If you don’t know this game and you stop to watch a game of Declaration Briscola, it probably won’t look like much. It is difficult to understand why it has to be played by five people and how the teams are formed. The auction at the start of the game is particularly confusing.

However, the answers are simple. Reading them makes it easy to understand how to play Declaration Briscola, soon revealing just why it is so much fun.

It is played by five players because the more the merrier, but the deck of cards could not be dealt between six or seven players without some being left over, and with eight players there would only be five cards each, which would not be enough for the game strategy to work.

The teams are effectively formed after the cards have been dealt, and are chosen by the player who won the auction. In fact, the winner decides/declares:

that he or she will win with more than 60, 80 or 100 points (with bonuses if he or she wins with 80 or 100)
the trump (briscola) suit
who his or her partner will be, even if unaware of who it is, because the winner of the auction will be partnered by the secret holder of the trump (briscola) card that he or she called. This is precisely what the auction is for. Once the cards have been dealt, the players analyse their cards and try to understand whether they are able to win the game 1 against 4 (or two against three), by deciding the trump (Briscola) suit. If a player with an Ace, three, ten, eight, six and four of clubs in his or her hand declared him or herself able to win, and chose clubs as the trump (briscola) suit), this player would win the game by winning lots of tricks.

Taking turns, each player therefore calls the card that he or she is missing in order to win with the declared score. The next player can declare a lower card than that called by the previous player, as if to say “ok, I think I’m stronger than you, and while you need a partner with the 10, I only need a partner with the 7 to win or try to win, because I have all the other high cards”.

If two players both declare the Two card (because, unlike the other cards, if a player declares the Two, the next player also has the right to declare the two, thereby progressing to the points auction), they then have to battle it out in the second phase of the auction, in which they have to challenge each other by declaring the score they will have to achieve to win the game.

This is Declaration Briscola, packed with bluffing, secrecy, suspense, tactics, taunting and lots of fun.
It has been said that there is no better spectacle than watching a game of Declaration Briscola in which the players work closely together and are skilled at the game.

The version of Declaration Briscola played on Biska follows the traditional rules of Declaration Briscola as played all over Italy.