FrenchTarotDeck A Comprehensive Guide to Tarot Board Game Rules

A Comprehensive Guide to Tarot Board Game Rules

Tarot board game is a game that combines elements of tarot card reading and strategic gameplay. Players take on the roles of fortune tellers and compete to predict the fate of different characters using tarot cards. The game involves drawing and interpreting tarot cards to reveal the destinies of the characters. Players earn points by accurately predicting outcomes and fulfilling certain conditions. Additionally, players can strategically use special abilities and interact with other players to influence the outcomes.

What are Tarot Board Games?

Tarot card games are a family of trick taking games played with tarot decks, which are decks with numbered permanent parallel to the playing field. These games originated in Italy and spread to most parts of Europe, with the exception of the British Isles, the Iberian peninsula, and the Balkans. The rules of these games first appeared in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona written before 1425 and are known in many variations, mostly cultural and regional. Decks used for tarot games typically have four ordinary suits and one additional longer suit of tarots, which are always trumps. They are characterized by the rule that a player who cannot follow to a trick with a card of the suit led plays a trump if possible.

Understanding the Basics

Tarot board games are popular card games with uncertain origins. While some argue that it may have been brought to Europe from China via Marco Polo, others suggest an Egyptian or Israeli origin. Today, the most popular variant of Tarot is for four players, though three-player games are also possible. The 78-card deck is made up of 22 trumps, numbered from one to 21, as well as an unbeatable card called the Excuse. The goal of the game is to accumulate more points in a chosen number of rounds than opponents. Each round, a player is the declarer and plays against the other three defenders. The Tarot deck is larger than most standard decks and the trumps, with numbers 1, 21, and the Excuse, are the most important cards.

Despite the association of Tarot cards with fortune-telling, they were originally intended for playing card games. The familiar Tarot deck is a work of art based on symbols representing different faiths but holds no supernatural powers. Tarot board games are played with 78 cards, with the Major Arcana always serving as the trumps. Before gameplay starts, each player declares their melds. The program assumes that the dealer picks up the left-over six cards called the widow. The game is then played counter-clockwise with the second hand leading. The highest card of the suit leads takes the trick, unless trumped. The Fool is used as a wild card and cannot win a trick, but can be played in place of following suit or trumping. The game continues until a player scores 100 points.

Exploring Tarot Card Mechanics

sddefault A Comprehensive Guide to Tarot Board Game Rules

Tarot cards have been popularly used for fortune-telling and predicting the future. However, they also have an interesting application in board game mechanics. Here are some points to consider when using a deck of tarot cards in a board game:

  • Each tarot card is unique – unlike standard decks of playing cards, there are no two identical tarot cards. This creates a sense of unpredictability and adds to the game’s excitement.
  • Calling a card before drawing – players can add another level of strategy by calling a specific card or suit before drawing. This adds a new dimension to the game’s strategy and keeps players on their toes.
  • Drawing multiple cards – unlike traditional card games, tarot card games can allow players to draw multiple cards at once. This can add a sense of risk and reward, as the chances of getting the desired card increase but the penalties for not getting it also become steeper.
  • Background of the character – the number of cards a player can hold at one time can be dependent on the character’s background or special abilities. This creates a unique challenge for each character and makes each game unpredictable.

The Minor Arcana: Suits and Gameplay Elements

The Arcana in tarot consists of four suits, each with its own court cards and imbued with its own element. These suits are related to a deck of playing cards and represent the mundane aspects of day-to-day life. The suits are Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles, and each tells its own story tied to the element of the suit. Cups represent emotions and feelings with the element of water. Wands are associated with fire, passion, and drive. Pentacles deal with earth, money, and the physical world. The suit of Swords represents communication, conflict, and the element of air.

In tarot gameplay, each suit also has its own specific meaning for gameplay purposes. When Cups come up, players can reverse their effects or choose to play twice. Wands give players an extra turn or the ability to switch positions with another player. Swords allow players to eliminate their opponents’ cards or redraw them. Pentacles give players more points or the ability to draw more cards. By understanding the meaning behind each suit and numerological meaning, players can make informed decisions during gameplay and gain a deeper understanding of the tarot.

Gameplay Mechanics and Actions of Tarot Board Game

The Tarot board game combines the art of tarot card reading with strategic gameplay mechanics. Here are the key gameplay mechanics and actions involved:

  • Card Drawing: Players draw tarot cards from the deck, which represents the destiny of the characters in the game.
  • Character Fate Prediction: Players use the drawn tarot cards to predict the fate of different characters. They interpret the symbolism and meaning of the cards to make predictions about their outcomes.
  • Fortune Points: Players earn fortune points by accurately predicting the fate of the characters. The more accurate the prediction, the more fortune points they accumulate.
  • Special Abilities: Players may have special abilities associated with their fortune teller character. These abilities can impact their predictions, alter card draws, or provide unique advantages during the game.
  • Interactions and Negotiations: Players can interact and negotiate with each other, making deals or exchanging information to influence the outcomes of character fates.
  • Strategy and Deduction: Players strategically analyze the tarot cards, gather information, and deduce the potential outcomes of the characters. They must make calculated decisions to maximize their chances of earning fortune points.
  • Game Objectives: The game may have specific objectives or conditions that players need to fulfill to achieve victory. These objectives could be based on the accuracy of predictions, the accumulation of fortune points, or other game-specific goals.

Tips for Tarot Board Game Mastery

To master the Tarot board game, here are some valuable tips:

  • Study Tarot Card Meanings: Familiarize yourself with the meanings and symbolism behind the tarot cards. Understanding the cards’ interpretations will enhance your ability to predict character fates accurately.
  • Analyze Card Combinations: Pay attention to the combinations of cards that appear in the game. Certain card pairings or sequences may offer clues about character destinies. Look for patterns and connections between the cards to make more informed predictions.
  • Observe Opponents’ Reactions: Watch your opponents’ reactions when they draw and interpret cards. Their facial expressions and body language might reveal valuable hints about the outcomes they expect. Use this information to adapt your own strategy and gain a competitive edge.
  • Strategic Card Play: Make deliberate choices when playing your own tarot cards. Consider how your predictions will impact the game and the fortune points you can earn. Play your cards strategically to maximize your accuracy and increase your chances of victory.
  • Communicate and Negotiate: Use your social skills to engage in negotiations with other players. Share information, make alliances, and try to influence their predictions. Cooperative or competitive agreements can shape the course of the game and provide you with advantages.
  • Adapt to Changing Game Conditions: Be flexible in your approach. The game may introduce unexpected events or challenges that require you to adjust your strategy. Stay adaptable and make the most of the resources and opportunities available to you.
  • Practice Intuition and Trust Your Instincts: Tarot is often associated with intuition. Trust your gut feelings and inner voice when interpreting the cards and making predictions. Developing your intuition can improve your accuracy over time.


In conclusion, board games provide a wonderful opportunity for entertainment, strategy, and social interaction. Whether it’s the wordplay of Scrabble, the mystical predictions of the Tarot board game, or the quest-filled adventures of games like Griffin and Gargoyles, each game offers a unique experience and challenges players to think critically, make strategic decisions, and engage with others.