declarer’s team are added to each of their scores. And, the value of bonuses that they failed is subtracted from their score.
Similarly, the value of bonuses made, announced or unannounced, by the declarer’s opponents are subtracted from the declarer’s team’s score, and the value of bonuses the opponents failed are added to the declarer’s.
Solo Without does not score any bonuses.
Bonuses are not scored in negative contracts.
If a player does not take any tricks, then they win the hand and score 70 points. Otherwise, each player counts their card-points as described above. If a player took 36 or more card-points, then they lost the hand and score -70 points. If no one won or lost the hand, then each player loses the number of points that the took, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5.
If the declarer did not take any tricks, they score 70 points. If they took a trick, they score -70 points.
|Klop||No||0||No tricks||+/- 70 or – points||No|
|Three||Yes||3||> 35 points||10 + d||Yes|
|Two||Yes||2||> 35 points||20 + d||Yes|
|One||Yes||1||> 35 points||30 + d||Yes|
|Solo Three||No||3||> 35 points||40 + d||Yes|
|Solo Two||No||2||> 35 points||50 + d||Yes|
|Solo One||No||1||> 35 points||60 + d||Yes|
|Solo Without||No||0||> 35 points||80||No|
- d: The difference between the number of card-points taken and 35, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5.
Everyone plays on their own. The goal is to take no tricks or as few card-points as possible. After the auction, the stock is set aside unused. After each of the first six tricks, the player who won the trick takes the top card off the stock and adds it to their trick pile.
Three, Two, One
The declarer exchanges 3, 2, or 1 cards with the stock, and calls for a partner by naming a king. Their goal is to take at least 36 card-points.
Solo Three, Solo Two, Solo One
The declarer exchanges 3, 2, or 1 cards with the stock, and plays alone against the others. Their goal is to take at least 36 card-points.
The stock is set aside unused. The declarer plays alone, attempting to not take any tricks. The declarer leads the first trick.
The declarer does not exchange with the stock and does not call for a partner. Their goal is to take at least 36 card-points.
|Trull||10||20||Take the Fool, Mond, and Pagat in tricks.|
|Kings||10||20||Take all 4 kings in tricks.|
|King Ultimo||10||20||Win the last trick with the called king.|
|Pagat Ultimo||25||50||Win the last trick with the Pagat.|
|Valat||250||500||Win every trick. Cancels all other bonuses.|
- When an Ultimo is announced the relevant card must be kept as long as possible. It may only be played to the last trick or when the player has no other legal option.
- King Ultimo is still successful if the king is played to the last trick but their partner wins the trick.
- Pagat Ultimo is only successful if the Pagat wins the trick.
- If no announcements were made, and the Pagat or called king are lost in the final trick, then it is regarded as a failed unannounced ultimo attempt.
The rules are assumed to be the same apart from the following exceptions. 16 cards are dealt to each player and 6 cards to the stock. The forehand starts the bidding, and may name any contract other than Klop. Klop is only played if everyone passes without bidding. The declarer always plays alone against the other two. The contracts are as follows:
|Klop||0||No tricks||+/- 70 or – points||No|
|Solo Three||3||> 35 points||10 + d||Yes|
|Solo Two||2||> 35 points||20 + d||Yes|
|Solo One||1||> 35 points||30 + d||Yes|
|Solo Without||0||> 35 points||80||No|
The bonuses are the same with the exception that King Ultimo is no longer possible.