– traditional Ligurian card games

a Ligurian card game for 2 players

Mariagio – a traditional Ligurian game based on the ancient German game mariage – is a more strategic variant of two-handed biscambiggia. Once widespread throughout Liguria, nowadays it is mainly played in the eastern part of the region.



A 40-card Genoese deck is used to play, consisting of 1 (or ace), 2, …, 7, jack (J), queen (Q), king (K) in the four suits of hearts , diamonds , clubs ♣ and spades ♠.

The card values, from highest to lowest, are:[1]



A game of mariagio consists of a number of hands, which are the stages of play between one deal and the next. The game is played until one of the players reaches the set point limit, which is usually 200 points.


For the first hand, the dealer is chosen at random. For subsequent hands, the players alternate as the dealer. The dealer shuffles the cards and hands them to the opponent to cut them. Then the dealer deals seven cards per player, one at a time.[2] Once the deal is over, the dealer places a card face up on the table, and covers half of it by placing the rest of the deck (called the talon) on top of it, face down.

The suit of the half-exposed card is called the trump suit. The cards of this suit, called trumps, beat the other cards for the entire hand.


To win a hand a player must score more points than the opponent. A player’s score is given by the sum of the values of the cards they have captured, according to the table above.


The hands of the game are made up of a number of tricks, which involve one player playing (leading) a card face up to the middle of the table and the opponent responding with another card. Players are free to lead any card they wish, and they are similarly free to respond with whichever card.

At the start of a hand, the dealer’s opponent leads to the first trick. The winner of this trick then leads to the next trick, and the game continues in this way until all the cards are used up.

Winning a trick

The trick is won by the player who played the highest trump. If no trumps were played, the winner is the player who played the highest card of the suit that was led. The winner of the trick captures the two cards on the table and places them face down in their capture pile.

Drawing from the talon

Then, if there are still cards left in the talon, each player, starting with the one who won the trick, takes a card from the talon and adds it to their hand. The half-exposed trump is considered to be part of the talon, and will be the last card to be drawn.

Last tricks

The game proceeds in this manner (attack-reply-capture-draw) until the talon is exhausted, including the half-exposed card. At this point, the players play for seven more tricks with the cards remaining in their hands. In these last tricks, the player on lead is still free to play any card they wish, but the rules for responding change in the following way:

The player who wins the last trick gets an extra 20 points. After the last trick is played, the hand ends and the score is tallied.


When a player is on lead, if they hold a king-queen pair of the same suit (known as marriage), they can announce it before playing their card by showing it to their opponent. A marriage is worth 20 points, or 40 if it’s in the trump suit.

One variant also allows to score for captured marriages:[3] if a player captures a queen with the king of the same suit, they get 20 points, or 40 points if the marriage is in the trump suit.

Exchanging the trump

If a player holds the two of trumps, when they are on lead they may exchange it with the half-exposed trump that’s under the talon.


A player’s score is given by the sum of the cards in their capture pile (according to the values in the table above) plus any additional points from marriages and the last trick bonus.