I have heard a number of people complain that one of the reasons they are reluctant to learn French Tarot is that the rules are complex, and the ones provided on the website are difficult to understand. I can't change those, but I have taken the liberty to rewrite them and hopefully simplify them slightly. I shall post them below. I hope the admin don't mind, I have repurposed your page structure and edited some of your content, as well as adding a bit of my own. Notably I have removed the examples, which are more confusing than helpful, and embedded a couple new ones into the text itself. I have also cleaned up the English so that it reads more simply and concisely. Hopefully this will help some people. If these are still unclear, let me know and I'll do my best to explain further or otherwise rewrite these.
Tarot, known Colloquially in France as "French Tarot," is a game played with a deck of 78 cards as opposed to the usual 52 card deck. This extended eck includes an additional card, the knight, which is between the queen and the jack. This gives 14 cards per suit as opposed to the standard 13. There is also a special suit, the trump, which is different and independant from the four usual base suits, (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.) This additional trump suit consists of 21 cards numbered from 1 to 21. Last but not least, there is another card, the fool, which serves as a kind of joker
The following rules describe french tarot. There are other variations specific to different countries and regions. Indeed, Tarot's precise origins are unknown, due to the age of the game itself.
Tarot is both an individual and a team game. At the beginning of each round there is a betting phase, similar to spades. This is when contracts are declared. The declarer, or person who ultimately takes the contract, will from here on play alone against the other players until the end of the round. This player is also called the "attacker," and correspondingly the other players are called the "defenders." It is the job of the attacker to meet his or her contract.
Cards are usually dealt three by three. Each player receives 12, 15, 18 or 24 cards, depending on whether they are playing with 6, 5, 4 or 3 people. Undealt cards, between 3 and 6, form the "kitty." This "kitty" is potentially of great value. Depending upon the type of contract chosen by the attacker, the kitty may be added to his or her hand in order to improve it. In other contracts, the kitty may be instead be put in play against the attacker, making that contract more difficult to meet.
Contracts and betting
Once cards have been dealt, the betting phase can begin. Each player can either "pass*, thus choosing not to take a contract and become the attacker, or declare a contract. A player can also choose to bid for a higher contract if they have not already passed. Contracts come in varying values. The contracts, in order of least valuable to most, is as follows:
Little: the smallest and least valuable contract. The kitty can be added to the hand with this contract.
Push: a slightly higher, but still small, contract. Points won or lost in the round are multiplied by 1.5 when using this contract. The kitty can be added to the hand with this contract.
Guard: The most common contract in the game. Points won or lost in the round are multiplied by 2. The kitty can be added to the hand with this contract.
Guard without the kitty: This is a slightly more risky contract. Points won or lost in the round are multiplied by 4. Additionally, the attacker cannot add the kitty to their hand. The attacker does receive the points from the kitty, however.
Guard against the kitty: The most difficult contract of them all, this contract multiplies points won or lost in the round by 6. Additionally, the cards in the kitty are scored against the attacker, meaning that meeting this contract is much more difficult.
If no contracts are chosen after each player has had their turn in the betting phase, the deck is re-shuffled re-dealt.
Once the betting phase has ended, the attacker is given the kitty. The attacker first shows the kitty to the other players, then adds it to his or her hand. They then must discard an equal number of cards back into the kitty. The attacker can discard any card other than kings, trumps or the fool, unless there is no other choice.
When the attacker is ready and has discarded enough cards to make a complete kitty once again, the play of the hand can start. At that point, nobody can touch the kitty, and it remains unused. Its contents will only be revealed at the end of the round.
When playing the guard without or the guard against, this step is completely skipped and the kitty is only shown at the very end of the round.
Play of the hand
The play of the hand is relatively similar to other trick taking games :
•The player who begins the trick can play any card of his choice
•One must follow suit if one can
•If a player cannot follow suit, that player must, if possible, play a trump.
If a trump is played, other players must play a higher trump. They can only play a lower trump if they have no higher trumps.
•If one can't follow suit and if someone has already played a trump, one must always play a trump even if they have only smaller trumps.
•If and only if a player is both unable to follow suit and has no trumps, one can discard any card
The winner of the trick starts the next one. The winner of the trick is the player who played the highest trump card, or, if there is no trump, the highest card of the initial suit. The king is the strongest card, the ace the weakest, and the knight goes between the queen and the jack.
The fool acts as a joker and can be played at any time. It can never win a trick.
The fool is always scored to the one who played regardless of when it is played and who wins the trick. The only exception to this rule is if it is played in the last trick, in which case it is lost and taken by the winner of the trick.
If one begins with the fool, the suit is determined by the second card played.
The game focuses on three particular cards called oudlers. They are the 21 of trumps, the 1 of trumps and the fool. These are valuable cardes in and of themselves, but they also decrease the number of points needed for the attacker to meet a contract. The ootilers must belong to the attacker in order for this decrease to occur. Because the fool and the 21 of trumps cannot be taken from the attacker, only the 1 of trumps, or the little 1, is vulnerable. This means that the game tends to revolve around control of this card. The attacker will want to keep this card safe, or alternatively take it from another player. The defenders will want the opposite.
