Briscola Chiamata – Card Games That Don’t Suck

QUINNS: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of ‘Card Games That Don’t Suck’
in which I am joined by Matthew Lees
which is why I have to wear the shirt.
MATT: Yeah. Legally obligated
He’s got some wonderful decks of cards
and they’re very very attractive
and he gets a different deck of cards out for each of these videos
If you haven’t seen them, we’ve got a whole bunch on YouTube
but obviously now as well
I’ve added to the aesthetic joy of this series
by giving him this official ‘Card Games that Do Not Suck’ shirt
available at TK Maxx.
QUINNS: You squeezed my shoulder there
in a way that was slightly uncomfortable.
MATT: Oh, I’m sorry.
QUINNS: No, I mean it’s it’s fine. It’s just, you know, just letting you know
in case you wanted to do that to someone else… ever
Let’s move on!
Today I’m going to be teaching you a five player only game.
Now that might sound annoying, but
as the rules on informed me
you can play with six
but one person just has to sit out each round
That’s not a six player game, pagat!
MATT: Just one person doesn’t get to play?
QUINNS: Yeah! So, okay
Briscola Chiamata might sound like a bit of a boring name.
But what if I told you some alternate names for this were:
Briscola Pazza, which translates as ‘Crazy Briscola’
Briscola Assassina! Assassin Briscola.
Or Briscola Bastada
which I was not able to find a translation for
MATT: There’s also Briscola Panic: Back in the Habit
QUINNS: So. Here’s what we gonna be doing.
This is a game. It’s a variant on briscola
That is played with an Italian forty card deck.
No one expects you to buy one of those
I certainly don’t
but to replicate that at home then all you’re going to do
is take out the sevens eights and nines of each suit
and the two jokers
MATT: And then you end up with… a 40 card deck?
QUINNS: 40 cards. A slim 40 card deck.
MATT: Of course the reason for this is because in Italy
the numbers eight, nine and seven don’t exist.
QUINNS: That’s true.
So, with this deck
We’re going to be dealing the whole thing out to five players
MATT: And you were telling me there’s a variant of this game that actually involves
a hidden traitor?
QUINNS: Oh yes! I should have said.
So. The reason this game is cool
Is this the only card game I’ve been able to find
that has hidden secret roles
I’ve completely forgotten which pile this is going to…
Let’s do a star wipe and I’ll fix my mistake!
So once you’ve dealt out eight cards to everybody which will be the whole deck
Everyone can pick up their cards and you are going to play a trick taking game.
Now, I know what you’re thinking!
“Quinns, you just did a trick-taking game in Episode three!”
Were you thinking that?
Well Matthew, there’s going to be even more trick taking
Lots of card games that don’t suck are just trick-taking games.
so this isn’t the first and it’s not going to be the last
MATT: and it’s not going to be my everything
This is a trick-taking game that actually starts with an auction
So going from the dealer counterclockwise
which, by the way, again according to
all play in this, rather than going clockwise,
which is, you know, how all games work,
everything goes counterclockwise.
Why? Absolutely no reason!
you can ignore this rule if you want.
Card games are really annoying.
MATT: Again, it’s because, in Italy
clocks don’t exist.
QUINNS: So, Matt would start the bidding and Matt’s gonna say a suit
so Matt might say the suit – sorry, rank – Matt might say the rank of ACE
Okay, now I’m gonna go through the order of things
because aces are highest and then the number 10 and then
king queen jack six five four three two
MATT: Is this game a fever dream?
QUINNS: So many card games basically are.
But no, so it’s simple. It’s aces high then all the things are in normal order
except for ten which is between the ace and the king.
So Matt, you might say ‘ace’
and then this player – player number two -might pass
at which point they’re out of the auction
Player number three might say ‘ten’.
So basically a high bid in this is actually low
So you said ‘ace’ which is the highest card. That gives you a pretty low bid
this player says ‘ten’.
This player says ‘queen’
I pass.
You might say, like, ‘five’, which is pretty low
Yeah, five. Okay.
These two players drop out
which means you have the winning bid of five, okay?
