About a month ago I decided to see if anyone is still playing the original game of tarot. I found that nowadays they call it “French Tarot” to distinguish it from the divination practice, and that it has a small but active online presence through sites like Board Game Arena.
I decided to learn the game, and if I had to summarize it, I’d call it “Really complicated Spades”, but even that’s not doing it justice. Essentially it’s a team-based competitive game for between 3 and 5 players, only the teams change every hand.
I downloaded a phone app to learn the game, and once you wrap your head around the nuances, it’s a really fascinating game that takes some time to master.
There’s a deck called “Tarot Of Loka” that is designed for both divination and gaming. I also ordered a standardized Fournier playing deck from Spain so I can try teaching the game to others. The trump cards in the Fournier deck more closely resemble the ones found in Tarock decks, where the images feature flipped rural scenes instead of the classic arcana, but if you know your cards then using them for divination is still possible. My plan is to release a short video about tarot gaming in the 21st century and the cards used for it.
You can tell the modern elements are there to aid the gameplay; old TdM decks definitely don’t lend themselves to easy “fan-handed” reading, especially in a game where the starting hand has 18 cards in it.
Anyways, does anyone else here play the game? If not, is there interest in learning the game? I’m in the process of assembling notes for a “gaming divination” style work, with a hefty chunk of the text dedicated to games with tarot cards, and I’d love to hear if others are looking for fun and social ways to introduce tarot to their friends via the medium of gaming.