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Triomphe

Type trick-taking
Players 4
Cards 52
Deck French
Play Counterclockwise
Card rank (highest to lowest) K Q J A 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Related games
Écarté, Ruff and Honours

Triomphe (French for triumph) is a card game dating from the late 15th or early 16th centuries. It originated in either France, Spain (as triunfo), or Italy (as trionfo) and later spread to Germany and England. It may have started as a simplified version of trionfi (tarot) where the rules were transferred to a smaller and cheaper deck, essentially a poor man's tarot game. While trionfi has a fifth suit that acts as permanent trumps, triomphe randomly selects one of the existing four suits as trumps. Triomphe became so popular that during the 16th century the earlier game of trionfi was gradually renamed tarocchi, tarot, or tarock. This game is the origin of the English word "trump" and is the ancestor of many trick-taking games like Euchre (via Écarté) and Whist (via Ruff and Honours).

French rules

17th century French Triomphe, or French Ruff, was played by four players divided into two partnerships with a 52-card deck. The order of the cards from highest to lowest is King, Queen, Jack, Ace, 10, 9 ... 2. Each player takes a card from the deck, the one with the highest card becomes the dealer and passes five cards face down to everyone. The remaining 32 cards form the stock. The dealer then turns up a card from the stock, the suit of that card will be the trump suit. An optional rule is that the player with the Ace of trumps gets to exchange the exposed card with one from his hand. He can do the same with the remainder of the stock taking any trumps until he exposes a non-trump. This is called robbing the stock. If the dealer exposes an ace as the trump, then he gets the right to rob the stock. The current dealer picks the next dealer out of the opposing team.

The object of each hand is to win at least three tricks. Winning three or four tricks awards one point while winning all five tricks is worth two points. The first team to get five points wins the game. The eldest to the right of the dealer sets the first trick's suit with the winner of each trick leading to the next one. All players must follow suit if possible. Trumps must be used if void of the trick's suit. If the next player is also void, then she must over-trump if possible. If void in suit and trumps, then any card can be played but won't win. Since there are only 20 cards in play, any attempt to cheat by revoking is easily caught and the culprit loses the game.

Strasbourg rules

Incomplete rules from Strasbourg when it was still part of the Holy Roman Empire were recorded in both French and German (as Trümpfspiel). Its rules are similar to the Dutch game of Troeven (trumps).

Aces are high and deuces are low. Each player takes a card from the deck, the lowest becomes the dealer. The dealer passes out nine cards to each player with the remaining cards forming the stock. The dealer exposes one card from the stock which will be the trump suit. If the dealer exposes an ace, he can exchange it for a worthless card. He can do the same with the remainder of the stock taking any trumps until he exposes a non-trump. The highest trump cards are fixed: the Ace of Hearts, the King of Diamonds, the Queen of Spades, and the Jack of Clubs.

The object of each hand is to capture cards with the most points. Aces are worth four, kings three, queens two, and jacks one; in total there should be 40 points. If a player achieves a slam (winning all the tricks), he will get 80 points.

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