What are Spanish Card Games?
Spanish card games were, and still are, one of the most popular pastimes in the country. Since the days of colonial Spain, Spanish card games were the preferred hobby of sailors and citizens alike. The classic Spanish deck consists of 48 cards with 3 pictures, the king, the horse and the jack. These cards form the basis of Spanish card games, and are even used as the standard rule-set for modern card games thanks to its unique balance.
What is the History of Spanish Card Games?
Spanish card games’ history is long, and are sometimes hailed as one of the most popular game types since the beginning of the world of card games. While it is agreed that playing cards were first introduced in early 12th century China, there is no doubt that the Spanish colonization movement made for an excellent medium of transportation.
The Spanish cards were slowly invented through the imports of Chinese cards from Egypt, and the same cards gained popularity in the late 1300s, even going so far as to get a blanket ban until 1384. The famous Spanish card deck was eventually made in the late 15th century, with 48-card decks becoming the norm.
These decks became the standard at the time, thanks to their affordable prices and ease of access. Other variations became mainstream, such as the 40-card stripped decks that eventually became the norm in other countries, such as Mexico. The uniqueness of Spanish card decks lie in their artwork, which were indicative of the culture of the time. The similarities to the modern standard means that Spanish card games can be easily adapted to the standard 52-card deck.
List of Spanish Card Games
The name shows the relation of this Spanish card game to its French counterpart, Manielle. This is a point based trick-taking game that gained popularity in the days of colonial Spain. This game uses Spanish 40-card decks, as opposed to the French standard of 32-cards. The uniqueness of Manilla is the existence of partnerships, where 4 players are split into teams of two. Communication is allowed, though limited by the rules.
The name Ombre comes from the Spanish word “hombre”. This game is one of the earliest known trick-taking game in Europe, being extremely traditional in playstyle. The rules are somewhat complex, but the game still finds play to this day. Played by 3 players and using the standard 40 card deck, each player makes a bid and calls for a trump suit. The one calling the trump suit then aims to win more tricks by playing out the most cards. Rules are like Rummy, with the main difference being the rank of cards, which are based on the colour of the trump suit.
One of the most popular Spanish card games, this game uses either thee 40 or 48-card Spanish pack, and follow similar rules to Gin Rummy. Each of the 2-4 players are dealt 7 cards, and are required to match cards from the stock. Each turn, a card is taken from the stock or the discard pile and added to a player’s hand, and the player ends their turn by discarding. Once a player has assembled a winning meld, they can call for a win.
Julepe is a game about getting the highest valued trump card for each round. To win a round, players play larger cards with matching suits, much like other games of trick-taking. The main difference of Julepe is the use of the Spanish 40-card deck, and some specific rules that allow players to pass their turns.
Botifarra is a point-based trick-taking card game for 4 players. This Spanish card game is popular in the northern regions, and includes special rules that make it more about deduction than chance. The goal of the game is to win via points, and each card has its own point worth. Using the 48-card deck, the 9 is the card of the highest value, and players attempt to match the selected trump suit with cards of a larger value. Partnerships are common in the game, and communication without words or movement is key to victory.
When it comes to trick-taking games, Aluette is the most basic. Played by 2-4 players using the 48-card Spanish deck, players attempt to win for their teams by playing out their 9 cards in hand. Tricks won are calculated on a per-person basis. The rules are simple enough, win tricks by playing matching suits of higher values, or forfeit tricks by playing a junk card. Winner wins by score.
For a change of pace, Cuarenta is a fishing game played with the 40-card Spanish deck. The game name is Spanish for 40, and describes the required points to win. Each player gets 5 cards each, and make calls based on the cards they have in hand. Once turns begin, each player plays one card face up, which can be stolen by matching or adding. For example, a 6 can be stolen if a player has a 2 and a 4, since 2 and 4 sum up to 6.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to play Spanish Card Games?
Spanish card games operate similar to modern games, to get the 40-card deck, the 8, 9 and 10 cards are removed, for the 48-card decks, only the 10 cards is removed.
What are the most popular Spanish Card Games?
Despite its age, Manilla remains popular to this day, and has found integration in other countries as well, such as France and Mexico.
What is the major difference of Spanish Card Games?
Spanish card games specifically use the Spanish card decks, but even then, the implementation is similar to the modern day 52-card deck, and can be easily adapted.
What are the variations on the standard Spanish deck?
The standard Spanish card decks are the 48 and 40-card decks, the only differing factor being the imagery used.
Can I play Spanish card games online?
You can find online simulators of most of the card games online, some more refined than others.