A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack

The Game Of Triumphs

by Michael Dummett and John McLeod

This book in two volumes was published by Edwin Mellen Press in June 2004. It traces the history of Tarot games from the their invention in the XV century to the present day, and gives detailed rules for over 200 games. The games included are listed on pages S 68 to S 76 of the supplement, which can be downloaded from this page - see below.

Volume One covers games in which the Fool is used to excuse the player from following suit or playing a trump to the trick. Volume Two deals with the games played in Central Europe from the late XVIII century onward, in which the Fool became the highest trump, effectively the XXII.

The book can be ordered from amazon.com (volume 1 and volume 2) or from the publisher's web site (volume 1 and volume 2).

History of Tarot Supplement This web site tarotgame.org has been set up by the authors to publish updates to the book, including descriptions of addtional games. In April 2009 a supplement was published by Maproom Publications. This includes revisions, corrections and rules for 15 additional games, a consolidated index of games by number of players and type of cards and a revised contents list for the book with supplement. The supplement can be downloaded from this site as a PDF (free of charge).

Printed copies of the supplement only can be ordered here for GBP 5.00 including shipping.

Much work remains to be done in this field. Here is a review of the supplement by Thierry Depaulis, pointing out various errors, omissions and opportunities for further research.

Le Tarot RévéléFor a survey of the history of Tarot cards from their invention to the present day, the best reference is Le Tarot Révélé ('The Tarot Revealed') (Swiss Museum of Games, 2013) by Thierry Depaulis (French language with numerous illustrations). This can be obtained from the online shop of the Musée Français de la Carte à Jouer.

Franco Pratesi has published online several detailed papers on the early history of Tarot cards. They are available at trionfi.com and also (a larger selection) on his own website naibi.net.

John McLeod can be contacted by e-mail at john@pagat.com. He also runs the web site pagat.com, which provides information about numerous card games, including Tarot games.

This page copyright © John McLeod, 2014. Last updated 15th May 2014.