Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thing 257 Scopa

Now that there is a photo of a very, very sick man. Note the dressing gown (or gressy grouw as I was once known to call it in my youth), the circles under the eyes, and the do not disturb eye mask for sleeping. I spent all day in bed, leaving only to get sick, except for Scopa. See the stupid Project must go on, and new stuff must be done. So I hauled my sick ass out of the leaba for a game of cards.

That's what Scopa is. Dr Frasier's spent the last six months in Italy, strutting around Rome as a tour-guide telling people in German and English all about the fancy buildings and the history of Rome. Like I said before, he's smarter than us. One of the bad habits he brought back from Rome, aside from gesticulating madly when he speaks, was Scopa.

It's an Italian card game. Here's how it works...

Four suits, containing ten cards each: Clubs, coins, cups and swords. Each suit has three picture cards: The Knave, The Knight and The King. Three cards are placed face up and three cards are dealt into the hands of each player. Maximum four players. The player left of the dealer starts and plays one card out of his or her hand which is equal to one or more of the cards facing up. After he or she's done that, the cards collected are put to one side. The next player takes a turn. If you can't play a card which is equal to one or more of the cards facing up, you place your card facing up for someone else to play it. Cards are dealt to each player till there's no cards left to deal.

Confused yet? I was too. You'd want a Masters in something fancy from Trinity College to get this shaggin game.... curse you Dr Frasier.

When all the cards have been played you count up how many cards you played. The player with the most cards gets a point. The player who has the most coin cards gets a point. The player with the most sevens gets a point and the player who has the seven of coins gets a point too.

The Seven of Coins is called "siete bello" which is Italian for beautiful seven. Dr Frasier says "siete bello" like he's doing a bad impression of Super Mario. It's hilarious.

The only other way to score is by "scopa". If you play a card which takes the last card facing up, then you've a scopa, and the next player can only place a card face up and can't score. You can, and Pony Boy proved it, get four or five of these in a game.

So when you've learned all the rules, now you just have to sit back and allow fun to commence. My idea of fun is watching Pony Boy lose. My God that man is competitive. He hates losing. Even more fun than watching him lose is watching him being beaten by his girlfriend. Little Flower is a sweet natured woman who happens to also be as cunning as a fox. She caned him. Several times. And while he doesn't object to screaming and roaring at me and Dr Frasier when he loses, you could see he was trying not to shout at her. Trying not to - but failing.

Sorry again big lad. But it was funny.

He got his revenge mind. After she'd kicked his ass, we played another hand, because this might actually be the world's most addictive game, once you get over the rules like, and he conquered all around him.

What's not my idea of fun is putting up with Pony Boy when he's winning.

Technically you could play with a normal deck, taking aces as having a value of one, and removing the eights, nines and tens from each suit. The jack becomes the knave, the queen becomes the knight, and the king can still be king. Because of the way the game is played, it's really about screwing over the player next to you. Since this is the way it goes there's lots of banter and plenty of giving out. Which just adds to the fun.

Give it a shot. Or find some actual scopa cards online.

Like I say, it's a bloody addictive game.

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