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Jose's Page on Games with the Spanish Pack in Puerto Rico!

 


 

Please, don't forget to sign my Guestbook! and thanks for the visit.

 

This page is dedicated to my Father José Manuel Sr. who taught us the Alcalde game many many years ago...

 

This page was created on July 19, 1997

This page was last updated on September 4, 2010

 

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The Spanish Pack

This game is played with a 40 cards Spanish Pack , "Las Barajas Españolas" (or "Naipes Españoles") which consists of 10 cards in each of the following suits: Swords ("Espadas"), Coins ("Oros"), Batons ("Bastos") and Cups ("Copas"). In each suit the rank is 1 (high), 3, 12, 11, 10, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 (low). There are no eights or nines in this Spanish Deck. The point value for the cards in each suit is as follows: the 1, or Ace ("el As" or "el Uno" ) is worth 11 points; the 3 is 10 points; the 12, or King ("el Rey") is 4 points; the 11, or Horse ("el Caballo") is 3 points; and the 10, or Valet ("la Sota") is 2 points. Other cards don't score any points. The highest score possible in a single game is 120 points, and draws of 60 points are possible.

Alternatively, a Spanish deck can be made from the modern 52-card pack by discarding all eights, nines and tens. Then seven is in sequence with the jack, and in each suit the rank is A (high), 3, K, Q, J, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 (low).

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Briscas

Players: Two or three play each by themselves. Four, two against two as partners, facing each other.

The Deal: Dealer gives each player three cards, one at a time in order to his right (counter-clockwise), instead of to the left as in most other games. In the three-player version, a four (of any suit) is removed from the pack, thus playing with only 39 cards.

Stock and Trump Suit: The undealt remainder of the pack is placed face down in the center of the table, forming the stock. Its top card is turned face up and placed partially underneath the stock. This card fixes the trump suit ("la Vida" or "el Palo del Triunfo" ).

The Play: The object is to get the highest score by wining the most point scoring tricks (tricks where there are "Briscas" (1s or 3s) or, 12s, 11s and 10s). Each trick consists of a card led by one player plus a card played by each other player in turn. The player at the dealer's right makes the first lead, and thereafter the winner of each trick leads to the next. Players may lead and play cards of any suit, as they are not required to follow suit ("asistir"). A trick is won by the highest card played of the suit led, or if it contains a trump ("una Vida" or "un Palo del Triunfo" ), by the highest trump it contains.

The Draw: At the end of each trick, and before the start of the next trick, the winner of each trick draws a card from the top of the stock, and the other players follow in order to his right (counter-clockwise). For the last drawing round, the last player to draw will draw the trump suit card.

The Win: When all tricks have been played (20 tricks in 2-player games, 13 in 3-player, and 10 in 4-player) each player or team scores the points in his/their won tricks. Player or team with highest score wins the game, and draws are possible.

Exchanging the trump suit card rule: The use of this rule is optional and is generally agreed between the players before play starts.

When the trump suit card is a 10 or better (11, 12, 1 or 3) , it can be exchanged by the 7 of the same suit by any player holding it, and before the very first hand is played, it can be exchanged by the 2 of the same suit by any player holding it. Before the first hand is played, exchanging the trump suit card with the 2 has precedence over exchanging it with the 7.

When the trump suit card is a 7 or less (4, 5 or 6), it can be exchanged with the 2 of the same suit at any time.

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Alcalde

Players: Three players, one playing by himself , the Alcalde (Mayor), and the other two playing as partners, facing the Alcalde, and if they wish, they can see each other's cards. In each game their object is to defeat the Alcalde. Each time the Alcalde wins, he deals and plays the Alcalde again in the next game. When the Alcalde loses, the player to his right becomes the Alcalde for the next game. In the very first game, the player to play the Alcalde is chosen at random.

The Deal: The Alcalde gives each of his opponents three cards, and six to himself, one at a time in order to his right (counter-clockwise), and two at a time to himself.

Stock and Trump Suit: Like in Briscas, the undealt remainder of the pack is placed face down in the center of the table, forming the stock. Its top card is turned face up and placed partially underneath the stock. This card fixes the trump suip.

The Play: The object is to get the highest score by wining the most point scoring tricks (tricks where there are "Briscas" (1s or 3s) or, 12s, 11s and 10s). Each trick consists of a card led by one player plus a card played by each other player in turn, except that in each of the Alcalde's turns, he will play two cards. The player at the Alcalde's right makes the first lead, and thereafter the winner of each trick leads to the next. Players may lead and play cards of any suit, as they are not required to follow suit ("asistir"). A trick is won by the highest card played of the suit led, or if it contains a trump, by the highest trump it contains.

