The Taroux of Six is, obviously, for six players but in a satisfying arrangement of three fixed partnerships, all seated alternately so that partners are opposite with two opponents on either side of each of them.
Pack: A tarot pack of 78 cards is used consisting of four regular suits of 14 cards, a suit of 21 trumps, and The Fool.
|All Others||1 point|
Ranking: Rational ranking is used...
Pip cards rank in suit from high to low:
King, Queen, Cavalier, Valet, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace
Trumps rank by their number, 21 high, 1 low.
Empty Cards: These are cards that have values of 1 point or less.
Honours: The Juggler, The World, and The Fool are called The Honours. They are always among the highest scoring cards.
A game consists of six hands
Deal: First Dealer is chosen at random or by consent with the role moving to the player on the left after each hand.
Players are dealt twelve cards in four packets of three, with six cards (neither the first six, nor the last) being dealt to the stock.
Auction: There is then a round of bidding to decide which partnerships shall take the role of Declarers, playing against the other four who shall be the Defenders. Players bid in turn starting with Eldest (Dealer’s left) and moving to the right. Each bidder must bid higher than any previous bid or pass with bidding continuing until five pass – so players may increase their last bid on their next turn (which includes making a bid after initially passing).
There are five possible bids, though the first two are essentially dummy bids – they cannot win the auction but they can be made to communicate a little information between partners. From low to high, they are...
- Prop: a dummy bid indicating only that the player could help prop up their partner. However, they may only make this bid if they hold at least one of the Honours.
- Stand: a dummy bid indicating that player thinks he could make a stand with a little help. However, they may only make this bid if they hold at least one of the Honours.
- We’ll Take: If won, the stock is exposed and the winning bidder chooses either the first three cards or the second three to take, while bidder’s partner then takes the remaining three cards. Each partner then discards three cards that may not include King, Honours, nor, unless they have no choice, trumps – in which case they must be shown to the other players. These will count toward their tricks unless they fail to win any, in which case they belong to the Defenders.
- We’ll Take Without The Stock: If won, the stock remains unseen and will count toward the Declarers’ tricks at the end unless they fail to win any, in which case they will belong to the Defenders.
- We’ll Take Against The Stock: If won, the stock remains unseen and will count toward the Defenders’ tricks at the end unless they fail to win any, in which case they will belong to the Declarers.
Contras: Instead of bidding, a player may on their turn call “Contra to ______”, naming the bid they are challenging. This doubles the value of the winnings and losses should that bid win. In response – and out of turn – the bidder being challenged, or their partner, may call “Re-contra” to double the value again. However, to call either a contra or a re-contra requires that the player has at least one Honour, therefore, this is not just a way of upping the ante but also of communicating information.
Declarations: Before play commences, players have the opportunity to declare for bonus points.
- Abundance: If players have six or more trumps in their hand, then they may declare them for bonus points by laying them face up for the other players to see. There is no obligation to declare an Abundance and a player who does so need not declare all they can – just the minimum to score. However, they can only score for what they declare.
Small 6 20 points Middling 8 30 points Grand 11 40 points
- The Sparrow: When announced, the player contracts to win the last trick with The Juggler, scoring 20 points against the other side (Declarer scores against each of the Defenders, the Defenders each score against Declarer). However, if announced and failed, a 20 point penalty is due instead.
- Slam: When announced, the player contracts to win every trick for 400 points scored against the other side. If failed, then a 400 point penalty is due instead.
Bonuses: Players may win bonuses for unannounced achievements (The Sparrow and a Slam) but they score fewer points.
- The Sparrow: Won unannounced in the Declarations round, this will only score 10 points.
- Slam: Won Unannounced in the Declarations round, this will score 200 points.
Play: The Bidding 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 trumps have already been played to the trick, then if they can, they must play a higher trump than any already played. If they cannot follow suit or play a trump, then 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.
If The Fool is held, then it may be played at any time instead of a card that the rules might otherwise require and although it will not win, it is seldom lost. When played, The Fool is returned to its player who then places it face up beside them until the end of the hand when they must pay the player who won the trick with a card from their trick pile (obviously, they will choose an empty card if they can). However, if they have taken no tricks, then they must surrender The Fool instead.
Scores: Card points are counted in pairs of cards, subtracting 1 point for every pair. There are therefore 91 points in the pack. The number of points that Declarer needs to win the hand depends upon how many Honours are in his/her trick pile.
No Honours 56 card points needed to win One Honour 51 card points needed to win Two Honours 41 card points needed to win Three Honours 36 card points needed to win
As The World and The Fool cannot be lost, winning or protecting The Juggler is a priority in this game.
Once the winner is determined then points can be calculated. First, 25 points are scored for winning the hand, then add to this the difference between the number of card points needed to win against the number of points The Declarers actually took, then add points for winning The Sparrow. Now multiply the result according to the bid being played:
I'll Play x1 Solo x2 Solo Without the Stock x4 Solo Against the Stock x6
Finally, points for a Slam can be added. If the Declarers won, then the result is won against each of the Defenders, if lost however, it must be paid to each of them.