top of page

Official Briscola (Italian) Rules

Briscola is a popular trick-taking card game from Italy, known for its simple rules and strategic depth. Here's a breakdown of how to play Briscola:

Objective

Win the most points by strategically playing cards and accumulating points through tricks.

Setup

1. Shuffle the Deck: Mix the cards thoroughly.


2. Deal the Cards: Depending on the number of players: 


3. 2 Players: Deal three cards face down to each player. The remaining deck is placed face down in the center.


4. 4 or 6 Players (Teams): Deal three cards face down to each player. The remaining deck is placed face down in the center. In team games, players sitting opposite each other become partners.


5. Turn Up Trump Card (Briscola): In all variations, the top card of the deck is flipped face up. This card and its suit become the trump suit (Briscola) for the round. The remaining deck is left face down.

Gameplay

Briscola follows a trick-taking structure with a twist introduced by the trump suit:

1. Round Start:

  • The player to the dealer's right leads the first trick by playing any card face up from their hand.

2. Playing a Card:

  • Each player takes turns clockwise, and can play any card from their hand.

3. Winning the Trick:

  • Here's where Briscola gets interesting:

    • No Briscola Played: If no player plays a Briscola card (trump suit), the highest card of the suit led wins the trick.

    • Briscola Played: If one or more players play Briscola cards, the highest Briscola card played wins the trick. Even a low Briscola card beats any card of a non-trump suit.

4. Drawing Cards (Optional):

  • After each trick, players (or teams) might draw a card from the remaining deck (depending on the specific game variation) to replenish their hand to the starting number (typically 3 cards).

5. Round End:

  • The round ends when all cards in the deck (or hand size dictates) have been played.

Scoring:

  • Points are typically accumulated after every round. Scoring methods can vary, but here are two common ways:

    • Card Points: Each card has a point value assigned to it (e.g., threes = 3 points, Kings = 4 points). Players/teams add up the point values of the cards they win in tricks.

    • Winning the Round: The winning team/player simply gets a point for winning the round.

Winning the Game

Briscola is typically played for a set number of rounds (often 3, 5, or 7). The player/team with the most points (or the most rounds won) at the end is the winner!

Notes/Variations

  • Bidding: Some variations involve a bidding phase before revealing the Briscola card. Players bid on how many points they think they can win, adding another layer of strategy.

  • Communication: In team games, some variations allow partners to communicate subtly through facial expressions or pre-arranged signals to improve teamwork.

Tips and Strategies:

  • Track Cards Played:  Try to remember which cards have been played throughout the round to make informed decisions about what cards to play.

  • Manage Your Briscola: Use your Briscola cards strategically, knowing they can overpower any non-trump suit.

  • Work Together (in Teams): In team games, communicate subtly with your partner to indicate card strength and potential winning tricks.

  • Adapt to the Deck: Since the Briscola suit is random each round, adjust your strategy based on the revealed trump suit and the cards in your hand.

Briscola offers a delightful blend of simple rules, strategic card play, and a dash of team communication (in team variations). So gather your friends or family, shuffle the deck, and see who can become the Briscola champion!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see our disclosures here.

Browse Related Games!

bottom of page