The Draw: Like in Briscas, except that each time the Alcalde draws, he draws 2 cards.

The Win: When all tricks have been played (10 in all) the Alcalde and his oponents score the points in his/their won tricks. If the Alcalde wins or draws, he plays the Alcalde again in the next game, and if he loses, the player to his right plays the Alcalde in the next game.

Exchanging the trump suit card rule: Like in Briscas.

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Alcalde Variation

Players: Three players, one playing by himself , the Alcalde (Mayor), and the other two playing as partners to depose the Alcalde. In this variation the Alcalde's oponents do not see each other's cards. In each game their object is to defeat the Alcalde. Each time the Alcalde wins, he deals and plays the Alcalde again in the next game. When the Alcalde loses, the player to his right becomes the Alcalde for the next game. In the very first game, the player to play the Alcalde is chosen at random.

The Deal: The Alcalde gives each of his opponents three cards, and four to himself, one at a time in order to his right (counter-clockwise), and an extra card to himself to make it four cards.

Stock and Trump Suit: Like in Briscas, the undealt remainder of the pack is placed face down in the center of the table, forming the stock. Its top card is turned face up and placed partially underneath the stock. This card fixes the trump suip.

The Play: The object is to get the highest score by wining the most point scoring tricks (tricks where there are "Briscas" (1s or 3s) or, 12s, 11s and 10s). Each trick consists of a card led by one player plus a card played by each other player in turn. The player at the Alcalde's right makes the first lead, and thereafter the winner of each trick leads to the next. Players may lead and play cards of any suit, as they are not required to follow suit ("arrastrar"). A trick is won by the highest card played of the suit led, or if it contains a trump, by the highest trump it contains. After the last trick is played, the Alcalde will have one card left over which he will keep and add to his tricks won. Naturally, the Alcalde tries to save himself an ace or a three for his "automatic trick".

The Draw: Like in Briscas. At the end of each trick, and before the start of the next trick, the winner of each trick draws a card from the top of the stock, and the other players follow in order to his right (counter-clockwise). For the last drawing round, the last player to draw will draw the trump suit card.

The Win: When all tricks have been played (13 in all) the Alcalde and his oponents score the points in his/their won tricks. If the Alcalde scores 31 points or more he wins, and he plays the Alcalde again in the next game. If he loses, the player to his right plays the Alcalde in the next game.

Exchanging the trump suit card rule: Like in Briscas.

Credits: I want to thank Carlos García for providing this variation of Alcalde which he and his sister learned from their nanny Lolin in Saturce in the late 1960's.

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Spanish Game Terms:

"Las Barajas Españolas" (or "Naipes Españoles"): Spanish Pack or Spanish Deck

"Espadas" Spades

"Oros" Gold Coins

"Bastos" Batons or Clubs

"Copas" Cups

"el As" or "el Uno" the 1 card or Ace

"el Rey" King (the number 12 card)

"el Caballo" Horse (the number 11 card)

"la Sota" the Valet or Jack (the number 10 card)

"la Vida" or "el Palo del Triunfo" the trump suit

"palos" suits (i.e. Espadas, Oros, Bastos, Copas)

"bazas" tricks

"mano" the player who leads to a trick

"postre" the player who plays last to a trick

"baceta" stock (of cards)

"asistir" to follow suit

"montar" to play a higher card (of the same suit) than the suit lead in a trick

"fallar" to play a trump suit card on a trick lead by a non-trump suit card

"pisar" to play a higher trump suit card than the highest trump suit card already played on a trick

"contrafallar" to play any card that won't do any of the following: "asistir", "montar", "fallar" or "pisar"

"arrastrar" to lead a trick with a card that will force (in some games) the other players to follow suit. (i.e. Tute: players are forced to follow the trump suit. When a player leads with the trump suit, he is "arrastrando")

"¡arrastro en bastos!" a player leads clubs (the trump suit) and the remaining players must follow suit (i.e. in Tute)

"Capote" the situation in some games (i.e. Tute) where a player wins all the final (remaining) tricks after the stock is exausted, and therefore wins the game (regardless of the points scored). After the stock is exausted, a player may calls for "Capote". He is indicating his intention to win the game by winning all the final remaining tricks. If he wins ALL the remaining tricks, he wins the game (regardless of the points scored). If he doesn't he automatically loses.

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If you know of any other games played with the Spanish Deck, I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email with the details. Don't forget to sign my Guestbook! (if you haven't done so yet). Thanks for the visit.

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