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Subject: English terms for French Tarot? rss

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The Elusive Shootski
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So I'm trying to start playing French Tarot again, and I was curious if there were any standard English terms for the game, besides the literal French translations of terms like "garde sans le chien," "poignee," etc.?
 
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Michael Mesich
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Garde is like Guard, you intend to guard this many points from your opponents.

Le Chien is dog, but we use the term Kitty for a pool of things left over. In this case it's cards.

Avec le chien is WITH the kitty (you get points from the cards)
Sans le chien is WITHOUT the kitty (nobody get points from the cards)
Contre le chien is AGAINST the kitty (your opponents get points from the cards)

Bouts are "ends" First and last Trump card plus the Excuse (an Apologizer or in our terms, the Fool.)

The Poignee bonus is "a handful" of trumps.

Petit au bout is playing the smallest trump at the end.

I'm not sure where Chelem (Slam! Taking all the tricks) comes from.





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Mike Urban
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Yup, 'guard with', 'guard without' and 'guard against' are the bids I would use.

I use 'Widow' (from games like Five Hundred) for le chien, though I suppose that 'kitty' is just as widely used for such things. 'Stash' might be a good alternative?

I've never come up with a facile translation for 'bout'. The English cognate is, I believe, 'butt', which sounds just plain wrong. So I just use the alternative French term, 'Oudler' (happily mispronounced in English as ow-dler, for no reason but my own linguistic tastes), as an 'exotic' game term. I also leave 'petit' and 'petit au bout' ('Pity. Oh boo!') untranslated for that continental flavour. 'Excuse' is a pretty good term, and describes the function reasonably well (excusing one from following suit), so I see no reason to translate it to some less related word.

'Poignee' maybe translates as more closely as 'fistful', and then you can say 'Fistful of Trumps', which has a nice ring, to my ear anyway.
 
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Michael Mesich
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Ostadan wrote:

I've never come up with a facile translation for 'bout'. The English cognate is, I believe, 'butt', which sounds just plain wrong.


A closer translation would be "bookends". First and Last bookending the suit.
 
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Mikko Saari
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Based on Wikipedia and World Wide Words, it seems to me "Chelem" is simply derived from English "Slam". In English, the word dates at least back to 1660.
 
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Jim Wickson
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Ostadan wrote:


'Poignee' maybe translates as more closely as 'fistful', and then you can say 'Fistful of Trumps', which has a nice ring, to my ear anyway.




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Rutger W
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I would replace them with terms from other tarot games that are easier to pronounce in English;

le chien; the 'Tap'
Oudlers; 'Honours'
1 of Trumps; 'Pagat'
21; 'Twenty one' or 'Mond'
l'Excuse; 'Excuse' or 'Fool'
Playing the 1 of Trumps to the last trick; 'Ultimate Pagat' or 'Pagat Ultimo'
Chelem; 'Slam'
 
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Jim Wickson
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"Mond" literally means "moon" in the German language and this usage by German speaking Tarock players is due to the similarity between that word and the French word "monde" which means "world" At one time German speakers used French language decks like the Tarot de Marseilles before they created their own French suited Tiertarock decks. As a native English speaker I think of the "moon" card as trump 18 and not the 21. I don't think French speakers ever call atout 21 "La Lune" so I don't think it's suitable for English speakers to use a similar term.
 
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Rutger W
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I dont care about that, I was merely providing practical terms. But anyway, saying that Monde is adequate and Mond is not for PLAYING does sound quite ridiculous, since the terms are related in tarot play. English people dont play french tarot anyway, so who cares what they deem adequate terms or not?

It highly bothers me that the entry for Tarot 1430 is geared towards french tarot propaganda , since that is incorrect as well. Why does it say 2-5 players while we know the oldest known games in France could be played up to 6 players?
 
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Mikko Saari
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Maybe because the current game is played with five players, and on a site about playing games, the currently played game is more significant? Oldest known games matter less than the current incarnation, as this is not a museum or an archive.

Also, if you feel there's an error on data, you can always suggest a correction. The data is, after all, provided by users.
 
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Michael Mesich
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As an American, I like to play French Tarot and Belote.

I like the terms.

Interestingly, I first learned Tarot with 5 players and the hidden partner. But when I went looking for rules a couple years later to start playing again, I mostly found 4 player rules and a hard time finding the 5-player rules.