Now what might happen in your game once players know Briscola Chiamata
bidding actually gets down to the lowest possible rank
all the way down to the two.
So if someone bids two
it is actually possible to bid something even more extravagant
instead you bid two and then you say a number between 60 and 120
because, as we’ll get to later,
that’s how many points your team needs to win.
So once someone bids two, the next bid can be
two and then… 62 points or 63 points
so you’re starting with that bid of two
but then you’re increasing the number of points that your team needs to win.
In winning the auction you get to say what is the trump suit.
I’ll explain what trump suits are in a bit.
So basically you’ll look at your hand. You might see… let me peek…
MATT: I’ll go for a spade please Bob.
QUINNS: Yep, you’ve got a lot of spades.
So Matt will declare spades as the trump suit
He doesn’t put a card down. We all just have to remember spades are trumps.
But – now this is the cool bit
So this is now… Matt, in winning the auction
all the other players are against Matt
except for the person… because remember his winning bid was 5
the person who holds the 5 of spades
is secretly on Matt’s team as well
and that player must say nothing.
So actually, just as it happens
He didn’t know this.
I’ve got the 5 of spades! Look!
So, if we were playing a full five-player game,
Matt would say spades at which point I see I’ve got the five of spades
and I go ‘ooh okay’
because I’m secretly on Matt’s team.
MATT: So then we’re secret buddies?
QUINNS: Yes, but here’s the crazy bit
You don’t know which other player is on your team
which is already a really fun social dynamic
MATT: Aaah!!
QUINNS: Once Matt has declared the bid or you know, whoever wins the auction,
you might not have a Matt in your game, that’s fine
So actually it’s the player to the dealer’s right who leads the first trick
who’s the same person who starts the auction
However, in our case Matt won the auction and is the person to the dealer’s right.
So you would just start the trick anyway
MATT: Yeah, okay, perfect.
QUINNS: So now if you’ve not played a trick-taking game before
this is a very simple version of that
What happens is Matt will play any card from his hand into the middle of the table
Right. Two of spades.
MATT: It’s a trump! It’s probably not a good move on my part, but I’m feeling feisty.
QUINNS: Okay. So now all the other players must play one card into the trick as well.
Now this is a useful example because Matt played a trump
basically in order to beat Matthew
and to claim… well to beat everybody really… and to claim this pile of cards
you have to play a spade, in this case, that is higher than Matt’s.
But unlike a lot of trick taking games
you can play absolutely anything
In some trick-taking games, if you’ve played one before, you might have to play the same suit as Matt if you can
in other trick-taking games you might have to play a card that beats Matthew if you can
In Briscola Chiamata you can play whatever
So this player can play a ten of diamonds
Which means they will not be able to beat Matthew
because Matthew played a spade
and spade is the trump suit
So basically the way this works is everyone then plays a card of their choice into the pile
You will end up with five cards and then the person who wins
First off is, if anyone played the trump suit – which in this case, we’ve got a two of spades and a five of spades
whoever played the higher trump suit would take the trick
If nobody played a trump suit then the person who wins is the person who played the highest card of
the suit that the person leading the trick started with
So let’s say Matt started the trick with a ten of diamonds
and then the trump suit was hearts
and this is what we ended up with.
There’s no heart. So there’s no trump
MATT: So this means diamond boy takes it home!
QUINNS: Which means diamond boy takes it home
because Matt played the highest card that was diamond.
MATT: And what was everyone else playing at? No one knows.
That’s trick-taking, baby! Choo-choo!
QUINNS: So, Matt will then take all of these cards
and then you would do this eight times
the person who wins the trick then leads the next trick
MATT: My little trick will just live here, right?
QUINNS: It does. However…
However, what you’re trying to do here is collect points.
So again, this is where some cool text comes up on the screen
In Briscola Chiamata… so these cards you’re collecting, right
In lots of trick taking games what matters is the numbers of tricks you win
In Briscola Chiamata it’s the cards that you have won.
So look! You’ve got a three, a two, and a five. They’re worthless.
Okay, the only cards that are worth anything in this game
Aces are worth 11 points. That’s the most.
Tens are worth 10 points
Kings are 4. Queens are 3. Jacks are 2.
