Minchiate

Minchiate, also known as Germini is an Italian card game based on Tarocchi (Tarot) and played with an extended pack of 97 cards: there are 40 trumps, 14 cards in each of the four suits plus the Matto (Fool). It features scores for versicole - particular combinations of cards, usually trumps, held in a player's hand or collected in the tricks taken by a partnership.

The game first appeared in Florence around 1530, from where it spread to Rome and throughout much of the south of Italy. In the 17th century it reached Sicily, where it was known as Gallerini, and from there it was taken to Genoa. In Sicily it did not survive for long, but it remained a popular and highly regarded game in Rome and Florence throughout the 18th century and into the 19th. The playing-card manufacturer Solesio of Genoa continued to make cards for the game until around 1930, and it must have been around this date or soon after that it died out.

In the late 20th and early 21st century a few enthusiasts have tried to revise the game, and several companies have printed reproduction Minchiate packs, sold mostly to playing-card collectors.

The game of Minchiate and its history are described in detail in Chapter 12 of "A History of Games Played with the Tarot Pack" (volume 1) by Michael Dummett and John McLeod (Edwin Mellen Press, 2004).

Nazarion Renzoni's Germini page provides an introduction and rules of the game in Italian.

One of the most comprehensive Minchiate handbooks was published in Dresden in 1798. The full German text of this manual Regeln des Minchiatta-Spiels is available online thanks to Hans-Joachim Alscher.

On the TreTre site, Girolamo Zorli has published a critical edition of a 1716 manuscript Regole del nobile e dilletevol gioco delle Minchiate by Niccolò Onesti.