The game of Scopa.

Scopa is a card game that originated in Italy. In order to play you need a deck of 40 cards divided into 4 suits: coins, clubs, cups and swords. Each suit is comprised of the following cards: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Jack, Knight, King. Piacentine cards are one example of the type of deck used to play Scopa.

Scopa Rules:

Scopa is usually played by 2 or 4 players. When there are four players, you play in pairs. Each player is paired with the player opposite, that is to say player one with player three, and player two with player four. Pairs may be formed as a result of agreements amongst the players or by means of a draw. If you want to draw the pairs, you deal out a card to each player until two separate players receive a King. These two players will form the first pair and the first player who received the King will start to deal the cards (to act as the dealer). Once the deck has been shuffled, the dealer will ask the player on his or her left to “cut” the deck and will then deal three cards face-down to each player, starting with the player immediately on his or her right, and continuing in an anti-clockwise direction. The dealer will then turn four cards face-up on the table. Once the players have played all the cards, the dealer will deal out another three and so on until the end of the deck has been reached. If three of the four initial cards placed face-up on the table are Kings, the hand is considered invalid and the cards will be dealt out again. This is essential, because otherwise it will be impossible to capture all the cards on the table (scopa) during the game. Scopa is a silent game, meaning that the players may not talk to one another or make signs.

How to play:

The lead player is the one to the right of the dealer. During his or her turn, each player plays a single card and play continues in an anti-clockwise direction with the other players, until the deck has been exhausted, meaning that the hand has come to an end. If the card played by a player is of an equal value to another card or to the total value of several cards on the table, the player takes his or her card and the card(s) of corresponding value, placing them face down in front of him or herself. If the values do not correspond, the player simply leaves the played card on the table. If there is a card on the table of the same value as the card played, as well as other cards which add up to the same value as the card played, the player has to take the single card of the same value. If, on the other hand, there is not a single card of the same value, but several cards which add up to the value of the card played, the player may choose his or her preferred combination of cards of the same value. If a player plays a card and captures all the cards (or the only card) present on the table at the time, this is called “scopa”. To indicate the “scopa”, the player places a card face-up on top of the captured cards. The only exception is when the final card is played, that is to say when the last player captures all the cards remaining on the table. This does not count as a “scopa”. At the end of the hand, if any cards remain on the table, they are captured by the player who captured cards last.

Calculating the score:

At the end of the hand, the score is calculated as follows: - Each “scopa” is worth 1 point; - Seven of Coins: the player that captured the 7 of coins gets 1 point for him or herself or for the team; - Deck: the player or team that captured more than 20 cards gets 1 point. In case of a draw, the point is not assigned; - Coins: the player or team that captured more than 5 coin cards gets 1 point. In case of a draw, the point is not assigned; - Prime: the player or team with the prime gets one point. The prime is simply the total points of the highest card in each suit, calculated on the basis of the following scores:
  • the 7 is worth 21 points;
  • the 6 is worth 18 points;
  • the Ace is worth 16 points;
  • the 5 is worth 15 points;
  • the 4 is worth 14 points;
  • the 3 is worth 13 points;
  • the 2 is worth 12 points;
picture cards are worth ten points.

To calculate the prime, each player or team adds up the points of the highest card captured from each suit.
It is important to have at least one card per suit, otherwise the prime is invalid. The prime is won by the player or team with the highest score according to the table above. In the event of a draw (if both players have two sevens and two sixes, for example), the point is not awarded.

Aim of the game:

The aim of the game is to reach the target score by adding up the points obtained at the end of each hand.

Generally speaking, a game of Scopa is played until one player gets 11 points. If both players or pairs reach or exceed 11 points in the same hand, the player or pair with the highest score wins. If there is a draw, they continue playing until the draw is broken (every hand that is started must be completed).