Everything else is completely worthless.
So you’ve got a ten there which is worth 10 points.
A queen there which is worth 3 points
for a total of 13 points for this trick.
MATT: I’ll take it.
QUINNS: It’s pretty good!
Now in the whole deck there are 120 points
which means the winning team
– because remember it’s Matt and a secret player versus three other players –
is whoever gets more than 60 points
Okay? Because the deck contains 120 points.
But what ends up actually happening is
this really interesting dynamic where
let’s say, you know, we know we’re all fighting Matt
but then I end up winning a trick and I get all these cards
Then everyone else around the table is like “YEAH!”
MATT: And then…
QUINNS: …and then they’re like, “but what if Quinns is working with Matt?”
So this is a really important rule in Briscola Chiamata
Teams cannot… First off, you cannot share information about what cards you have
You can’t conspire with your team and be like “just play a low card because I’m gonna play a really high trump”
That is completely illegal.
You also… It’s not a deduction game
It’s a game where you can deduce but you kind of want to keep it to yourself
We found this really quite natural when we started playing
It was a lot of kind of joking. A lot of “Ooh, that’s suspicious” a lot of questioning
But it’s not a game where you have to truly calculate
It’s more just try and play it in a light-hearted fashion, which we found very easy to do
Also, here’s the thing:
Matt, in our example called 5
His bid was 5 and the trump suit was spades
which means I, as the holder of the 5 of spades, am his secret teammate.
there will always be a point in Briscola Chiamata
where a player on the table plays the card that marks them as the particular ally.
MATT: Aaah!
QUINNS: And it is a trump as well so it’s a question of when are you gonna play that card
and reveal yourself!
See! Isn’t that quite interesting?
MATT: It’s very interesting. Honestly, it’s very interesting.
QUINNS: I find it super super school – er, super cool.
QUINNS: Ahhhh…. I’ve just aged 10 years
So once you finish a round of Briscola Chiamata
and you’ve played eight tricks and you’ve divided up the points to see who won
That can just be a game and you can pack it all up and play again
or you can work out scoring
I’m not gonna teach scoring in this video because,
like most games that can be used for gambling, scoring is…
I’m not going to say over-complicated but as complicated as it needs to be
Because it’s got stuff like “oh well if the two players win all the tricks then they score double points”
and all this fun stuff. There is going to be a link in the description of this video
Where you will be able to read the scoring rules yourself.
Also, I’m gonna point out something really cool here
That’s only gonna be relevant in games where you are
keeping track of score, but here’s the thing
Imagine, Matthew, that you won that bid with a 5 and you said spades
but look! You chose to do that
but you’re the one holding the 5 of spades!
If you do that, of course, your secret ally is yourself
and what that means is all the other players will be discussing
“well who’s… who’s, you know, working secretly”
MATT: Do you get double points?
MATT: *Gasp!* I knew it!
QUINNS: So it’s a two versus three game
But the person who wins the auction can engineer it to be
a one versus four game but only they know it
At which point, if they do win, then a) they get loads of points
and b) they feel so cool
So that’s Briscola Chiamata.
I did all the translations earlier. I didn’t say what Chiamata translates as
It’s like ‘bidding briscola’
That’s not a very interesting way to end this video.
MATT: What does briscola mean?
QUINNS: Oh, briscola translates, according to my research, as…
so… I think it’s just a name
But isn’t this game exciting?
MATT: It’s quite exciting!
QUINNS: It’s quite… I mean you haven’t played this with us, but, my goodness,
we had a really great time
MATT: I can tell it’s exciting because you became serious during the video and started calling me Matthew
which is something no-one other than my mother does.
QUINNS: You know it’s because I’m wearing this shirt.
MATT: It’s because you’ve got the serious business shirt.
QUINNS: It’s because I’m just feeling very formal.
MATT: Very formal. Yes, of course.
You look like you’re off on your way to the James Bond ball
QUINNS: If you’ll excuse me, I’m now going to put a hundred pounds on red.
Thank you very much everybody
This has been another Card Game that Doesn’t Suck.
I’ll be back in another couple of weeks after I’ve lost all of my money at the casino


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