Bibliography

The Game of Tarot

by Michael Dummett
Duckworth 1980 ISBN 0 7156 10147

This book only saw one printing and is now much in demand, sometimes fetching high prices. However, keep your eyes open and you can find a bargain. It is the most comprehensive book published about tarot, tracing the history of the games, the cards themselves, their designs, and even occult use.

A History of Games played with the Tarot Pack (Volumes 1 & 2)

by Michael Dummett and John McLeod
Edwin Mellen Press 2004
Volume One ISBN 0 7734 6447 6
Volume Two ISBN 0 7734 6447 2
Supplement from Maproom Publications 2009 ISBN 978 0 9562370 0 2

These volumes serve to update and expand the work on the card games and their development given in The Game of Tarot. Although the work is limited to just this part of tarot’s history, there is no more substantial source of tarot games in the English Language – or possibly any other.

A Wicked Pack of Cards

By Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis, & Michael Dummett
St Martin’s Press 1996 ISBN 0 312 16294 4

This is the first of two books to take up the task of expanding on the history of the occult tarot, which had a fairly detailed but still limited chapter in The Game of Tarot. This book limits itself to the first hundred years of occult tarot, beginning with Antoine Court de Gebelin at the end of the 18th Century. This is essential reading if you want to understand where these beliefs came from and how they developed, not to mention just why they were so very wrong. It seems to be a little harder to obtain in the US than in the UK but you shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting a copy at a reasonable price.

A History of the Occult Tarot 1870-1970

By Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett
Duckworth 2002 ISBN 0 7156 3122 5

This book picks up the story where the last one left off, showing how the occult tarot spread beyond France and throughout the English speaking world until all English speakers know by tarot was the occult and fortune telling. Once again, history is essential for understanding why we are where we are and just what went wrong. Together with the previous volume, this book pulls the rug from beneath accounts of the occult tarot leaving us with a pack of playing cards. More easily available than the previous book and you can often get if for a cheap price.

The Penguin book of Card Games

by David Parlett
Penguin 2008 ISBN-10: 0141037873 ISBN-13 978-0141037875

Previously published in 2000 as the Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games, this is an essential book and the only mainstream title that I know of to include the rules for tarot games. Without doubt, David Parlett is the best of all writers on card games, providing the rules with clarity , detail, authority, and an enthusiasm for his subject. Every family should have a book of card games – please make this one yours!

The Oxford Guide to Card Games

by David Parlett
Oxford University Press 1990 ISBN 0-19-214165-1

Not a guide to how games are played as such but rather a general history of our regular playing cards from their origin to the development of various families of games played with them - including tarot. A fascinating, informative, and enjoyable book. If you want to understand tarot cards and the games played with them in the broader context of card gaming, then this is an essential book.


This web site, maintained by John McLeod, is the single largest resource for card games on the internet. It includes a large number of tarot games along with some detailed strategy notes by experienced players. Like the other books listed here, the games are given with their original language terms.