*shrug*

 
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Rutger W
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msaari wrote:
Maybe because the current game is played with five players, and on a site about playing games, the currently played game is more significant? Oldest known games matter less than the current incarnation, as this is not a museum or an archive.

Also, if you feel there's an error on data, you can always suggest a correction. The data is, after all, provided by users.


The current game? You mean the current French game? Here we go again. that is wrong for two reasons;

1. There are still a lot of different games being played with tarot cards, most importantly in northern italy where the deck originated; those games are probably a lot closer to the 1430 than french tarot.

2. There is still a six handed form of French tarot being played, with three partnerships of two people, sitting alternately.

But okay, you're right, I should stop complaining and start making entries. . It is just one hell of a job to sort out all the games Dummett and McLeod laid down and make them into sensible entries. I already made a small start a while ago by adding Minchiate as a game, anybody care to help??
 
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Jim Wickson
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"Mond" is adequate for certain types of games especially the ones played with French suited cards such as Austrian Tarock or Danish Tarok and it could work with French Tarot although this term is not actually necessary as there's no special name for trump 21 in the French game. There is only potential for conflict when playing with Italian decks because "Moon" is reserved for trump 18.
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Rutger W
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There is hardly ever a conflict, because I'm assuming English speaking people will play with modern french suited cards and thus no pictorial representation of classic Italian tarot themes on trumps; no moon, conflict there. Also, I'm assuming that English-German bilinguals playing French Tarot are rare, so no one is triggered by the actual meaning of Monde or Mong, so no conflict there either.

Contrary to what you say, I think it is VERY useful to name all three honours with special names in French Tarot, to distinguish them from ordinary, empty trumps while explaining the game.
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Jim Wickson
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Judging from the English language contents in print and on the internet, it appears that while the number of English speaking Tarot players is small, the diversity of games and decks is large. English speakers familiar with French Tarot would also likely be familiar with Cego, or Austrian Tarock and some of the Italian or Swiss games. English speakers do play with the Italian suited decks in addition to the French suited ones.
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Rutger W
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That holds indeed true for enthusiasts, and in all the games you named 'Mond' or 'World' or whatever for the highest trump 21 would be okay for distinguishing it as the highest trump, with a special role (namely, card points), just like in French tarot. But name it what you like, I'd say. I, for one, think it would actually help to give it just one special name from game to game, purely for gameplaying purposes. Games where it could be truly confusing are games played with actual bolognese or sicilian cards, but I don't really use them.


About numbers of tarot players, keep in mind that there are no accurate figures, there are still a lot of games being played that nobody even knows of. The internet can be an indication, however, it does not generate the information itself. The spread of cardgames has proved to be extremely local, and very persisting in the long run. 'French Tarot', by all means, should have a seperate entry in the boardgamegeek database.

 
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p g
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mmesich wrote:
As an American, I like to play French Tarot and Belote.

I like the terms.

Interestingly, I first learned Tarot with 5 players and the hidden partner. But when I went looking for rules a couple years later to start playing again, I mostly found 4 player rules and a hard time finding the 5-player rules.

*shrug*



In France, 4 players is the canonical game, 5 players is the variant many casual players like or even prefer probably because it's faster and there's greater place for luck.
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Rutger W
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By canonical you mean the one promoted by the Fédération Française de Tarot. Three handed forms must have long been prevalent; they are well recorded by McLeod and Dummett, and it makes sense that the three oudlers determining how many points you must make to win was adopted 1 on 1 from a three handed form. Also, four handed forms included a bid in which the declarer could call a partner, to hope to increase the number of oudlers won. In four handed french tarot there are a lot of deals thrown in relative to three handed forms, because of the chance that you hold more than 1 oudler is significantly smaller and no partners can be called.

As late as between 1950 and 1970 many regions were dominated by a three handed form of tarot. This game is known to have an adaption for five hands as well. I will describe this ancestral game to modern tarot here, of course many special thanks to Dummett and McLeod;

Three players;

Each player contributes 10 game points before start of play (I assume) to the mouche. Dealer adds 5 points to the largest mouche before play. Dealer gives 24 cards to each, in batches of 3 cards, and during the deal puts 6 cards face down to form the talon, in batches of 1 to 3 cards by choice.

If any one of the players has the 1 of trumps but not the Fool or any other trump, the deal is annulled and the next dealer deals. Note that in some regions the deal rotated clockwise instead of anti-clockwise.

