Scopa is an Italian game.
Its basic principles are fairly simple, but playing it well requires skill and a good memory.
Scopa is played by 2 players.
An Italian 40 card pack is used, often the Neapolitan pattern with the Latin suits: swords (spade), clubs (bastoni), cups (coppe) and coins (danari). The cards in each suit are Re (Italian for King), Cavallo (Italian for Horse, but equivalent to Queen in the French suite), Fante (Soldier, Jack in the French suite), 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.
The cards have point values for capturing, and a separate set of point values that are only used in scoring the Prime:
Card Capture value Value in Prime Re (King) 10 10 Cavallo (Queen) 9 10 Fante (Jack) 8 10 Seven 7 21 Six 6 18 Five 5 15 Four 4 14 Three 3 13 Two 2 12 Ace 1 16
The first dealer is choosen randomly. The dealer shuffles and the dealer's opponent cuts.
Dealer gives a packet of three cards face down to his opponent, then another packet of three to himself, and finally four cards face up to the centre of the table.
If three or all four of the table cards are kings, the cards are thrown in and there is a new deal by the same dealer.
The dealer's opponent plays first, and the turn pass to dealer and back again until all the three cards have been played. When this happens, other two packets of three cards are dealed like in first round, but no cards are added on the table.
A turn in the play consists of playing one card face up to the table, which may capture one or more table cards. In the event of a capture, both the played card and the captured card(s) are taken and stored face down in front of one of the player who made the capture. If there is no capture the played card remains face up on the table. In either case the turn then passes to the other player.
The capturing rules are as follows:
Important points to note:
Example. The table contains 3, 5, 5, Fante. Playing a 5 captures one of the 5s from the table at the player's choice. Playing a Re (king) captures both 5s. Playing a Fante (jack) captures the one on the table - the player is not allowed to take the 5 and the 3 instead.
After all the cards from the players hands have been played, the last player who made a capture also takes any face up cards remaining on the table.
There are four points available to be won on each deal:
It is worth knowing that the ranking of the cards for the prime is 7 (highest), 6, ace, 5, 4, 3, 2, pictures (lowest) - so if you are tied on sevens, it is worth trying to capture sixes, then aces, and so on.
In addition to the points mentioned above, you also win a point for each sweep (Italian scopa). You score a sweep when you play a card which captures the all table cards, leaving the table empty. Traditionally, the capturing card is placed face up in the trick-pile of the capturing side, so that the number of sweeps made by each side can easily be seen when the scoring is done at the end of the play.
Taking the last cards from the table at the end of a hand never counts as a sweep, even if the last card played by the dealer does actually capture all the remaining table cards.
The first player to have 11 or more points at the end of a hand wins. If both sides reach 11 in the same hand the side with more points wins. If both are equal, play further hands until one side has more points at the end of a hand.