Scoring is quite complex in tarot. There are two primary forms of points in the game. There are game points, which are the total points won or lost at the end of each round. These make up the scores in the game, and are how one ultimately win's the game of French Tarot. There are additionally card points, which are used to calculate whether or not an attacker has met their contract. Contracts determine game points won or lost.
A complete tarot deck contains 91 points, as follows :
•Oudlers (21 of trump, 1 of trump and fool) : 4½ points
•Kings: 4½ points
•Queens: 3½ points
•Knights: 2½ points
•Jacks: 1½ points
•All other cards: ½ point
In order to meet a contract, the attacker must earn a total of card points equal to the number of ootilers they possess. These amounts are as follows:
•With all three oudlers: 36 points
•With two oudlers: 41 points
•With a single oudler: 51 points
•With no oudlers: 56 points
Points are counted precisely and not rounded. So if the declarer makes 35½ points with three oudlers, the contract is failed.
Each contract is worth 25 points. One then adds the difference between card points obtained and those strictly needed to meet the contract. For example, if the attacker had 3 ootilers, they would need 36 points to meet their contract. If they earned a total of 40 points in the round, this would result in 4 additional game points being added to the base contract value of 25, resulting in 29. This score is then multiplied by the factor of the contract chosen by the attacker. Finally, each defender wins or loses this amount of points while the attacker wins or loses this amount times the number of defenders. If the attacker succeeded, he or she wins points while defenders lose, and if the attacker failed, he or she lose points while the defenders win. The final result of all points won or lost must, in the end, sum 0.
The multiplier factors depend on the contract played :
•Little: factor 1
•Push: factor 1.5
•Guard: factor 2
•Guard without the kitty: factor 4
•Guard against the kitty: factor 6
The little one brought to the end
If the 1 of trumps is played in the last trick, there is a set of bonus points. When this happens, each player gives 10 points to the winner of the trick. This player is said to « have brought the little one to the end ». The bonus is therefore 20 points with 3 players, 30 points with 4, 40 points with 5 and 50 with 6.
The bonus is not multiplied by the contract multiplier.
Handles or poignées
If a player has a large number of trumps in their hand, they can announce a handle, also called a poignée. There are 3 types of handle, a single, double and triple. These correspond to 10, 13 and 15 trumps in the hand when playing with 4 players. Once the player declares a handle, that player must then show that number of trumps to the rest of the players. So for a single handle, for example, the player would show 10 trumps. The highest and the lowest trumps owned must be shown, however if the player has more trumps than the handle requires be shown, they can choose which trumps are shown. The fool can count as a trump.
If the declarer of the handle wins the hand, each player gives him or her 20, 30 or 40 bonus points, depending on whether it was a single, double or triple. However, if the declarer loses, they will forfeit 20, 30 or 40 points to each player.
If the game has any other number of players than 4, the number of cards each handle corresponds to changes. The changes are as follows:
•3 players: 13, 15 and 18 trumps respectively for single, double and triple handle
•5 players: 8, 10, 13
•6 players: 7, 9, 11
Call for the king
When playing with 5 players, the attacker no longer has to meet their contract alone. After dealing but before revealing the kitty's contents, the attacker can choose a king to call. The player owning this king will play on the attacker's side, however the identity of this player is not shown until they have played the "called king." At This means that the attacker will not know who is called.
If the called king is in the kitty or in the attacker's hand, then the attacker plays alone against his four opponents as usual. This can be a strategy to create confusion amongst the defenders. If the attacker has all 4 kings, they can call a queen or any other card except trump cards or the fool instead. It is forbidden to start the first trick with the called suit, unless the opening card is the called card.
When there are 2 attackers, points won by the offensive team are shared two thirds for the taker, one third for the called Player. If the taker is alone, the base score of the contract is multiplied by 4 instead of by 3.
Call for the lady
Similarly to when calling for a king, when playing with 6 players, the attacker can also call a queen as well as a king. Again, the attacker can call cards they own, amd again, if the attacker possesses all 4 queens, they can call for any other card, excepting trumps and the fool. The attacker cannot, however, call another king. Again, the first trick cannot be started with either of the two suits called.
Depending on who the two called cards belong to, or if one or the two cards are in the kitty, one may play three against three, two against four, or one alone against five.
When the attacker is alone, the base score of the contract is multiplied by 5 instead of 3. If there are two attackers, won or lost points are shared 1/6-5/6, 2/3-1/3 or 1/4-3/4 depending on called cards. If there are three, the attacker gets half of the points, the first person called one third, and the second called person one sixth.
Keyboard shortcuts summary
•C: view cards currently on the table
•F: announce the current suit
•P: pass, don't take any contract
•Space: bet, take a contract
•Shift+P: announce a handle
•S: announce score
•T: announce who is playing