Card Games: Fishing Games

In fishing games each player has a hand of cards and there is a layout of face up cards on the table. Each player in turn plays a card. If it matches a card or cards in the layout, the played card and the matched cards are captured and placed face down in front of the player. If the card played does not match it is added to the layout.

There are many oriental fishing games, including most of the games using Japanese flower cards (hanafuda). In these games, after playing a card from your hand and possibly making a capture with it, you turn over a further card from the face down stock, and can also capture with that card as though you had played it.

In the Western style of fishing games, cards are only played from the hand, not turned up from the stock. It is general possible to use a card to capture several cards at once if the ranks of the captured cards add up to that of the played card. Various forms of these games are surprisingly widespread throughout the world.

  • Casino - the best known fishing game in English speaking countries; versions are also played in Sweden and Finland and southern Africa.
  • Scopone and Scopa - very popular in Italy
  • Escoba - a popular Spanish and South American game, in which cards are captured by making a total of 15.
  • Cuarenta - played in Ecuador; matching a card also allows cards in sequence with it to be captured
  • Cicera - a variation of Scopa played with 52 cards
  • Zwickern - north German game (from Schleswig-Holstein) with high value jokers, and the possibility of building upward or downward
  • Tablić - popular is Serbia and other former Yugoslav countries; Romanian Tabinet is similar.
  • Žandari is played in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Basra - a fishing game played in several Middle Eastern countries
  • Pâsur - a fishing game that is popular in Iran.
  • Seep, also known as Sip or Sweep - a fishing game played in northern India and Pakistan, especiallu in the Punjab.
  • Eléwénjewé, a Yoruba game from Nigeria.
  • Ronda - Moroccan game in which sequences can be captured
  • Porrazo - another game featuring sequences, played in California and possibly also in Mexico.
  • Stealing Bundles (Casita Robada) - a simple fishing game for children
  • Laugh and Lie Down - a 17th century British game
  • Cau Robat - a simple Catalan game

There is another type of fishing game played in Turkey, Albania and perhaps other places, in which the table cards are not laid out separately but played in a single pile. Matching the top card enables the whole pile to be captured.

  • Pishti - a popular Turkish game
  • Mitaines - an unusual French Canadian game
  • Hockey - a simpler Canadian game, perhaps related to Mitaines.