In Briscola the main objective is to win more rounds than the opponents. The party with the most points wins the round, and the party that wins the most rounds is the winner of the game.
Similarly to many other trick-taking games, in Briscola it is essential to earn more points by taking high-value cards.
Players and cards
The game is played by 4 players using the following cards:
- Italian deck with 40 cards in it, grouped in four suits (Swords, Coins, Clubs and Cups).
- Ordered by strength (from strongest to weakest), the cards in each suit are as follows: 1, 3, King, Knight, Jack, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2.
The point values of the cards in all suits are:
The rules for dealing the cards in the beginning of a hand are as follows:
- The dealer gives 3 cards to each player in counter-clockwise order.
- After the cards are dealt, the next card from the deck is placed face-up on the table. This is how the trump suit for the current hand is determined – it is the suit of the face-up card.
- The rest of the cards in the deck are placed face-down, next to the face-up card. The players would later draw from this deck while playing tricks.
Playing the cards
The common rules for playing the cards are:
- Players place cards on the table in the direction of play.
- For the first trick, the first card is played by the player on the right of the dealer.
- For the next tricks, the first card is played by the player who won the previous trick.
If there are unused cards in the stock pile, after a player wins a trick all players receive another card from the deck with unused cards. The first to obtain a card is the player who won the trick, followed by the other players in the direction of play.
There are no rules for what cards the players should play in a trick. All players can play any card they want.
Each trick is won by one of the players as follows:
- When no trump card was played, the trick is won by whoever played the highest card of the suit led.
- When a trump card is played, the trick is won by whoever played the highest trump card.
At the end of a round each team scores the sum of the card points it won. The winner is the team that scores more than half of the points – 61 or more from 120 totally. In case both teams won 60 points, the winner is the team that won the last trick.
The first team that wins a specific number of rounds (as set for the table, for example 3) wins the session.