This is my attempt putting together a sketchy guide how to play Tarock. If you know better translations for some of the Viennese Tarock idioms, please tell me or simply correct me if necessary.

*Please note that there is an excellent site maintained by John McLeod about
all kinds of card games at
http://www.pagat.com/
*

- a pack of Tarock playing cards
- at least one additional person, best is three more people for the most interesting variants
- time to learn how to play

- King - 5 points
- Queen - 4 points
- Knight - 3 points
- Jack - 2 points
- Ace - 1 point
- Two - 1 point
- Three - 1 point
- Four - 1 point

- King - 5 points
- Queen - 4 points
- Knight - 3 points
- Jack - 2 points
- Ten - 1 point
- Nine - 1 point
- Eight - 1 point
- Seven - 1 point

XXI takes XX and so on, the Sküs is like a tarock XXII and therefore trumps all other cards.

The value for the cards II - XX is 1 point.

The value for I, XXI
and the Sküs is 5 points. These cards are also
called Trull.

Generally, you must follow suit! If you don't have a played suit, you have to play tarock. If you even don't have tarock, you can play anything you want. If tarock is played, you have to play a tarock if you have one.

Tarocks take all other cards.

Generally, the goal of the game is to make more points than the opponent(s).

The simple and the original one. As a starter, I will tell you

- the simple way (recommended for beginners):

for each card take the correct value (eg 4 for a Queen, 1 for a tarock) and make a sum. Important: When you count like this, Ace, Two, Three, Four, Ten, Nine, Eight and Seven have a value of 0 points! The party with at least 45 points wins a normal game. - the original one (recommended for advanced players):

Count the cards in groups of three: Sum up the values of the three cards, then subtract 2. Then sum up the next three cards, subtract 2. Proceed until no cards are left. If there are one ore two cards left finally, you have to arrange the cards prior to counting so that the last one or two cards have a value of only 1 point each. The party with at least 35 points and 2 cards left or more than 35 points wins a normal game.

Stop, wrong. First you have to sort out 14 cards, ie tarock II and III, hearts and diamonds Two, Three and Four and clubs and spades Seven, Eight and Nine. So there are 40 cards left in the pack now; the two Aces and Tens have a value of 0 points in Zwanz'gerrufen.

So now one player, the dealer, shuffles the cards. The player sitting vis à vis of this player then has to cut the pack of cards. Every player gets five cards, then again five cards - now, everyone has ten cards in his hands.

The player, that got the cards first (sitting left of the dealer), is called forehand. The forehand decides what happens next - this can be a normal game, a Solo, a Valat or a Farberl. These games have a specific score - after the forehand has said what he wants to do, the other players can clockwise bid a higher game. If the forehand wants to play the same game as one of the others, the forehand has the right to do so.

The forehand has a special right: the right to choose a partner. How can this be done?

Only one player got tarock XX ("zwanzig" = twenty). So, the forehand says, "I call tarock twenty" ("rufen" = to call) to indicate that the player with tarock XX is his partner. If the forehand has tarock XX in his own hand, he has to call XIX, if he has XIX, too, he calls XVIII and so on until XVI; if he has all tarocks from XX to XVI, the forehand has to play a Solo - but this is very unlikely! You see, there is not really a way to choose anyone for the forehand - he just has to say the number of the highest tarock he hasn't got.

Very important now: The player with the called tarock in his hand *must not
tell anybody* about that! The others will see that during the play.

The forehand starts playing. Just put a card on the table. Clockwise, the others have to give a card, too - according to the rules! Of course you will try to make as many tricks as possible - or better, as many points as possible, but there is very often a strong correlation...

And you will try to support your partner when you know who your partner is! After the game, your the cards of your tricks and those of your partner are put together. Then it comes to counting - the party with more than 44 points wins. If both parties have 44 points, the party with the forehand loses.

This means that one player plays against the three others.

Typically, you will play a Solo when you have many high tarocks; 45 points are needed to win this.

If you think that the other side (ie two or three, in the case of a solo) will not make any trick, you can play a Valat. Beside that, there is nothing special about a Valat - but you won't play a Valat very often!

This changes the rules - tarocks no longer beat suit cards. One against three others. Nobody is allowed to lead a tarock when he has still other cards in his hand.

And of course, a Pagat Ultimo is impossible.

announcement | points |
---|---|

normal game | 1 |

Solo | 4 |

Farberl | 4 |

Valat unannounced | 6 |

Valat announced | 12 |

Trull (announced only) | 1 |

Pagat ultimo unannounced | 1 |

Pagat ultimo announced | 2 |

Königrufen is played counter-clockwise with all the 54 cards of the Tarock pack. The important structural difference to Zwanz'gerrufen is that you don't call tarock XX but a king.

Coming soon.

After shuffling and cutting, the dealer first deals 6 cards in packets of three as talon in the middle of the table, then 16 cards in two rounds with 8 cards in each round to each player.

There are four possible bids (in ascending order):

- "Dreier" or "Mein Spiel" means that the declarer plays against the two others after exchanging three of his cards with a set of three cards of the talon. He can decide which of the two sets of three he wants to take after the talon was exposed.
- "Die Unteren" means that the declarer plays against the two others with the lower set of the talon.
- "Die Oberen" means that the declarer plays against the two others with the upper set of the talon.
- Solo means that the declarer plays against the two others without using the talon at all.

"Die Oberen" is not more difficult to play than "Die Unteren", it's just unlikely that two players have such good cards they could announce this.

- Pagat ultimo: the declarer must do the last trick with the Pagat.
- Valat: the declarer must do all tricks.

announcement | points |
---|---|

Dreier | 3 |

Unterer | 4 |

Oberer | 5 |

Solo | 8 |

Pagat ultimo unannounced | 4 |

Pagat ultimo announced | 8 |

Valat unannounced | 4 times the value of the game |

Valat announced | 8 times the value of the game |

- Tarock
- the game Tarock
- tarocks
- Tarock
- trumps, the cards I - XXI
- 1 point (except of I, XXI and the Sküs)
- hearts
- Herz
- diamonds
- Karo
- spades
- Pik
- clubs
- Treff
- Jack
- Bub
- 2 points
- Knight
- Kavall
- 3 points
- Queen
- Dame
- 4 points
- King
- König
- 5 points
- Sküs
- from italian
*scusa* - The highest card in the game; treated as something like a tarock XXII
- 5 points
- Mond
- Moon (actually from italian
*mondo*) - tarock XXI
- 5 points
- Pagat
- from italian
*bagatello* - tarock I
- 5 points
- tarock II
- also called Uhu
- tarock III
- also called Kanari, Kakadu or Fleck
- tarock IV
- also called Quapil or Marabu
- Trull
- from french
*tous les trois* - the combined occurrence of Sküs, Mond and Pagat.
- Die Unteren
- "the lowers"
- the lower three cards of the talon
- Die Oberen
- "the uppers"
- the upper three cards of the talon
- Zwanzg`gerrufen
- "calling of the twenty"
- the simpler variant of playing Tarock with 4 people
- Königrufen
- "calling of a king"
- the more complex variant of playing Tarock with 4 people
- Strohmandeln
- a variant of playing Tarock with 2 people
- Tappen, Husareln, Point-Tarock
- variants of playing Tarock with 3 people
- Vorhand
- forehand
- the player with the right to make the bid first