Zanga

This four-player card game, a relative of Hombre and Tresillo, is played in Spain in a region north of Malaga called 'Cuenca del Río Campanillas', in the villages of Villanueva de la Concepción, Almogía and Campanillas. It is also popular in the Canary Islands.

The version played near Malaga is described in Spanish in this document La Zanga which used to be available at www.arrakis.es/~gonzales/index.htm. It is played with a 40-card Spanish pack from which all the clubs except the ace and king have been removed, leaving 32 cards. There are three permanent trumps: the ace of swords (la espada) is highest; the ace of clubs (el basto) is third highest and the king of clubs (el feo) is fourth highest. The second highest trump (la malilla) is the two when swords are trumps, but the seven when coins or cups are trumps. When coins or cups are trumps the ace of trumps (el punto) comes fifth. As usual in games of this family, among the numeral cards in cups and coins, lower numbers beat higher numbers. Writing E for the ace of swords, B for the ace of clubs, F for the king of clubs, R for the other kings (reyes), C for the horses (caballos) and S for the jacks (sotas), the ranking of cards from high to low is therefore as follows.

When swords are trumps:
Swords: E, 2, B, F, R, C, S, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
Cups and Coins: R, C, S, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
When Cups are trumps:
Cups: E, 7, B, F, 1, R, C, S, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Coins: R, C, S, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Swords: R, C, S, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
When Coins are trumps:
Coins: E, 7, B, F, 1, R, C, S, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Cups: R, C, S, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Swords: R, C, S, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

There are four players, partners sitting opposite. Eight cards are dealt to each player. The team that chooses trumps needs to win at least 5 tricks to score. Higher scores are obtainable by choosing coins as trumps and by playing without the help of your partner. If each side takes 4 tricks the trump makers lose (puesta); if they take 3 or fewer tricks they lose more (codillo). There are extra points for holding the top three or more trumps, for winning the first five tricks or for winning all the tricks.

The Canary Islands version is descibed in Spanish on the La Zanga page of todoingenio.com. It is similar to the game near Malaga, but using all 40 cards, ranking as in Tresillo. So in this version the king of swords is not a permanent trump: it is the highest card of the swords suit when not trump and the next highest after the basto when trump. The ranking of the cards in swords is the same as in trumps. Since there are 10 tricks, 6 tricks are needed by the trump makers to win, 4 or 5 are puesta and 3 or fewer codillo.