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Kevin Larkin
United States
Woodside
New York
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Punto by Avid Press actually comes with the rules for 2 games, Punto and Briscola, using the same deck of cards.

Both are simple trick-taking games, with a deck of 4 suits (Gold, Cups, Clubs and Swords) numbered 1-10.

Punto

Overview:
In Punto, players try to match cards displayed on the table with cards in their hands. The match is based on the card numbers- if you have a 7 in your hand, you pick up a 7 from the table, for example. Points are awarded for accumulating the most cards, most gold cards, most 7s, the Gold 7 and for puntos, explained below.

Objective:
To be the 1st player to accumulate 11 points.

Set Up:
Each player is dealt 3 cards. 4 cards are placed face up on the table. The rest are placed in a draw deck, face-down.

Play:
Each player has 3 options on their turn:

1. If a face-up card has the same number value as any card in his hand, he takes that card. The face-up card and the card from his hand constitute the trick, and he places them facedown in front of him, and his turn is over.
2. If no face-up card has the same number value as any card in his hand, but 2 or more face-up cards combine to a sum equal to the number value of any card in his hand,
he takes those cards. The face-up cards and the card from his hand constitute the trick, and he places them facedown in front of him, and his turn is over. Note: A player may not take option 2 if option 1 is available- for instance, you may not use a 10 from your hand to take a 3 and a 7 form the table if another 10 is on the table.
3. If no number value match at all can be made, the player must discard a card. This card is placed face-up with the other cards on the table, as is fair game for the other player(s).

If at any point a player takes the last face up card(s) remaining on the table, that player has scored a Punto, and a bonus point is awarded during scoring (make a note somewhere that the punto was achieved, since scores won't be tallied until later). Once a punto has been scored, there are no face-up cards left for the next player to claim, so that player must discard one of their cards into the face-up section for other players to potentially claim.

When each player has no cards left in their hand (and no matter what option the player takes in their turn, one card is removed from their hand- either scored or discarded), each player is dealt 3 more cards from the top of the face-down draw deck.

Once the draw deck is empty and all player's hands are empty, the round is over, and points are tallied.

Points:
1 point goes to the player with the most cards.
1 point goes to the player with the most Gold cards.
1 point goes to the player with the most 7s.
1 point goes to the player with the Gold 7.
1 point goes to each player for each punto they have scored.

The 1st player to reach 11 points wins. If no player has 11 points yet, shuffle, deal and continue.

A light, easy game that can be played very quickly. There is almost no strategy here, but my wife and I find it fun, and it may be the quickest game in our collection.

It takes a while to get used to the unusual suits (the rules claim these to be the traditional Italian suits, but I don't know for sure), and swords and clubs, especially on the 1 cards, can be hard to tell apart, but it is really only the gold cards to which you need to pay extra attention.

-kl

-kl
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