Scopone is a popular Italian card game for four players in two teams. Players of the same team aim for the highest score together by fishing as many high-value cards from the table as possible, and they sit at opposite sides of the table.
This fishing-type card game is a derivative of the Italian national card game Scopa.
As such, Scopone also uses a deck of 40 Italian-suited cards: The suits are Spade, Coppe, Denari, and Bastoni (Swords, Cups, Coins, and Batons). The ranks in descending strength are Re, Cavallo, Fante (King, Horseman, Knave), and the pip cards from Seven to One. One is considered the Ace.
A round of Scopone consists of a single deal. At first, the dealer shuffles the deck and deals nine cards to each player, and the remaining four cards face-up on the table. There is also a variant without face-up cards at the round’s start and instead ten cards for each player.
The player to the dealer’s right plays the first turn. After that, play continues in counterclockwise direction, and so on, until the dealer plays their final card.
In your turn, you must always play a single card. When there is at least one card in the pool, you have two options: You can either capture one or more cards from the table or add a card to the pool on the table. You can never add a card that you could capture with to the pool.
There are two ways to capture:
- The rank of a card from your hand matches the rank of a card on the table. If more table cards match, you can only take one of them from the pool.
- Or, if that is not possible, the rank of a card from your hand equals the sum of the ranks of two or more cards on the table.
You remove the card used to capture, as well as the captured card(s), from the game and save them face-down in front of yourself.
If you capture all cards from the pool, you reach a scopa, which will add a bonus point at the end of the round.
If there are any cards left in the pool after the dealer played their final card, the remainder goes 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. After that, the scores of the players in a team are summed up to determine each team’s score. Scoring follows the principles of Scopa.
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
The team with the highest combined score wins the round! And if you like, you can play multiple rounds. Enjoy!