Scopa is a card game from Italy and considered one of its national card games. The fishing card game is usually played with two to six players aiming for the highest score by capturing as many valuable cards from the table as possible.
Scopa is also popular in other countries with Italian communities, such as Argentina and Brazil, where it is sometimes known by a local name. A four-player version in teams of two is called Scopone and is very popular, too.
Scopa uses a deck of 40 Italian-suited cards: The suits are Spade (Swords), Coppe (Cups), Denari (Coins), and Bastoni (Batons). The ranks from strongest to weakest are Re (King), Cavallo (Horseman), Fante (Knave), and the pip cards from Seven to One. One is considered the Ace.
One round of Scopa consists of multiple deals. To start the game, the dealer shuffles and deals three cards to each player and four cards face-up on the table. The remaining cards are the face-down stock.
The player to the dealer’s right begins playing the first turn. In their turn, the player must always play a single card. They can either use it to capture one or more cards or add it to the pool on the table. You can never add a card to the pool that would suit capturing.
There are two ways to capture:
- The player matches a card from their hand to a card of the same rank on the table. If more cards match that rank, only one of them can be taken from the pool.
- Or, if that is not possible, the player matches a card from their hand to the sum of the ranks of two or more cards on the table.
After capturing, the card used to capture, as well as the captured card(s), are removed from the game and go to a face-down pile in front of the player.
If a player captures all cards from the pool while there are still cards in the stock, they reach a scopa, which will add a bonus point at the end of the round.
After that, it’s the next player’s turn in counterclockwise direction, and so on, until the hand cards of all players are either in the pool or captured.
Then, another three cards are dealt to the players but not to the table anymore, and playing begins following the same pattern. This system continues until no cards are left in the stock.
Playing ends after the dealer plays their final card. Any cards left in the pool go to the player who most recently captured.
The scores per player are combined from the value of their collected cards as well as bonus points if applicable.
Scores associated with each rank:
- Pip cards: according to face value
- Fante: 8 points
- Cavallo: 9 points
- Re: 10 points
One bonus point each for:
- Completing a scopa
- Capturing the most cards
- Capturing the most Coin cards
- Capturing the Seven of Coins
After scoring, the player with the highest score wins. You can play multiple rounds if you like. Have fun!