The game of Scopa


  • The game is done with a deck of traditional Italian cards, made by 40 cards, divided into the four suits of Denari (coins), Coppe (cups), Spade (swords) and Bastoni (sticks).
    Each suit has ten cards, going from 1 (Ace) to 7, then the Jack (8), the Horse (9) and the King (10).
  • There can be 2 to 4 players. When in 4, the game is one couple against the other. The two players that form a couple sit one in front of the other.
  • The dealer shuffle the deck, then let the player at his left halves the deck. He gives 3 cards to each player, starting at his right, then put 4 cards face up on the table.
  • When all 3 cards have been played, another distribution occurs the same way, until the deck is over.
    The player to the right of the dealer plays first and this turn is maintained for the whole game.
  • When the game is over, the cards still on the table, if any, are assigned to the player that made the last valid capture.
  • The player on duty must play one of the cards he owns.
    As a result he can capture one or more cards on the table, in which case his card and the ones captured are added, face down, to his own deck, to be used at the end of the game to compute the score.
    If no capture is possible with that card, it is simply added to the cards on the table, face up.
  • If no cards are left on the table after a capture, this is named a "Scopa" and is worth 1 point in the final score.
    The Scopa is not valid in the last turn of the game.
  • To capture a single card, it must have the same numeric value of the card played.
    To capture more cards, the card played must have a value equal to the sum of all captured cards.
    If with the played card one can do both a single or a multiple capture, the single capture is mandatory.
  • In order to try to win, it is important to capture as many cards as possibile, expecially those of the suit of Denari (coins) and even more the 7 of Denari, which is named Settebello and alone is worth 1 point in the final score.
    It is also important to capture the 7s and also the 6s and the Aces (see later).
  • At the end of the game the cards captured by each player are analyzed, to compute the score. When playing in 4, the scores of the two players forming a couple are added together.
  • The points are assigned this way:
    • one point to the player that captured more cards (in case of parity, 1 point to each)
    • one point to the player that captured more cards of the suit Denari (in case of parity, 1 point to each)
    • one point to the player that captured the Settebello, the 7 of Denari
    • one point to the player having the higher Primiera (see later, 1 point to each in case of parity)
    • one point for each Scopa made during the game, if any
  • The Primiera is formed taking 4 cards from the captured ones, one for each suit.
    In the Primiera the 7 has the highest value, followed by the 6, then the Ace, then the other cards from 5 to 2, then 8, 9 and 10.
    Primiera points:
    • The 7 is worth 21 points
    • The 6 is worth 18 points
    • the Ace is worth 16 punti
    • From 5 to 2, they are worth 15 to 12 points
    • The 8, 9 and 10 are worth 10 points
    Of course the highest Primiera is that formed by the 4 Seven and is worth 84 points.
    The Primiera points are only used to establish which is the highest Primiera, which gains 1 point in the score (1 each in case of parity).
  • Usually more than one game is played and the winner is the first reaching 11, 21 or 31 points. The most popular game is the one reaching 11 points.