This two-volume book gives as comprehensive a history as can be achieved at the present time of a family of card games that originated in the first quarter of the XV century, and is therefore one of the very oldest still practiced. It is the family of games played with the Tarot pack. Contrary to popular belief, the Tarot pack was not invented for fortune-telling or any other occult purpose: that was an accretion dating from the late XVIII century. It was invented to play a new kind of card game: its great contribution was to introduce the idea of trumps into card play. The games spread to France and Switzerland in the early XVI century, and subsequently over almost the whole of Europe. In doing so, it developed a great multiplicity of different forms: the family is far more diverse than any other, while retaining a constant central core. This book will gather material that is widely scattered and very hard to come by, a good deal of it not otherwise accessible in print at all. It will therefore be an indispensable reference work for all who are interested in the history of this game or any particular branch of it. It will also give examples, more instructive than could be given from any other family of card games, of how games evolve. Finally it will be of prime value to any who wish to play one or more forms of the game.
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