Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chicks rule- A tarot game

The four "chicks" or queens.
 This rather curiously named game is the only instance, as far as I can tell, of a tarot game invented within living memory. The inventor of this game is a blogger called Narj, and the post describing this game dates to April 13 2009.( A rough summary of the game follows

 Basicaly, the game is bridge played with a tarot deck. It is most suitable for 4 or 6 players. The cards are dealt out evenly amongst the players, and what remains is left as a "kitty". ( This means that in a 4- player game , each person has 19 cards, with 2 in the kitty.) Then, the bidding for the trump suit proceeds. The bidding is done as in bridge,  with the highest bidder being allowed acess to the cards in the kitty.
 As in this game, the highest ranking suit varies, and hence the suit normally called "trump" in tarot ( AKA major arcana ) may not be the actual trump suit in play. Hence, the  aforesaid suit are known as "bettys", with the fool, or "nymph"( as it is known here) as the highest.
 In play, the queen outranks the king ( hence the name), but the cavaliers & jacks remainding as usual. The  game play is much as in bridge. Should the winning team make a contract, it scores that number of points. Should it not, the opposing team  scores that number of points, much as in bridge.

One of the major gripes that people had with this game ( judging by the comments ) is that the amount of cards in a hand was rather larde and unweildy. Hence, as A suggestion, I propose that the game may be played with a tarock deck, viz; one that has all number cards ( that is, ones in the non trump suit) lower than 7 removed from the deck, leaving a deck of 54 cards.

Binokel/Gaigel ( Württemberg pattern)

"Binokel/Gaigel" (Württemberg pattern), Nürnberger spielkarten verlag- 48c. ( 2 x 24)

We again have another oddity. This edition of the Württemberg pattern by Nürnberger spielkarten differs substantially from other editions. For starters, the figures look very different from other editions, but on closer examination, this edition at least follows the spirit of the design.

 Note the following differences from the more standard pattern: ( see

1- The obers do not have the word "ober" written out on them in full ( as per the standard pattern)
2- The ober of leaves does not wear a turban, or carry a whip [ but he and the others ride really cute horses :) ]
3- The central row of hearts in the tens are coloured yellow and green, like the " type S" barvarian pattern
4- A champange bottle with it's cork flying out of it's neck is depicted on the ace of acorns

Friday, 2 November 2012

Chinese Domino cards- "十五湖"

Chinese domino cards- "十五湖" , "Double fish"- 84c.

 We now come to a Most rare and curious deck- The chinese domino cards, or 十五湖 as they are known in that language. I am informed that the cards are cheifly used by the cantonese, But even then, the use of this cards ( at least in singapore, where I got them) is practically extinct. The keeper of the shop informed me that I was the first person under 50 who had inquired about this deck, and after a long and exhaustive search, finally found them
 But, to proceed. The deck consists of 21 individual cards, each repeated 4 times, making for a total of 84 cards.The 21 cards are based on the 21 possible throws of a pair of dice.
Note the following features-
1- the ones and fours are coloured red.
2- The cards are divided into 2 halves by a small picture. In some cases, this is a pair of fishes (the brand name), but in some cases, we see the name "天生"- presuedly the company's name. Other pictures include swimmers, dogs, and flowers. These other vinigettes reflect the nicknames of the combinations. For example, the 5-5 is known as "the plum-blossom"- on that card, we see a little flower. Likewise, the 1-2, is called "the chicken"( 么雞三), and so has a that animal on it. However, not all the card's nicknmes are featured, and in other cases, pictures have been inserted that bear no relavance to the card's name.