There are three regular positive bids; prendre, pousse and garde. The difference between prendre and pousse is in scoring at the end only. In both cases the declarer takes up the talon and discards 6 cards, of course not being allowed to discard Kings, the 1 of trumps or the 21 of trumps. At garde the talon is kept face down with the tricks of the declarer. Passing on the bid means you cannot enter the bidding again. If all should pass, the next dealer deals a re-deal. Highest bidder becomes declarer, but may not bid a higher bid after the two players both have passed. In some places Prise involves purchasing a card in exchange for 10 game points from another player (like in older forms of Tarot d'Appel) and give an unwanted card in exchange. Some play that there is a fourth bid 'garde avec écart', differing only from prise and pousse in scoring at the end.


Furthermore, there are two other bids that outrank all the other bids; petit chelem and grand chelem. Petit chelem is a bid for making all but two tricks, and grand chelem for taking all tricks. The talon is used by the declarer in both cases. In grand chelem, the Fool can win the last trick. There is no bonus for a chelem at any of the other bid levels.

Declarations;
Declarations must be made right before playing a card to the first trick, or some have a special round with only declarations. They are;
Poignée; 13 trumps, 10 game points.
Double Poignée; 15 trumps, 20 game points
Triple Poignée; 22 trumps including the Fool, 30 game points (some award 40)
Pas d'Atouts; no trumps, no fool; 10 game points
Pas de points; no counting cards; 10 game points

Poignée declarations must be exposed to other players. The Fool always counts as trumps in Poignées, but may only be exposed with them if you have no other choice. Declarers are paid by each opponent at the end of the hand IF he makes his contract, but pays it to each of the others if he fails. Defenders are paid immediately, individually by the other two.

Eldest always leads to the first trick, except for when someone declared chelem, then that player leads to the first trick. Some regions played that the dealer always leads to the first trick, and some others that the declarer always leads to the first trick.

When playing trumps, one must play a higher trump than any yet played to the trick if he can.

The Fool is an excuse with exchange for an empty card, but if it cannot be made yet, place it face up beside yourself until an exchange is possible. Surrender it to the other side of your side wins no tricks at all. If it is played to the last trick, it must also be surrendered to the winner of that trick, except in a chelem when played by the declarer, and only if all preceding tricks were taking by the declarer himself. The Fool may be led, in which case the next player becomes leading and he may play any card.

Score;
Declarer wins if he has made 56 points without honours (Fool, trump 1 and Trump 21) in his tricks, 51 points with one, 41 with two and 36 with all three.

Declarer takes the largest mouche if he wins, doubles it if he loses, or makes a new mouche as large as the first one if the first one has been doubled already.
Independant of the contract, there is a personal bonus of 10 game points for winning the last trick with the Pagat, or a penalty for losing it to the opposing side. Opponents of the declarer may freely lose the Pagat to each other, but an opponent losing it to the declarer must pay his partner as well.

The declarer is also paid by each of the opponents the excess of the points he made if he won, together with a basic payment of 10 for pousse, 15 for garde avec and 20 for garde sans. There is no base for prise. If lost, he pays the base to each of the others.

In a chelem bid, base payments, mouches and Pagat Ultimo are ignored. IF petit chelem was bid and won, declarer receives 100 game points from each, or pays it to each if lost. For grand it is 250 game points.

Alternative rules to this game from a text printed in Lyon;
Deal is in 6 rounds of 4 cards, one carad being put in the talon after each round. A player with the Pagat but no other trump nor the Fool cannot annul the deal, but, after the first positive bid is made, he can declare the Pagat to be imprenable, meaning that when he plays it, it becomes an excuse just like the Fool. The bidder may now decide to annul his bid or continue.
A bid of prise does not exist, only pousse and garde. Garde may never be an opening bid. Chelem can now always be announced, in which case you must expose your entire hand. Unannounced it also scores, though I don't know how much.
'No trumps' may be declared even when holding the Fool. There is no triple Poignée. 'A pas de points' is called misère. A misère accompanying a poignée is called misère dorée, which I think means something like 'golden misery' (lol).

