La Scopa is a game originating in Italy and Spain, which is traditionally played with Italian or Spanish cards. In Spain, it is called escoba, and it is also very well known in North African countries where it has many other names.
In the playroom, the standard French cards have been kept for convenience.
La Scopa is played with 2 to 6 players, with a deck of 52 cards from which the figures are removed. Hence there are 40 cards ranging from ace to 10.
At the beginning of the game, the dealer places four cards face up on the table, then deals three cards to each player.
When no one has any cards left in their hand, the dealer deals three cards again to everyone, until the deck is exhausted.
Since the deck initially has 36 cards, there are 6 deals of three cards for two players, 4 for three players, 3 for 4 players, and 2 for 5 and 6 players. With 5 players, 5 cards are initially on the table instead of 4 and the last deal is 4 instead of 3 cards.
Players take turns starting after the dealer. When it's your turn to play, choose a card to play, then:
- If a card of the same value as the one you are playing is on the table, or if you can form a sum of cards equal to the card you are playing, then you may pick up those cards. The cards picked up this way are no longer playable but will contribute to your score (see below).
- If there is neither a card of the same value nor a sum of cards of the same value as the one you are playing, then you simply put that card face up on the table.
Note: In this game, the ace is always worth 1 point and is therefore the lowest card.
When all the cards have been played, the points are counted:
- The one who has picked up the most cards wins a point
- The one who has picked up the most diamonds wins a point
- The one who has picked up the most 7s wins a point
- The one who has picked up the 7 of diamonds wins a point
The central card of the game is therefore the 7 of diamonds, because not only does it give a point on its own, but it also contributes to earning points in the other three categories. The secondary objective is to collect as many cards as possible, especially diamonds.
If there is a draw in a category, for example two players each have two 7s, then no one wins a point for that category.
When playing around a real table, games are usually played to 11, 16 or 21 points. In addition, the winner or winners are only declared if they are at least two points ahead of their opponents. The game continues as long as they only lead by one point or there is a draw, much like tennis.
If a player manages to collect all the cards left on the table at once, he is said to have made a scopa and immediately wins a bonus point. The player following the one who made a scopa obviously has no choice but to put a card since there are none left to collect.
Options and variants
In this variant, in order to pick up cards on the table, they must make a total of 15 together with the card that you play, instead of their sum being equal. For example, by playing a 6, you can pick up a 9, or a 4 and a 5.
The other rules do not change. This variant allows a little more strategy than the classic game.
In this variant, no cards are placed on the table at the beginning of the game, and the dealing of cards is different:
- With 2 players: twice 10 cards
- With 3 players: 13 cards, and the last card not dealt is discarded
- With 4 players: 10 cards
- With 5 players: 8 cards
- With 6 players: 6 cards, and the last 4 cards not dealt are discarded
Some believe that this variant is much more strategic than the classic version. Note that the scopone and escoba variants can be combined.
Inverted or muerto
In this mode, all the points you get are in fact given to the other players. So the idea is to avoid as much as possible to make a scopa, to pick up diamonds or simply any card.
This variant has been suggested on the forum and you would be surprised to see how much the game becomes radically different compared to the regular one!
This mode can be combined with others. It works best when scopone escoba is also activated.
Manual trick selection
In this mode, the computer no longer automatically chooses for you which cards to pick up from the table. You can decide yourself what cards to collect, and in particular you have the possibility, or the risk, of making a mistake.
If you notice that one of your opponents has made a mistake, you can catch them by pressing space. You must do this before the next round is over. Catching a player earns you 2 points, but be careful, if you pretend there is a mistake when there isn't, you risk losing a point yourself.
- Enter: play a card or start the game
- c: announce cards currently on the table
- 1 to 9: Announce cards on the table one by one
- s: announce scores
- t: announce whose turn it is
- Space: catch a player who has made a mistake