This is a simple three player game that has a variation called Illustrated Tapp which adds a level of complexity - I may add that in the future.


Pack: A reduced tarot of 54 cards is used consisting of four regular suits of 8 cards, and a suit of 22 trumps (the 1-21 and Tomfool).

Ranking: Standard ranking is used...

Pips rank in suit from high to low:
King, Queen, Cavalier, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7

Empty Cards: These are cards that have values of 1 point or less.

Honours: The Magician, The World, and Tomfool are called The Honours. They are always among the highest scoring cards.

Card Points are:
Honours 5 points
Kings 5 points
Queens 4 points
Cavaliers 3 points
Jacks 2 points
All others 1 point

A game consists of three hands

Deal: First Dealer is chosen at random or by consent with the role moving to the player on the left after each hand.

Dealer places the first 6 cards to a stock pile in two packets of three, the second packet laid crosswise on top of the first. Players are then dealt two packets of 8 cards.

Auction: Beginning with Eldest (Dealer’s left), players may in turn make a bid, the player who makes the highest bid will play as Declarer against the other two who will play in partnership. A player may pass and if all players pass, the hand is thrown in and deal moves to the next player. If a player wishes to bid then they may either bid Solo and so end the bidding round, or make the lowest bid not yet made. Bidding continues until someone has bid Solo or two players have passed against another bid. If a player has passed, they may not bid again.

There are four available bids:
  • Three Cards: Declarer exposes the cards of the stock and chooses either the top three or the bottom three cards to take into his/her hand. The remaining three cards will count towards the Defenders’ tricks once the hand is played out. Declarer must then discard three cards that may not include either Kings or Honours an may only include trumps if there is no other choice – if trumps are discarded then they must be shown to the Defenders. The discards will count towards Declarer’s tricks at the end of the hand.
  • Bottom Three: Declarer takes the bottom three cards of the stock into his/her hand without showing them and makes a discard as above, while the remaining stock goes unseen by all towards the Defender’s tricks.
  • Top Three: Declarer takes the top three cards of the stock into his/her hand without showing them and makes a discard as above, while the remaining stock goes unseen by all towards the Defender’s tricks.
  • Solo: The stock goes unseen towards the Defender’s tricks.

There are two bonuses that Declarer may win:
  • The Sparrow: Declarer wins the last trick with The Magician (also known as The Sparrow)
  • Slam: Declarer wins every trick.

Before leading to the first trick, Declarer has the option of declaring to win either of these, thus scoring more points if achieved – and losing more if failed.

Play: Declarer leads to the first trick by placing a card face up on the table. Each player in turn, moving to the left, must play a card from their hand of the suit led – this is called following suit. If they do not have any cards of the suit led, it is called being void in that suit and they must play a trump card instead. However, if they have no trumps, they may then play any other card, though it will not win. Whoever plays the highest trump to the trick wins it, or if trumps are not played, then whoever played the highest card of the suit led wins it. The winner takes the cards and places them face down in their trick pile to be counted at the end.

The player that wins the trick then leads to the next one and play continues until the hand has been played out.

Emperor Trick: If all three honours are played to the same trick, then it is The Juggler that wins it.

Scores: At the end of the hand, Declarer counts his/her cards individually, adding 1 point for each trick (cards from the discard to not count as a trick). There are 122 card points and so Declarer must have 61 or more to win the hand.

The game points won depend upon the contract bid, if the contract was won, then Declarer is paid the appropriate game points by each Defender, if lost, then Declarer pays this to each Defender.

Three Cards 3 points
Bottom Three 4 points
Top Three 5 points
Solo 8 points

If a Slam was declared, then the value of the game – won or lost – is multiplied by 8. If a Slam was won but not declared, then the bid is multiplied by 4.


A Declared Sparrow adds 8 points, undeclared 4 points.