Four player version;
Dealer gives 18 cards to each player, in batches of three. Poignée is made at 10 trumps, double at 13 trumps, triple at 18 trumps. If chelem bids are admitted or not, it is worth only 200 game points. Some changed the Petit chelem to involve winning all tricks but one. Some Paris printed versions allow the Prise bid to call for a partner instead of buying a card, by calling a certain card (apparently without restriction), whose holder becomes his partner. At the end of the hand in which there were 2x2 partnerships, each partner pays or is paid by one of the two opponents.

Four player partnership version;
The declarer after discarding ALWAYS calls a suit card to obtain a partner, who does not reveal himself. Bidding prise does not give you any rights to purchase a card. It is legal to pass, but there is little point in doing so. In garde sans ecart it can of course happen that the called card is in the talon, in which case declarer plays alone.

Five player version;
Dealer gives 15 cards to each in batches of 3 cards, talon consists of 3. Simple poignée is 8 trumps, double 10 trumps, triple 15. Petit chelem is winning every trick but one. Declarer and partner divide the largest mouche if they win, opponents paying them as in the regualr game, two partners also dividing these payments. If declarer and partner lose, they share in paying to each opponent the amount as in the normal game, and also share in doubling the mouche. Note that only the declarer doubles the mouche. Some texts from Paris allow purchase of a card for Prise.

Jura tarot, 3-5 players;
Contribution to the mouche is 10 game points for the dealer. Bids are as usual prise, pousse, garde, petit chelem and grand chelem. Counting cards may NEVER be discarded, so all court cards need to go to play. When holding the Pagat as only trump (also no Excuse), the deal is annulled automatically. A player with the Excuse may not declare pas d'atouts. I oddly scribbled this underneath the description; "Player left to the declarer leads to the first trick, though play is counter clockwise", but I can't really make sure that that's correct.
In a four and five player games of Jura tarot petit chelem is gained by winning all tricks but one, with the Excuse retaining its privilege of winning the last trick. In a four player game declarer plays alone against the others in ALL contracts, in a five player game the declarer calls a card after the discard, though this must be a King, or a Queen if he has all Kings. The partner remains undisclosed as usual. Declarer and partner share ALL gains and losses.



If anyone is interested in other forms of French tarot, such as the six-handed form, lemme know and I will share.




 
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mansize wrote:
By canonical you mean the one promoted by the Fédération


By canonical I meant that's what people play these days in France.
 
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Rutger W
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They also still play two, three, five and six handed games, so that would be a poor definition.
 
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Andy Leighton
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mansize wrote:
They also still play two, three, five and six handed games, so that would be a poor definition.


Yes. But by canonical we mean what the typical French man or woman would answer when you ask them how many people can play Tarot. I think most would answer 4 but you can also play 5.

This is just the same for Cribbage. You ask how many cards do you get dealt in Cribbage and the canonical answer is 6. Despite there being a fairly well known 5 card variant.

BGG is not a very good venue for traditional card games. For example Don isn't listed as a game here at all despite it being played in leagues in Ireland and the UK. If it was, it is likely that all of Irish Don, 9-card Don, Blind Don and Phat would all be mixed up under the one entry.
 
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Rutger W
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Would they, though? The people I learned it from in the Aude region would definately respond with 3-5 players, though, of course, that still could be atypical.

3-player tarot, apart from adapting the game in number of cards dealt to accomodate for less players, is 100% the same game as 4 player tarot. Also, with the Federation laying down official rules for 3 players and them being printed with nearly every pack sold, I can't imagine that no one typical Frenchman would say '3 or 4 players'.

But I will definately test the response in a few weeks when I'm back in France. Since I'll be travelling from Champagne / Ardennes down south to Languedoc / Rousillion, then to Provence / Côte d'Azur, I will meet plenty of Frenchmen to ask =).
 
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Varg Valdes
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mansize wrote:
There is hardly ever a conflict, because I'm assuming English speaking people will play with modern french suited cards and thus no pictorial representation of classic Italian tarot themes on trumps; no moon, conflict there.

Not necessarily. Here in Norway, like in Britain and the US, Tarot-decks are primarily known for their divinatory usage rather than as a game. As such it is much, much easier to find a divination-purposed deck than a play-purposed one, and those are usually with (or based on) Italian trumps. The only playing decks I've encountered here is the Tarot de Marseille and an English-language, Taiwan-produced deck called Royal Tarot, which also used Italian motifs (and came with rules for 4-player French-style play).

I assume the situation is much the same in the English speaking word. And if so an English player wishing to try tarot is much likelier to end up with an Italian type deck than an French one.
 
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